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Appeals court refuses to reconsider Wisconsin voter ID cases
Court News | 2016/08/28 14:31
A federal appeals court has refused to reconsider a pair of rulings affecting Wisconsin's voter ID law, meaning no more changes to the requirement are likely before the November election.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously declined to have a full panel of judges hear appeals of two recent rulings affecting the voter ID requirement and a host of other election-related laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court would have to intervene for any changes to happen before the Nov. 8 election.

The appeals court's upholding the earlier rulings means that Wisconsin voters will have to show an acceptable ID to vote, but those having trouble getting it can get a temporary ID from the Division of Motor Vehicles.



Judge in Stanford swimmer case switching to civil court
Headline Legal News | 2016/08/26 14:31
A judge whose six-month sentence in the sexual assault case of a former Stanford swimmer has removed himself from handling criminal matters, but efforts to recall him remain.

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky requested that he be assigned to civil court and that request was approved, the county's Presiding Judge Rise Pinchon said in a statement Thursday.

"While I firmly believe in Judge Persky's ability to serve in his current assignment, he has requested to be assigned to the civil division, in which he previously served," Pichon said. "Judge Persky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment."

The move is not necessarily permanent. The assignment is subject to an annual review and takes effect Sept. 6.

Pichon said that another judge's desire to transfer to Palo Alto has made a quick swap with Persky possible. Normally such changes don't happen until a new year.

Persky ordered the six-month sentence for Brock Turner, a Dayton, Ohio, resident who had been attending Stanford on a swimming scholarship. The judge cited a probation department recommendation and the effect the conviction will have on Turner's life.



Appeals court: Week of early voting shouldn't return to Ohio
Court Watch | 2016/08/24 09:40
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld an Ohio law that trims a week of early voting in the swing state, reversing a judge's decision that had restored the time.

Democrats had challenged a series of Republican-backed voting changes they claimed disproportionately burdened black voters and those who lean Democratic. Among the policies was the elimination of early voting days in which Ohioans could also register to vote, a period known as golden week.

The state's attorneys argued that scrapping the days helped alleviate administrative burdens for local elections officials while reducing costs and the potential of fraud. But plaintiffs, who include the state's Democratic Party, said the burden on voters outweighed any benefit to the state.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled the golden-week cut still allows for "abundant" opportunities to vote within a 29-day window. Prior to the law, Ohioans had a 35-day period.



Court considers Kansas rule that voters prove citizenship
Attorney News | 2016/08/22 09:40
A federal appeals court will decide whether Kansas has the right to ask people who register to vote when they get their driver's licenses for proof that they're citizens, a decision which could affect whether thousands have their ballots counted in November's election.

Three judges from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Tuesday from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the American Civil Liberties Union but didn't indicate how soon they could rule.

Kansas wants the court to overturn a ruling by a federal judge in May that temporarily blocked the state from disenfranchising people who registered at motor vehicle offices but didn't provide documents such as birth certificates or naturalization papers. That was about 18,000 people at the time. If the order is allowed to stand, the state says up to an estimated 50,000 people who haven't proven they're citizens could have their votes counted in the fall.

Since 1993, states have had to allow people to register to vote when they apply for or renew their driver's licenses. The so-called motor-voter law says that people can only be asked for "minimal information" when registering to vote, allowing them to simply affirm they are citizens.

The ACLU claims the law intended to increase registration doesn't allow states to ask applicants for extra documents. It also says that motor vehicle clerks don't tell people renewing existing licenses that they need to provide the documents, leaving them under the mistaken impression that their registration is complete when they leave the office.



2 teens killed in Atlanta suburb: Man accused due in court
Court Watch | 2016/08/19 10:27
A man accused of killing two teenagers near Atlanta is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing.

Jeffrey Hazelwood is scheduled to appear Friday morning in Fulton County Magistrate Court.

The 20-year-old is charged with murder and theft in the killings of Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson in Roswell. The 17-year-olds were shot in the head. An autopsy report says their bodies were found behind a grocery store and had been placed in distinct poses.

Police have declined to discuss a possible motive for the slayings, or whether Hazelwood knew the teens.

Hazelwood's attorney, Lawrence Zimmerman, has said he'll provide a vigorous defense.

Henderson and Davis, who used to live in Rapid City, South Dakota, would have been seniors this year at their Georgia high schools.



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