courts

This post was updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

A Texas judge has sentenced Ethan Couch, whose lawyers notoriously presented an "affluenza" defense to argue that he wasn't responsible for killing four people when he was driving drunk, to nearly two years in jail.

A court in central China has ruled against a gay couple seeking to register for marriage. It's the first time a Chinese court has addressed the issue of same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit against authorities in the city of Changsha, Hunan province, was filed after they said Sun Wenlin, whose age has been put at 26 or 27, could not register to marry his 36-year old partner, Hu Mingliang. In January, a district court unexpectedly accepted the case.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is attracting criticism from members of Connecticut's congressional delegation after comments he made about shielding the gun industry from legal liability. 

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It's been almost a year and a half since the "Deflategate" scandal emerged as a national sports storyline. And while punishments have been handed down, appealed, and seemingly resolved, a group of New England Patriots fans say the story isn't over yet.

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Two former Connecticut residents who were deported to Italy have lost their bid to return to the state to testify before lawmakers about how criminal convictions and deportation affect immigrant families. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

In the decade since Connecticut first adopted a human trafficking law, not a single person has been convicted.

It's now legal for couples in all U.S. states to adopt children — regardless of the couple's gender — after a federal judge struck down Mississippi's ban on same-sex adoption late Thursday.

Overturning a law that had stood since 2000, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel P. Jordan III said the ban violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause. Mississippi's ban was the last of its kind in the U.S.

The U.S. Supreme Court has deadlocked on a 4-4 vote in a major labor case. The court, without further comment, announced the tie vote Tuesday. The result is that union opponents have failed, for now, to reverse a long-standing decision that allows states to mandate "fair share" fees from nonunion workers.

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The Connecticut Senate is expected to vote on a resolution calling on the U.S. Senate to hold confirmation hearings on President Barack Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Connecticut General Assembly's Judiciary Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a set of proposals that builds on Governor Dannel Malloy's Second Chance Society reforms. 

The rumor mill is on.

A report by an Israeli newspaper, citing anonymous industry sources, pointed the finger at an Israeli company as the firm helping the FBI get inside the locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

On the sixth anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the federal health law was back before a seemingly divided Supreme Court Wednesday.

The FBI may have found a new way to crack into the locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters — a method that doesn't require Apple's help.

This is a major new development in the increasingly heated debate between the tech giant and the government, which has argued that Apple should be compelled to write new special software that would override some security features. That was the only way, investigators previously had said, that they could crack the phone's passcode without jeopardizing its contents.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear Samsung's appeal of a Federal Circuit Court ruling in the company's patent infringement dispute with Apple.

At issue in the case: What portion of the profits is a design-patent infringer liable to pay?

Apple accuses the South Korean tech giant of copying patented aspects of the iPhone's design, such as the round-cornered front face and the colorful icon grid.

A Florida jury sided with former wrestler Hulk Hogan on Monday, awarding him $25 million in punitive damages in his invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media. The award comes on top of the $115 million the jury already specified on Friday, bringing the total damages to $140 million.

The six-person jury assessed Gawker $15 million in punitive damages. The media company's publisher and CEO, Nick Denton, was slapped with an additional $10 million.

Denton said Friday the company will appeal the ruling.

Just after President Obama and I concluded our interview — and after the microphones and cameras clicked off — he added a thought.

Senate Republicans' vow not to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, he said, could have profound consequences for the high court and the justices themselves.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed again Wednesday to block President Obama's Supreme Court nomination, saying the American people should have a "voice" in the process.

President Obama's choice to serve as the newest Supreme Court justice is Merrick Garland, a moderate federal appeals court judge and former prosecutor with a reputation for collegiality and meticulous legal reasoning.

Garland, who has won past Republican support, has "more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history," a White House official said. "No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court."

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland is President Obama's pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Verizon will pay a $1.35 million fine over its "supercookie" that followed phone customers on the Internet and the government says it's required to get an explicit "yes" from customers for some kinds of tracking.

A few miles outside Glacier National Park in northwest Montana is land known as the Badger-Two Medicine, the ancestral home of the Blackfeet tribe.

But it's also the site of 18 oil and gas development leases, and an energy company is heading to federal court March 10 to fight for the right to drill there after decades of delay.

Blackfeet tribal historian John Murray doesn't want the drilling to begin.

After hearing oral arguments on what could be one of the most important abortion cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, NPR's Nina Totenberg says that the only thing that is certain is that Justice Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote.

As expected, Nina says, the three conservatives and four liberals on the court stuck to their positions for and against a Texas law that puts restrictions on abortions.

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow Tuesday to nascent efforts to track the quality and cost of health care, ruling that a 1974 law precludes states from requiring that every health care claim involving their residents be submitted to a massive database.

The arguments were arcane, but the effect is clear: We're a long way off from having a true picture of the country's health care spending, especially differences in the way hospitals treat patients and doctors practice medicine.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When a woman addicted to opioids gives birth, she usually leaves her baby behind to be cared for by nurses. However, one Connecticut hospital is rethinking that approach. This hour, we find out why with WNPR reporter Jeff Cohen. 

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons <a href="http://blogtrepreneur.com/media-justice">blogrepreneur.com/media-justice</a>

Connecticut’s Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. recently resigned his position. He had been at the center of a controversy for awarding $16.8 million to four men whose murder convictions in a 1996 gang­-related shooting were overturned. Because of this recent award, lawmakers are looking to make changes to the state’s wrongful incarceration statute.

John Phelan / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday on whether Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel should be sent back to prison for the 1975 murder of Greenwich resident Martha Moxley.

The legal world has a new blogger: former constitutional law professor and current President Barack Obama.

The president took to SCOTUSblog, the leading online chronicle of the Supreme Court, on Wednesday to offer some "spoiler-free insights" into what he is seeking in a justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

While the dispute over cracking into an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter is at the center of a legal case between Apple and the FBI, the company recently told a federal court that it has received — and resisted — similar orders to help unlock iPhones and an iPad in recent months.

 

A Connecticut judge has ruled that three police recordings weren't given to lawyers for a man convicted of killing a mother and her two daughters during a brutal 2007 home invasion.

Any doubt that Senate Republicans would hold the line behind their leader's decision to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee has been erased.

"I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that's underway right now," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.

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