courts

Equitable Opportunity
9:54 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Landmark State Education Lawsuit Delayed

Credit State Education Resource Center

The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding has agreed to delay the start of a landmark education lawsuit that challenges the way Connecticut funds its public schools. 

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Affordable Care Act
10:59 am
Tue July 22, 2014

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions On Obamacare Subsidies

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:03 pm

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to the Affordable Care Act, when it threw out an IRS regulation that governs subsidies. But before the ink dried on that decision, another three-judge panel hearing a similar case issued a decision that was completely opposite.

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Boston Bombing
2:24 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Friend Convicted For Impeding Bombing Inquiry

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 3:30 pm

Azamat Tazhayakov, a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who police say impeded their investigation of the 2013 attack, has been convicted on some of the charges against him and found not guilty of others.

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Sexual Assault
2:39 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

UConn Settles Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Attorney Gloria Allred, at center, with UConn graduate Kylie Angell at the podium, and other plaintiffs in the sexual assault federal lawsuit against UConn.
Lucy Nalpathanchil WNPR

The University of Connecticut has settled a federal lawsuit filed by five women who claimed the school responded to their sexual assault complaints with indifference. 

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California
6:52 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Federal Judge Declares Death Penalty Unconstitutional In California

California's death row at San Quentin State Prison is crowded, but the execution chamber has been idle since 2006
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:22 pm

A federal judge has ruled that California's use of the death penalty is dysfunctional and violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney's ruling came in response to an appeal by Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in Los Angeles in 1995 for the rape and killing of his girlfriend's mother three years earlier.

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Courts
2:56 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

UK Man Sentenced for Taliban Support

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

A British citizen imprisoned in Connecticut for supporting terrorism was sentenced in federal court in New Haven today.

Babar Ahmad was given 12 and half years in prison, with credit for the ten years he’s already served.

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Courts
10:43 am
Mon July 14, 2014

British Citizens Imprisoned in Connecticut for Supporting Terrorism to Be Sentenced Soon

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

Two British citizens imprisoned in Connecticut for supporting terrorism are to be sentenced in federal court in New Haven this week.

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Overtime Pay
2:59 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Berlin Limousine Firm Ordered to Pay $500,000 in Back Wages

Credit Anja Peternelj/iStock / Thinkstock

A Berlin limousine firm has been ordered to pay its drivers half a million dollars in back wages and damages, after it failed to pay overtime for several years.

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Crime and Punishment
9:21 am
Wed July 9, 2014

New London CEO Guilty of Violating Clean Water Act

Credit Flickr Creative Commons / manoftaste.de

The former CEO of a New London company has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. According to federal prosecutors, the infractions date back to 1986 and involve toxic discharges into the city's sewer system.

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Courts
2:36 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Judge Rejects Rowland's Request to Dismiss Charges

Credit Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

A judge has denied a request by former Gov. John G. Rowland to dismiss federal charges that accused him of trying to create secret consultant roles with two congressional campaigns. 

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Supreme Court Ruling
4:42 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Sorting Through the Hobby Lobby Decision

Customers enter a Hobby Lobby store in Antioch, Calif., this past spring.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

In a five-to-four decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring so-called closely-held, for-profit corporations to pay for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, violates a federal law that protects religious freedom. 

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Unionization
10:53 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Connecticut Studies Supreme Court Decision on Home Health Aides

Supreme Court
Getty Images

Governor Dannel Malloy’s office will study the implications of a Supreme Court ruling that weakens the power of unions to organize home health care workers.

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Media Consumption
10:35 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Aereo's TV Streaming Service Is Illegal, Supreme Court Says

Aereo.com, a Web service that provides television shows online, is shown on an iPhone on April 22. The company lost a Supreme Court case Wednesday, as the justices ruled it violates copyright law.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 12:18 pm

Aereo, the company that lets subscribers watch TV stations' video that it routes onto the Internet, violates U.S. copyright law, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court ruling on what has been a hotly contested issue.

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Courts
9:33 am
Thu June 19, 2014

British Terror Suspects Imprisoned in Connecticut to Be Sentenced in July

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

Federal prosecutors filed court papers this week in advance of the July sentencing of two British citizens imprisoned in Connecticut for supporting terrorism.

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Courts
6:51 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

SunTrust To Pay Nearly $1 Billion For Mortgage Practices

SunTrust has agreed to pay $968 million as part of a settlement with the government over charges that it failed to comply with standards required for federally backed mortgages.

The settlement between SunTrust Mortgage and the Justice Department and other agencies includes money for homeowners and a requirement that the company improve its procedures for mortgage loans and foreclosures.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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Law
6:17 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Supreme Court Rules Against Gun 'Straw Purchases'

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 3:59 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a major victory to gun control advocates on Monday. The 5-4 ruling allows strict enforcement of the federal ban on gun "straw purchases," or one person buying a gun for another.

The federal law on background checks requires federally licensed gun dealers to verify the identity of buyers and submit their names to a federal database to weed out felons, those with a history of mental illness and others barred from gun ownership.

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Racial Profiling
8:39 am
Tue June 10, 2014

East Haven Reaches Civil Rights Suit Settlement

Michael Wishnie, at far right, speaks in the basement of St. Rose of Lima Church in Fair Haven. Father James Manship is at far left, and Marcia Chacon near left.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR

The town of East Haven, Connecticut has agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit involving its police department. The suit alleged police misconduct against Latinos.

