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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.


‘The Supreme Court Is Not Well. And the People Know It.’
Court Issues | 2019/09/04 04:32
The Supreme Court as we once knew it?as a national institution that could at least sometimes stand apart from partisanship?died last year. The ongoing fight over its corpse spilled into public view last week.

On Thursday, 53 United States senators?every member of the Republican caucus?wrote a “letter” to the clerk of the Supreme Court assuring the justices that the Republican Party has their back. The Democrats, the senators told the Court, pose “a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary.”

The spat is about guns. The Court has granted review in a Second Amendment case entitled New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, which (nominally) tests an obscure New York City ordinance governing how firearms owners could?note the past tense?travel with their weapons.

Under city law as it was when the case began, New Yorkers with a “premises” license had to keep their guns in their homes at all times, except when being taken to a licensed target-shooting facility for practice and training. But those facilities had to be in New York City itself. “Premises” licensees could not put their guns in their trunk and drive out of town for any reason?not to go to a gun range, not to compete in a shooting match, not to take the guns to a second home.


Brazil court overrules Rio mayor on gay kiss book ban
Court Issues | 2019/09/02 04:34
A Brazilian Supreme Court justice has blocked efforts by Rio de Janeiro's conservative mayor to have a book fair remove a comic book showing two men kissing.

Mayor Marcelo Crivella had ordered the Bienale to remove the "Avengers" comic that included the kiss, saying he was acting to protect children against "sexual content."

That set off a legal battle as federal Attorney General Raquel Dodge challenged the move by Crivella, a former evangelical pastor. She said allowing the mayor to remove books goes against freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas.

A lower court sided with Crivella. But chief justice Jose Dias Toffoli ruled in favor of Dodge on Sunday, blocking the mayor from removing any books. Crivella's office said he will appeal to the full court.


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