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Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark has died at the age of 71, the court announced Friday. She had been diagnosed with cancer.

According to a news release, Clark died overnight after 16 years in her role, serving the longest tenure of her counterparts on the court while she was on the bench for more than 1,100 Supreme Court cases. Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who selects Clark’s replacement, called her a “trailblazer for women in the legal profession.”

Clark was appointed to her seat in 2005 by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and served as chief justice from 2010 to 2012. Chief Justice Roger Page said Clark, better known as Connie, “loved the Tennessee judicial system and has made it better in immeasurable ways.”

“As her colleague for the past five and one-half years, I observed her tremendous work ethic,” Page said in the news release. “Her keen mind was surpassed only by her kind and caring heart. She truly tried her best to decide each case based on the applicable law and nothing else.”


A federal appeals court has heard arguments in a challenge to a Michigan city’s practice of marking tires to catch people who ignore time limits on parking.

Alison Taylor is appealing a decision that went in favor of Saginaw. Her attorney argues that chalking tires violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches.

The case made headlines in 2019 when the same appeals court said marking tires could be illegal without a warrant in some circumstances. The court sent the lawsuit back to a federal judge in Bay City for more work, but he eventually ruled against Taylor again.

A different three-judge panel at the appeals court heard arguments Thursday.

In court papers, Saginaw said it’s a “novel issue” but not a violation of the constitution.

“The city used the chalk to inform vehicle owners that that their vehicle is subject to the time limitations as set forth by the local ordinances,” attorneys for Saginaw said.

The city said Taylor had 14 parking tickets, some issued after a tire was marked.

Taylor’s attorney, Philip Ellison, said a chalk line on a tire might be “low tech” but it’s still an illegal trespass against her car. He wants to make the case a class-action.


Two-time Olympic silver medal-winning kayaker Nathan Baggaley and his younger brother have been jailed for more than 20 years each for trying to smuggle up to 200 million Australian dollars ($147 million) worth of cocaine into Australia.

The pair was found guilty by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury in April of attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug in July 2018. During their trial in Brisbane, the court heard Dru Baggaley, 39, and another man travelled hundreds of miles offshore from northern New South Wales state and picked up 650 kilograms (1,430 pounds) of the drug from a foreign ship.

It also heard the men began throwing the drugs overboard on their way back to the mainland, when they spotted an Australian Navy patrol boat chasing them. The two men were arrested by Queensland Water Police shortly after the pursuit.

Nathan Baggaley, who won silver medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the K-1 and K-2 over 500 meters and is a three-time world champion over the K-1 500 distance, was charged almost a year later after it was determined he purchased and fitted out the boat which was used during the failed plot.

Lawyers for the men argued Dru Baggaley had believed the dozens of packages contained tobacco, while Nathan Baggaley knew nothing about a plan to import any illicit substance.

Judge Justice Ann Lyons rejected the brothers’ claims and sentenced them Tuesday on the basis that Dru Baggaley was a “principal organizer” of the operation and his brother Nathan was “actively involved” on the day the two men went to sea, and was set to be rewarded substantially for his role.

Nathan Baggaley, 45, will have to serve 12 years in custody before he is eligible to apply for parole, while Dru Baggaley will be eligible to apply for parole after 16 years.

Nathan Baggaley was banned for taking steroids in 2005 while still competing as a kayaker. The brothers were jailed in 2009 for manufacturing and supplying large numbers of ecstasy tablets, and again in 2015 for producing party pills and conspiring to make methamphetamine.


The New Hampshire Supreme Court struck a final blow Friday to a 2017 voter registration law that faced repeated legislative and court challenges, upholding a previous ruling that it’s unconstitutional.

The law required additional documentation from voters who register within 30 days of an election. It was passed by the Republican Legislature after President Donald Trump alleged that widespread voter fraud led to his loss in the state in 2016, though there is no evidence to support that and voter fraud cases are rare. Supporters said the law would increase trust in elections by requiring people to prove they live where they vote, but opponents argued it was confusing, unnecessary and intimidating.

After the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters sued, a judge allowed the law to take effect in 2018 but blocked penalties of a $5,000 fine and a year in jail for fraud. In 2019, after Democrats won control of the Legislature, lawmakers passed a bill to repeal the law, but it was vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

The case went to trial in late 2019, and a judge ruled in April 2020 that the law was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court upheld that decision Friday.

“We acknowledge that the interests identified by the state are important, if not vital,” Justice Patrick Donovan wrote in the unanimous order. But the law failed to further those objectives while imposing unreasonable burdens on the right to vote, the court concluded.

Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said the ruling “sends a clear message to Chris Sununu and NH Republicans that their insidious voter suppression schemes will not stand in New Hampshire.”

“Today, we celebrate this incredible victory for voting rights. Tomorrow, we will continue to work to protect voting rights in the Granite State,” he said in a statement.

Sununu encouraged the Legislature to propose new legislation taking the court order into account.

