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New justice formally joins Virginia Supreme Court
Law Firm News | 2019/09/10 21:29
The Virginia Supreme Court has a new justice.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Teresa Chafin, previously a judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals, formally joined the court Friday in a special session in Abingdon.

The General Assembly elected her in February. Chafin is the sister of state Sen. Ben Chafin, who lobbied on her behalf but didn't vote when the Senate confirmed her 36-0.

Chafin will serve a 12-year term. She's filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Elizabeth McClanahan.



New Orleans judges seek review of court fees conflict ruling
Court Issues | 2019/09/10 21:28
State criminal court judges in New Orleans have asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its finding that they have a conflict of interest when deciding whether some defendants can pay fines and fees.

The fines and fees in question partially fund expenses of the New Orleans Criminal District Court.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month upheld a federal district judge who said the New Orleans judges must provide a “neutral forum” for determining whether a defendant can pay. The judges have asked, in a filing dated Friday, that the court grant a rehearing in the case. It’s unclear when the appeals court will rule on the request.





Attorneys: Court seat puts Montgomery in far different role
Court Issues | 2019/09/08 04:30
Attorneys say Gov. Doug Ducey's appointment of now-former Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to the Arizona Supreme Court puts Montgomery in a new role that could silence his public advocacy on policy issues.

Montgomery for years has been a power-broker at the Arizona Legislature on criminal-justice issues while being an outspoken critic of marijuana legalization.

Ducey, in announcing his fifth appointment to the state high court, said he's confident that he picked a justice who will interpret the law, not someone to write it.

Arizona's judicial conduct code limits what judges can do off the bench, and attorneys interviewed by the Arizona Capitol Times said it'd be a departure from tradition for Montgomery to continue his past advocacy now that he's on the bench.

Danny Seiden, a former Ducey aide who once served as a special assistant county attorney to Montgomery, said Montgomery is now in a "less powerful" position as a justice compared to an elected county attorney.

"Prosecutors have a ton of power in the process," Seiden said. "That's why they're elected, that's why they have to face the people and stand for their charging decisions and policymaking role in the process. But when you're a judge, you really just interpret statutes . You don't make policy."

Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, said it'd be a departure from tradition for Montgomery to do otherwise.


Cock-a-doodle-doo! French rooster crows over court win
Topics | 2019/09/05 04:31
Maurice the rooster can keep crowing, a French court ruled Thursday, as it rejected a complaint from neighbors who sued over noise nuisance.

Maurice’s case and several other lawsuits against the sounds of church bells, cow bells, cicadas and the pungent smells from farms have prompted a national debate over how to protect rural culture from the encroachment of expectations that are more associated with urban areas.

Maurice’s owner, Corinne Fesseau, will be able to keep the rooster on the small island of Oleron, off France’s Atlantic coast, the court decided. The frustrated neighbors are considering an appeal.

The rooster owner’s lawyer, Julien Papineau, told The Associated Press that Fesseau “is happy. She cried when I when I told her the court’s decision.”

Maurice’s dawn crowing is exasperating Fesseau’s neighbors, a retired couple who moved to the island two years ago. They asked the court to make the animal move farther away, or shut up.

Instead, the judge in the southwest city of Rochefort ordered them to pay 1,000 euros ($1,005) in damages to Fesseau for reputational harm, plus court costs.

“That made my clients feel very bad,” their lawyer Vincent Huberdeau said. He said Fesseau intentionally put her chicken coop close to her neighbors’ window and then turned Maurice into a cause celebre for rural traditions, and that the judge went too far in punishing the plaintiffs instead.

Their case also backfired in the court of public opinion, at least locally. More than 120,000 people signed a petition urging authorities to leave Maurice alone ? and a “support committee” made up of roosters and hens from around the region came to support his owner during the trial in July.


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