For years, Latinos in East Haven complained of systematic abuse and harassment at the hands of the town’s police force.

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Judicial Appointments
12:29 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Controversial Judge Withdraws Reappointment Request

Credit Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

A superior court judge whose bid for reappointment had sparked controversy has withdrawn her name from consideration, according to The Hartford Courant.

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Superior Court
12:09 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Connecticut Planning $81 Million Litchfield County Courthouse in Torrington

A rendering of a new Litchfield County Courthouse project in Torrington.
Gov. Dannel Malloy

The state is planning to build an $81 million courthouse in Torrington to replace Superior Court buildings in Litchfield and Bantam. 

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Death Penalty
2:56 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Connecticut Inmate Sentenced to Death

Richard Roszkowski.
Credit Connecticut Department of Correction

A Connecticut man was sentenced to death for gunning down two adults and a nine-year-old girl on a Bridgeport street in 2006. 

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Campaign Corruption
7:59 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Rowland Seeks Dismissal of Federal Charges

Rowland faces the media in 2009.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland filed a motion seeking to dismiss charges that he broke federal election laws in his roles with two congressional campaigns. 

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Egypt
6:54 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Egyptian Court Sentences Mubarak To 3 Years In Prison For Corruption

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, sitting in a defendants cage, waves during a court hearing Wednesday. He and two sons were sentenced to jail on corruption charges.
Hassan Mohammed AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 8:33 am

Deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has been sentenced to three years in prison and a fine, after a court found him guilty of embezzling public money. Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal, were given four-year sentences; the three were accused of using public funds to pay for work on their own property.

The criminal court in Cairo ordered the three to pay a fine of nearly $3 million.

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Guilty and Charged
5:22 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Supreme Court Ruling Not Enough To Prevent Debtors Prisons

After spending three weeks in jail because he couldn't afford his court debt, Papa lost his job at a small steel plant. He has since found a job as a security guard.
Grant Hindsley for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 10:31 am

  • Listen to the Story: Part 2
  • Listen to the Story: Part 1

Debtors prisons were outlawed in the United States nearly 200 years ago. And more than 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear: Judges cannot send people to jail just because they are too poor to pay their court fines.

That decision came in a 1983 case called Bearden v. Georgia, which held that a judge must first consider whether the defendant has the ability to pay but "willfully" refuses.

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Public Defenders
4:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Big Fees For The Big Easy's Poorest Defendants

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:23 pm

In the next installment of an NPR investigation, Joseph Shapiro goes to New Orleans to look at the ways poor people are charged for their public defender in court.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Guilty and Charged
8:38 am
Tue May 20, 2014

As Court Fees Rise, The Poor Are Paying The Price

The proliferation of court fees has prompted some states, like New Jersey, to use amnesty programs to encourage the thousands of people who owe fines to surrender in exchange for fee reductions. At the Fugitive Safe Surrender program, makeshift courtrooms allow judges to individually handle each case.
Nicole Beemsterboer/NPR

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:02 am

In Augusta, Ga., a judge sentenced Tom Barrett to 12 months after he stole a can of beer worth less than $2.

In Ionia, Mich., 19-year-old Kyle Dewitt caught a fish out of season; then a judge sentenced him to three days in jail.

In Grand Rapids, Mich., Stephen Papa, a homeless Iraq War veteran, spent 22 days in jail, not for what he calls his "embarrassing behavior" after he got drunk with friends and climbed into an abandoned building, but because he had only $25 the day he went to court.

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Guilty and Charged
6:17 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Unpaid Court Fees Land The Poor In 21st Century Debtors' Prisons

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 11:43 am

Debtors' prisons were outlawed in the United States back before the Civil War. But an NPR state-by-state survey found that people still get sent to jail for unpaid court fines and fees.

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Law
7:41 am
Sun May 18, 2014

Court User Fees Bill Defendants For Their Punishment

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 3:27 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Courts have found a new source of funding. They charge user fees to defendants who use the criminal justice system.

These extra charges can add up to hundreds and even thousands of dollars per person on a felony or a simple misdemeanor like a driving offense. NPR has spent the last year looking at the growing practice. NPR investigative correspondent Joseph Shapiro is here to talk about the series. Joe, good to have you.

JOE SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Thank you, Lynn.

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Here & Now
2:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

FiveFingers Shoe Company Pays $3.5 Million For Misleading Customers

Vibram's FiveFinger running shoes have developed a strong following among runners who believe minimal cushioning in shoes provides a better running experience, but the company recently settled a lawsuit claiming there was no science backing up their claims. (Patrick Yodarus/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 5:05 pm

Vibram USA — the maker of those shoes that look more like rubber gloves with separate compartments for each toe — has agreed to pay $3.5 million settlement in a class action suit for allegedly misleading their customers.

The lawsuit was brought by a woman who says the shoe company claimed to decrease foot injuries and strengthen foot muscles, but had no scientific research to prove it.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Free Speech in the Public Workplace; Employment Law; an Exit Interview with Teresa Younger

U.S. Supreme Court
Credit TexasGOPVote.com / Creative Commons

Sometimes the rulings of the narrowly-divided Supreme Court actually reflect the very divided views of the public and the delicate nature of the law.

But the 2006 decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos made a lot of people scratch their heads. In it, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that work-related statements made by public employees are not protected by the First Amendment.  

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