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Louisiana Supreme Court upholds life sentence in beating
Legal Interview | 2018/09/05 13:08
The Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld a life prison term for a man convicted of severely beating another man at a convenience store five years ago after telling the victim he was in the “wrong neighborhood.”

Donald Ray Dickerson, of Baton Rouge, was found guilty in 2015 of second-degree battery in the attack on David Ray III, of St. Francisville. Ray was hospitalized with a broken eye socket, broken nose and other injuries.

Dickerson was sentenced to life behind bars, deemed a habitual offender. The Advocate reports he has prior convictions for armed robbery, simple robbery and purse snatching.

Dickerson claims his conduct did not amount to second-degree battery and his sentence is unconstitutionally excessive. An appeals court disagreed, and the Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday let that ruling stand.


Couple injured in crash takes on cheese company in court
Legal Interview | 2018/08/23 10:10
A South Dakota couple is taking on a cheese company in court, claiming one of its employees was negligent in a 2014 crash that still affects them today.

Kevin and Betty Peterson are suing Midwest Cheese Co. in Davison County court where a trial is underway. The Corsica-based cheese company has admitted employee Duane Morgan was negligent when he rear-ended the Petersons' vehicle near Mitchell on June 3, 2014.

The Daily Republic says jurors will determine whether that negligence caused injuries and other damage to the extent the couple claims. The defense contends some of the injuries may have been linked to pre-existing medical conditions.

The Petersons are seeking to recover damages for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental distress and economic harm.


Officer involved in militia leader's death named in court
Legal Interview | 2018/08/05 23:33
leader who participated in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the officer's name slipped out this week during the trial of indicted FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita, who accused of lying about firing shots toward Robert "LaVoy" Finicum's truck.

Authorities have concealed the officers' names for more than two years citing concerns about threats from militias.

People who were involved in or supported the refuge occupation have circulated the officer's name and photo online. Several threats toward the officer followed.

Finicum's widow and Ammon Bundy have spoken out against these actions. The occupiers seized the refuge in 2016 to protest the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers.



N Carolina elections board back in court in power struggle
Legal Interview | 2018/07/29 23:32
The repeatedly altered composition of North Carolina's elections board returned to court Thursday as a proxy for the lengthy power struggle between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-dominated legislature.

A panel of three trial judges listened for over three hours but didn't immediately rule on the request by Cooper's lawyers to throw out a third iteration of a combined elections and ethics board. Structures of two earlier versions created by GOP lawmakers previously have been declared unconstitutional.

GOP lawmakers and Cooper have been embroiled in litigation and political disputes since Cooper was elected governor in 2016. Lawmakers have passed several bills that eroded Cooper's powers. The board is important because its members can approve early-voting sites that could affect election turnout. They can also assess campaign finance penalties and determine ethics law violations.

Republicans argue their latest attempt — the current nine-member board chosen by Cooper, with four Democrats, four Republicans and a ninth who can't be a member of either party — passes constitutional muster.

But Jim Phillips, a Cooper lawyer, told the judges the new board structure suffers the same flaws as the other versions because it still usurps the governor's constitutional duty to ensure state election laws are faithfully executed. While Cooper appoints the entire board, Phillips said, he only has strong influence over the four Democratic choices, picked from a list provided by the state Democratic Party.


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