“It’s disappointing that these commonsense reforms were not supported by our Supreme Court, but we have to respect their decision,” he said.

In its ruling, the court rejected the state’s argument that the law could only be struck down if it was unconstitutional in every set of circumstances. Similarly, it disagreed with the state’s claim that the law shouldn’t be deemed unconstitutional because only some, but not all, voters are burdened by it.



Jailed R&B singer R. Kelly wants to shake up his legal defense team two months before he is set to go on trial in New York on federal racketeering charges.

His top two attorneys, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, of Chicago, filed a motion this week seeking to withdraw from the long-delayed case, saying it would be “impossible” for them “to properly represent Mr. Kelly under the current circumstances.”

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly did not immediately grant the motion, requesting more details about the apparent falling out among Kelly’s team of lawyers.

“Sometimes you can’t save someone from themselves,” Greenberg wrote on Twitter this week, “no matter how hard you try.”

A request for comment was sent Thursday to Greenberg and Leonard.

Two other attorneys for Kelly, Thomas A. Farinella and Nicole Becker Blank, told the judge the shakeup won’t affect Kelly’s Aug. 9 trial date in Brooklyn federal court. They said Kelly fired Greenberg and Leonard.

Kelly, 54, is accused of leading an enterprise made up of his managers, bodyguards and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex. Federal prosecutors say the group selected victims at concerns and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly.

The Grammy Award-winning singer denies ever abusing anyone.

Kelly also faces numerous sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota and is scheduled to stand trial in September in Chicago federal court.



A judge has ruled against the Klamath Tribes in a lawsuit that accuses federal regulators of violating the Endangered Species Act by letting water levels fall too low for sucker fish to spawn in a lake that also feeds an elaborate irrigation system along the Oregon-California border.

The ruling, reported Friday by the Herald and News in Klamath Falls, comes as the region confronts one of the driest years in memory. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last month announced that farmers who irrigate from its Klamath Project water-management area will get so little water that farming may not even be worthwhile this summer.

At the same time, the drought has brought to a head a conflict between the water needs of two protected fish species in the region after decades of instability. The Klamath Tribes consider the federally endangered sucker fish central to their creation story and culture, while the Yurok hold the federally threatened coho salmon in the lower Klamath River sacred and rely on them as a critical food source.

With scarce water in the Klamath Basin, the tribes are left to try to use the courts to secure enough of the precious liquid for the respective fish species.

The Klamath Tribes sued the bureau earlier this year, arguing it had violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing the Upper Klamath Lake to dip below a certain level in 2020 and 2021 that is necessary for successful sucker fish spawning.

The tribes asked the judge to order the bureau to reduce downriver water releases from the lake while the rest of the case worked through the courts, but U.S. District Judge Michael McShane declined. If granted, the order would have meant less water in the Klamath River to combat disease outbreaks downstream that are a huge concern for the Yurok and Karuk tribes and a threat to coho salmon.

The bureau argued it wasn’t liable for harm done to sucker fish this year because of the extreme drought and has no control over how much water enters Upper Klamath Lake in dry times.


Attorneys for a St. Louis man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, her mom and his baby boy are asking the Missouri Supreme Court to delay his capital murder trial for two weeks after two potential jurors tested positive for COVID-19.

Jury selection began last week in the trial of Eric Lawson, who is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old Breiana Ray and 50-year-old Gwendolyn Ray before setting an apartment fire that killed his 10-month-old son, Aiden. Lawson, 32, has been in pretrial detention since his arrest nearly nine years ago. The case is being prosecuted by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Attorneys for Lawson sought a continuance in January and again in March, citing concerns about COVID-19 each time. Circuit Judge Michael Noble denied both requests.

Lawson’s attorneys asked Noble for a continuance a third time on Wednesday, this time citing the two positive cases among potential jurors. When Noble again refused to pause the case, defense attorneys asked the Missouri Supreme Court to intervene.

“Mr. Lawson and his attorneys have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 10 days,” the court motion states. “So have the judge, the prosecutors, courthouse staff, and prospective jurors.”

St. Louis Circuit Court spokesman Thom Gross said a potential juror appeared in court on April 14. She tested positive for COVID-19 two days later and notified the jury supervisor on April 19, saying she didn’t know when or where she was exposed.

Seven of the 39 prospective jurors from the April 14 session had originally been asked to return later, but Jury Supervisor Joanne Martin called each of them and told them they were dismissed, Gross said. Martin mailed letters to the others who attended that session to inform them of the positive test.

Gross said a second prospective juror told Martin on April 16 that they had just learned that a COVID-19 test taken earlier was positive. All 40 prospective jurors from that session were dismissed.

The court filing from Lawson’s lawyers said one of the lawyers, Julie Clark, is pregnant and thus considered vulnerable. An expert witness for the defense also “has several preexisting health conditions putting him at the greatest risk of contracting COVID,” the court filing said.

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