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Court officials and lawyers in North Dakota say few people have tried to undo convictions for refusing DUI blood tests in the year since a state Supreme Court opinion offered a narrow pathway for doing so.

The North Dakota high court ruled in 2018 that a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision found it unconstitutional to criminalize refusal of a warrantless blood draw applies retroactively. The 2016 decision was based on cases in North Dakota and Minnesota involving alcohol testing.

The North Dakota justices said in their ruling that any post-conviction relief applies "in very limited circumstances" such as time of the conviction and the "legal landscape" as it existed at the time of each case. Even so, Bismarck attorney Dan Herbel, who argued in both the 2016 and 2018 cases, said it doesn't appear many people are taking advantage of the state ruling.

"I don't know if a lot of people are even aware that they have the option of vacating a prior conviction based upon these cases," Herbel told The Bismarck Tribune.

The Minnesota Supreme Court in late 2018 also ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court case applies retroactively.

Attorney Jonathan Green, of Wahpeton, said he's sent letters to people he can find who have convictions for refusing warrantless blood draws. He's received phone calls from about a dozen people and has filed petitions for about half. Judges earlier this month vacated Burleigh County convictions for a Fargo woman and a Bismarck man for whom Green sought relief under the state Supreme Court ruling.


The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an Indiana law that requires abortion providers to dispose of aborted fetuses in the same way as human remains, a sign that the conservative court is more open to abortion restrictions.

But the justices rejected the state's appeal of a lower court ruling blocking a separate provision that would prevent a woman in Indiana from having an abortion based on gender, race or disability.

The high court, with two liberal justices dissenting, thus found a way perhaps to signal a greater receptivity to state restrictions in the area of abortion without yet welcoming a more direct challenge to abortion rights.

The court split 7-2 in allowing Indiana to enforce the requirement that clinics either bury or cremate fetal remains, reversing a ruling by a federal appeals court that had blocked it. The justices said in an unsigned opinion that the case does not involve limits on abortion rights.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Ginsburg said in a short solo opinion that she believes that the issue does implicate a woman's right to have an abortion "without undue interference from the state."

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago had blocked both provisions of a law signed by Vice President Mike Pence in 2016 when he was Indiana's governor.

The Supreme Court's action Tuesday keeps it out of an election-year review of the Indiana law amid a flurry of new state laws that go the very heart of abortion rights. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey this month signed a law that would ban virtually all abortions, even in cases of incest and rape, and subject doctors who perform them to criminal prosecution. That law has yet to take effect and is being challenged in court.

Other states have passed laws that would outlaw abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, typically around six weeks of gestation.


The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a dispute over a coat that belonged to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

The court rejected an appeal Monday. A lawyer for the trustee of Parks' estate says relatives reneged on a deal to turn over a wool coat that Parks wore when she was arrested on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus in 1955. But a niece insists she doesn't have the coat.

Steven Cohen turned to the Supreme Court after exhausting appeals in Michigan courts. Despite the loss, he predicts the "controversy will continue."

In 2014, the foundation of philanthropist Howard Buffett purchased hundreds of Parks’ personal belongings for $4.5 million, without the coat. Cohen says Buffett subsequently donated them to the Library of Congress. Parks died in 2005.



The North Carolina Supreme Court is brushing aside a rapist's appeal that he shouldn't be forced into a lifetime of electronic monitoring after serving his 41-year prison sentence.

The state's highest court on Friday let stand without comment that 50-year-old Darren Gentle must submit to GPS monitoring after his release, projected for 2048. Gentile was convicted in Randolph County in 2016 of violently raping a 25-year-old pregnant woman with whom he'd been taking drugs.

The court is still considering a separate case on whether forcing sex offenders to be perpetually tracked by GPS-linked devices is justified or is unreasonable search and violates the Constitution. The pending decision in Torrey Grady's case comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandating GPS ankle monitors for ex-cons is a serious privacy concern.



A lawsuit against a North Carolina city for allegedly discriminating against an African-American-owned television network will go forward after the Supreme Court declined to get involved in the case.

The Supreme Court's announcement Monday that it would not get involved in the dispute leaves in place a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit earlier this year that revived the lawsuit. A trial court had initially dismissed it.

Black Network Television claims the City of Greensboro rescinded a $300,000 economic development loan because of race. The city says race had nothing to do with it. Appeals court judges ruled 2-1 that the lawsuit had been improperly dismissed.


The Senate's top Democrat is strongly warning Republicans against changing Senate rules to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is trying to line up enough votes to block Judge Neil Gorsuch. He lost two in his caucus Thursday when Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said they would vote for him. But Schumer still appears to be on track to amass enough Democrats to block the nomination, which could prompt Republicans to invoke the rules change.

Schumer had tough words for his Republican counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in an interview with The Associated Press, saying "the public will judge" whether changing the rule to ease Gorsuch in would be a good idea.


A federal appeals court on Wednesday barred the release of videos made by an anti-abortion group whose leaders are facing felony charges in California accusing them of recording people without permission in violation of state law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling blocking the recordings made by the Center for Medical Progress at meetings of the National Abortion Federation, an association of abortion providers.

The Center for Medical Progress previously released several secretly recorded videos that it says show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood said the videos were deceptively edited to support false claims.

The videos stoked the American abortion debate when they were released in 2015 and increased Congressional heat against Planned Parenthood that has yet to subside.

It's not clear what's on the bulk of the recordings the group made at National Abortion Federation meetings.

A leader of the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden, said in a statement that the 9th Circuit was preventing the release of footage of Planned Parenthood leadership discussing criminal conduct at the meetings and its ruling was an attack on the First Amendment.

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