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Ferguson Judge: We're Tossing Out Arrest Warrants

Judge Donald McCullin announces sweeping changes in Missouri city

(Newser) - Ferguson's new municipal judge ordered massive changes today in the city's much-criticized municipal court, a move he said is aimed at restoring confidence in the system and easing the burden on needy defendants. Changes announced by Judge Donald McCullin include withdrawing many old arrest warrants; CNN reports that... More »

Drunk CNN Reporter Bit EMTs: $2M Lawsuit

Incident took prompted DOJ, State Department inquiry

(Newser) - CNN reporter Arwa Damon is known for venturing into war zones, but she may now be better known for her sharp teeth. Two EMTs at the US embassy in Baghdad, Tracy Lamar and Charles Simons, say in a $2 million lawsuit filed yesterday that a " seriously intoxicated" Damon bit... More »

Canada Strikes Down Anti-Prostitution Laws

They're deemed unconstitutional by Supreme Court

(Newser) - Canada's highest court has slayed a series of prostitution laws that included bans on brothels and street soliciting, declaring them unconstitutional. After a series of appeals in the lower courts, the chief justice explained the 9-0 decision, noting, "Parliament has the power to regulate against nuisances, but not... More »

Gay Marriage: What Would Lincoln Do?

Former president put practicality first: Cass Sunstein

(Newser) - Abraham Lincoln was deeply opposed to slavery—but when it came to the politics of ending the travesty, he took a highly practical approach, writes Cass Sunstein at Bloomberg . As a Senate candidate, Lincoln refused to call for immediate abolition, arguing that it wouldn't have public support. "A... More »

Judge Upholds Arizona 'Show Your Papers' Demand

ACLU: Law will penalize residents for 'color of skin'

(Newser) - A controversial law requiring Arizona police to demand immigration documents from suspected illegal aliens can go into effect, a US judge has ruled. But she blocked another measure making it a crime to harbor illegal immigrants. Challengers had argued that the so-called "show-your-papers" provision would lead to racial profiling.... More »

Mexican-American Studies Are Illegal: Arizona Judge

State law bars studies promoting ethnic solidarity

(Newser) - An Arizona judge has declared that a Tucson Mexican-American ethnic studies program in city high schools violates state law. The ruling backs a determination by controversial state Schools Superintendent John Huppenthal that the program is illegal under a new law banning educational programs that promote ethnic solidarity and provoke "... More »

Judges Really Like to Quote Bob Dylan

Even Chief Justice Roberts has cited his lyrics

(Newser) - When judges want to give their opinions a lyrical flourish, many turn first to Bob Dylan. He’s the most-cited musician in court opinions and briefs, experts tell the Los Angeles Times . That’s because his early songs give voice to political and legal concerns—and they emerged when today’... More »

Court: German Bosses Can Demand Women Wear Bras

That's 'no impingement on personal rights,' ruling determines

(Newser) - German bosses can order female workers to wear bras, and even dictate the length of their fingernails, a court has ruled. "Being told to wear a bra and to keep fingernails to shorter than half a centimeter does not impinge on personal rights," ruled the Cologne court. Bosses... More »

Sign of the Times: Foreclosures-Only Courts

Florida streamlines legal process to cut backlog

(Newser) - Pretty much all you need to know about how bad Florida's housing mess is: The state has set up a system of foreclosures-only courts to deal with its backlog of cases. Otherwise, they'd clog up the normal court system. The goal is to cut the backlog by 62% in a... More »

All Over New Orleans, Saints Fans Go Marching Out

Side effects of Super Bowl madness include absenteeism

(Newser) - Best of luck to the candidates in tomorrow's New Orleans mayoral primary—they have the attention of just about no one. "The race isn't at the top of anyone's mind," says one candidate, understating the Super Bowl fever sweeping the Big Easy. In ordering the postponement of a... More »

Sorry, Nancy Grace, You Will Be Filmed in Court

Judge tosses out request to ban video cameras

(Newser) - Despite her protests, Nancy Grace will have to smile for the camera when she gives a court deposition this week: A judge has thrown out the TV host's request to keep the video cameras away from her testimony. Grace will be defending herself against a wrongful death suit by the... More »

Your Boss Can't Read Your Email, Courts Say

Judges start to sympathize with employees in privacy disputes

(Newser) - No matter what your employers tell you, they probably can’t spy on your emails without telling you, recent court rulings suggest. While in the past courts have often sided with corporations on issues of email privacy, lately they’ve been more sympathetic to employees, the Wall Street Journal reports.... More »

Dutch Abortion Ship Hits Rough Waters

(Newser) - A change in the law is threatening to scuttle a Dutch ship's mission to provide abortions to women throughout the world, reports the Independent. Dr. Rebecca Gomperts has delivered "abortion pills" that cause miscarriages to women in nations where abortion is illegal. She has skirted local laws by docking... More »

150 Maldive Women to Be Flogged for Affairs

(Newser) - A criminal court in the Maldives has ruled that 150 women will be flogged for having affairs in the Muslim country, reports the Independent. Some 50 men face the same punishment. Earlier this month an 18-year-old woman fainted after being flogged 100 times for having sex with two men, who... More »

Pakistanis Decry Taliban Sharia Law

(Newser) - Public opinion is swinging against Sharia law in Pakistan's Swat Valley as tens of thousands flee fighting between Pakistani forces and the Taliban, the Washington Post reports. A public fed up with inefficient and corrupt secular courts once welcomed the Taliban's version of religious law, but lawmakers and pundits now... More »

O'Connor: I'm Not a 'Feminist'

Former justice wants kids to learn about courts

(Newser) - Sandra Day O’Connor says the reason she hoped a woman would be named to replace her on the Supreme Court is that it's easier not to be the only woman on the nation's highest bench. As the first female justice, she tells Deborah Solomon in the New York Times... More »

Burnt-Out Defenders Refuse New Cases

(Newser) - Public defenders are as overworked as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore, the New York Times reports. Arguing that their hectic schedules result in scant attention for clients, government-appointed lawyers around the country are refusing new cases and suing to limit their workload. “The quality... More »

Drunk Driver Opts for 'I'm Stupid' Sign

Man chooses to wear the sign, not do the time

(Newser) - A Wisconsin drunk driver who crashed into a water treatment plant has chosen humiliation over jail time, WEAU reports. Instead of serving a sentence for property damage, Shane McQuillan, 22, who admitted he was “just being stupid,” was sentenced to wear a sign reading “I was stupid.... More »

Great White to Pay $1M Over Deadly R.I. Stage Fire

Latest legal development in nightclub fire tragedy

(Newser) - The 1980s rock band whose pyrotechnics sparked a nightclub fire that killed 100 people in Rhode Island has agreed to pay $1 million to survivors and victims' relatives. The settlement offer from Great White was revealed in court papers today. Roughly $175 million has now been offered by dozens of... More »

Fla. Law Changes Terms to Make Divorce Less Toxic

Change removes contentious terms from books

(Newser) - Divorcing parents won't be making deals on "custody" and "visitation" in Florida in the future; a new law scrubs the terms from its legal code in a bid to reduce acrimony and give kids a better shot at continuing relationships with both parents. Starting next month, custody will... More »

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