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The Alabama Supreme Court has set an execution date of July 28 for a man convicted of killing his one-time girlfriend after breaking into her home in Jefferson County almost three decades ago, according to a court order made public Monday.

Joe Nathan James Jr. would become the second Alabama inmate put to death this year unless a court intervenes.

James, 49, was sentenced to die after being convicted of capital murder during a burglary in the killing of his one-time girlfriend, Faith Hall, in Birmingham.

James, who had a history of stalking and harassing the woman, showed up at her apartment on Aug. 15, 1994, forced his way inside and accused her of unfaithfulness, court documents show. James pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot the woman, who died of multiple gunshot wounds, and James was later arrested in California.

A Jefferson County jury convicted James of capital murder in 1996 and voted to recommend the death penalty, which a judge imposed. The conviction was overturned when the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that a judge wrongly admitted some police reports into evidence.


A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday said the state health department can release data on coronavirus outbreak cases, information sought two years ago near the beginning of the pandemic.

The court ruled 4-3 against Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobbying group, which had wanted to block release of the records requested in June 2020 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other news outlets.

The state health department in the early months of the pandemic in 2020 had planned to release the names of more than 1,000 businesses with more than 25 employees where at least two workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, along with the Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce and the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce, sued to block the release of the records, saying it would “irreparably harm” the reputations of their members. It argued that the information being sought is derived from diagnostic test results and the records of contact tracers, and that such information constitutes private medical records that can’t be released without the consent of each individual.

Attorneys for the state argued that the information contained aggregate numbers only, not personal information, and could be released. A Waukesha County circuit judge sided with the business group and blocked release of the records. A state appeals court in 2021 reversed the lower court’s ruling and ordered the case dismissed, saying WMC failed to show a justifiable reason for concealing the records.


A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to charges that he stormed the U.S. Capitol last year to disrupt Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote, court filings show.

Matthew Mark Wood pleaded guilty on Friday to all six counts in his March 2021 indictment, including a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding. The other five counts are all misdemeanors.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta is scheduled to sentence Wood on Sept. 23.

A day before the riot, Wood drove from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., with his grandmother and another relative. Less than a week earlier, Wood sent a text message to another person that said, “If they want to raid Congress, sign me up,” according to a court filing accompanying his guilty plea.

After the riot erupted, Wood entered the Capitol by climbing through a window. He followed others on a path toward the Senate chamber but left the area without entering it.

After rioters breached a police line in the Capitol Crypt, Wood followed others up a staircase and into the House Speaker’s office suite. He left the Capitol through a door more than an hour after he entered the building, the filing says.


South Carolina’s highest court, two days after pausing plans for a rare firing squad execution, announced Friday that it was putting another execution on hold as inmates challenge the constitutionality of the state’s capital punishment methods.

The temporary stay issued by the state Supreme Court means the planned May 13 execution of Brad Keith Sigmon won’t move forward for now.

The order comes after the court this week temporarily blocked the state from executing Richard Bernard Moore, whose scheduled April 29 execution would have marked the country’s first firing squad execution since 2010.

Moore and Sigmon were scheduled to be the first people executed in South Carolina after a 2021 law made electrocution the state’s default capital punishment method and also gave death row prisoners the option of execution by firing squad. Sigmon had not so far not chosen an execution method.

Lawyers for both men had sought stays, citing pending litigation in another court challenging the constitutionality of South Carolina’s execution methods.

The state Supreme Court has provided little explanation on exactly why the executions have been delayed and for how long they will be delayed, with justices indicating in both cases that more detailed orders would be forthcoming. The court did clarify Friday that prison officials shouldn’t move forward with the April 29 execution.

A state judge agreed last week to examine a legal challenge brought by Moore, Sigmon and two other death row inmates who have mostly exhausted their appeals. Their lawyers argue that both electrocution and the firing squad are “barbaric” methods of killing. The prisoners’ attorneys also want the judge to closely examine prisons officials’ claims that they can’t get hold of lethal injection drugs, citing executions by that method carried out by other states and the federal government in recent years.


Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced Friday that he plans to vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court, likely assuring the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s nominee.

Manchin was a key vote to watch because he has bucked his party on some of its top domestic priorities. But Manchin has backed all of Biden’s judicial nominees so far, and he said he would continue to do so in the case of Jackson, who would become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

“I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice,” Manchin said in a statement.

Manchin’s announcement indicates that Jackson will have the support of all 50 Senate Democrats. That would guarantee her confirmation, as Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie.

Even as the path clears for Jackson to join the court, Democratic hopes of securing significant Republican support for her nomination appear to be fading.

On Thursday, just hours after the hearings came to a close, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will vote against Jackson’s confirmation. He said in a Senate floor speech that he “cannot and will not” support her for a lifetime appointment.

McConnell slammed the liberal groups that have supported Jackson, and he criticized her for refusing to take a position on the size of the nine-member court, even though that decision is ultimately up to Congress. Some advocacy groups have pushed for enlarging the court after three justices nominated by former President Donald Trump cemented a 6-3 conservative majority.

McConnell also cited concerns about her sentencing of criminal defendants — a subject that dominated much of the four days of hearings and was part of a coordinated GOP effort to portray her as soft on crime.


A federal judge has permanently blocked a Kansas law prohibiting out-of-state groups from mailing advance ballot applications to voters who request them, ordering the state to pay the attorney fees of two national nonprofit groups who sued contending it disenfranchises voters.

U.S. District Judge Kathrn Vratil on Friday declared those provisions in the law violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and permanently enjoined the state from enforcing them.

The stipulated order — which the state agreed not to appeal — partially resolves the lawsuit brought by VoteAmerica and the Voter Participation Center. The court sided with the voting rights groups on claims related to freedom of speech, freedom of association and overbreadth of the law.

In January, Vratil granted a preliminary injunction against the new law before it took effect.

The law that is the focus of the litigation was one of two voting laws that were passed last year over the veto of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.


A federal judge has been told that Archdiocese of Santa Fe records that would indicate how much insurance money is available to help pay a settlement of clergy sex abuse claims can be made public if they are redacted to withhold victims’ identities.

The archdiocese previously asked Judge David T. Thuma to seal the records, saying that releasing them could breach the terms of its insurance agreements and make them unenforceable.

However, lawyers for four insurers said during a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing Monday that they didn’t object to release of the records if information identifying victims is redacted, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Archdiocese attorney Thomas Walker also said Monday that the records could be released with redactions, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

“We appreciate that keeping things secret is not desirable,” Walker said.

Lawyers for abuse survivors who filed claims in the bankruptcy case had argued there were no valid legal reasons for sealing the documents.

Victims’ attorneys have reached a tentative settlement as to the total archdiocese contribution but the amount has not been made public.

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