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Election judge pleads not guilty in absentee ballot case
Headline Legal News | 2016/11/21 10:13
An 88-year-old election judge from southern Illinois has pleaded not guilty after allegedly sending in an absentee ballot in her late husband's name.

The (Belleville) News-Democrat reports that Audrey Cook appeared Thursday in Madison County Circuit Court.

Cook, of Alton, told The Associated Press this month that she filled out the ballot for her husband after he died in September because she knew he would want Donald Trump to be president.

She was charged a few days before the Nov. 8 election with two felony counts of election fraud.

Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons has said the ballot was never even opened because a clerk found it had been submitted in the name of a deceased person.

Gibbons also said Cook would be removed as an election judge.


Ohio sheriff accused of drug theft changing not guilty plea
Court News | 2016/11/21 10:12
A suspended sheriff in Ohio who has denied stealing prescription drugs and misusing office funds is due in court to change his not guilty plea.

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer is scheduled to attend a change of plea hearing Monday in Fremont.

Overmyer had pleaded not guilty in August to six felony charges in a 43-count indictment.

The two-term sheriff was charged with stealing medications drug disposal drop boxes, deceiving doctors into giving him painkillers and misusing department funds.

A judge recently sent him back to jail after deciding he violated terms of his bond by contacting potential witnesses.

Overmyer has said the investigation was politically motivated. He was suspended but kept his sheriff's title. He lost his re-election bid about two weeks ago.


Philippine court urged to order Marcos' remains exhumed
Attorney News | 2016/11/19 10:13
Human rights victims who suffered during the rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed petitions Monday asking the Supreme Court to order the exhumation of his remains that were buried last week at the country's Heroes' Cemetery.

They also want the court to hold officials and his heirs in contempt for carrying out the burial before the court heard final appeals against it.

Former President Fidel Ramos, who played a key role in the peaceful army-backed revolt that ousted Marcos in 1986, called the former leader's burial at the military-run cemetery "an insult" to the sacrifices of soldiers and veterans.

Left-wing former lawmaker Saturnino Ocampo and other activists urged the court to hold Marcos' widow Imelda, their three children, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and two military officials in contempt for "the hasty, shady and tricky" burial on Friday of the long-dead president at the Heroes' Cemetery.

The petition said they should be fined and detained for mocking the legal process that gave petitioners 15 days to appeal the court's Nov. 8 ruling allowing the burial.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, who represents another group of petitioners, sought a court order to have the remains exhumed "because the hasty and surreptitious interment was premature, void and irregular."

He asked that the remains be examined to determine if they are not a wax replica. The secrecy-shrouded burial at the cemetery reserved for presidents, soldiers and national artists shocked democracy advocates and human rights victims, prompting street protests in Manila and other cities.

Marcos's rule was marked by massive rights violations and plunder. After being ousted in 1986, he flew to Hawaii, where he lived with his wife and children until he died in 1989.


Supreme Court stays execution of Alabama inmate
Legal Interview | 2016/11/18 10:14
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday night stayed the execution of an Alabama man convicted of the 1982 shooting death of a woman's husband in a murder-for-hire arrangement.

Five justices voted to stay the execution of Tommy Arthur as the high court considers whether to take up his challenge to Alabama's death penalty procedure. Arthur, 74, was scheduled to be executed Thursday by lethal injection at a south Alabama prison.

"We are greatly relieved by the Supreme Court's decision granting a stay and now hope for the opportunity to present the merits of Mr. Arthur's claims to the Court," Arthur's attorney Suhana Han said in a statement.

This is the seventh time that Arthur, who has waged a lengthy legal battle over his conviction and the constitutionality of the death penalty, has received a reprieve from an execution date, a track record that has frustrated the state attorney general's office and victims' advocacy groups.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Thursday that he did not think the case merited a stay, but voted to grant it as a courtesy to the four justices who wanted to "more fully consider the suitability of this case for review." The execution stay will expire if the court does not take up Arthur's case.

The attorney general's office had unsuccessfully urged the court to let the execution go forward and expressed disappointment at the decision.



Justice Thomas: Honor Scalia by reining in government
Topics in Legal News | 2016/11/18 10:13
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is calling fellow conservatives to continue the work of the late Justice Antonin Scalia to keep the power of the courts and other branches of government in check.

Thomas tells 1,700 people at a dinner in honor of Scalia that the Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution. He cited the decision in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal across the country.

Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an "odd couple" of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia.

He paraphrased Lincoln's Gettysburg address to exhort the audience to "be dedicated to the unfinished business for which Justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion."


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