courts

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The Connecticut Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a brain-damaged man sentenced to life in prison for the 1987 killing of his wife's 88-year-old grandmother.

The high court released the four-to-two ruling Tuesday, saying 69-year-old Richard Lapointe was deprived of a fair trial because prosecutors failed to disclose notes by a police officer that may have supported an alibi defense.

The defense rested its case on Tuesday for admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after just a few hours of testimony. The defense called four people to testify compared to the 92 called by prosecutors.

Tsarnaev's lawyers have admitted he did what he's accused of doing. Their single aim is to try to cast Tsarnaev as less in charge than his brother Tamerlan — who died while they were running from authorities — and therefore less deserving of the death penalty if it gets to that.

Four troopers who opted out of the Connecticut State Police Union have filed a lawsuit claiming they're being forced to continue paying full union dues in violation of their constitutional rights. 

After presenting emotional testimony about the the physical damage one of the bombs inflicted on 8-year-old Martin Richard, the prosecution rested in its case against admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

NPR's Tovia Smith is inside the court room and she's been Tweeting about the trial. She reports:

After that testimony, Tsarnaev's defense attorneys did not have any questions, so the prosecution rested its case.

The AP reports:

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Former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley will serve five months in prison for her role in a campaign consulting scandal involving former Governor John Rowland.

According to reports from inside the federal courtroom in New Haven, Judge Janet Bond Arterton disputed Wilson-Foley's claim that she was a "minor player" in the crime.

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Former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley faces sentencing this week in a scheme to hide a role that former Governor John Rowland played in her campaign. 

Paul Bass / New Haven Independent

Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 months in prison in a campaign fraud case. He was also fined $35,000.

Mark Pazniokas / The Connecticut Mirror

A federal judge has denied a bid from former Governor John Rowland for a new trial in the criminal case that could send him to prison for up to three years. 

Science journalist Maia Weinstock recently got the idea to create a custom Lego set to celebrate the female justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. She researched the Supreme Court building, the justices and their traditions, all the way down to the silver mugs that they often carry out to the bench when hearing oral arguments.

After purchasing the pieces she needed, Weinstock created the "Legal Justice League: Women of the Supreme Court in Lego," in honor of International Women's Day.

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A Hartford court has ordered three magnet schools to be relocated or renovated on the state's dime as part of the state's ongoing effort to diversify area schools. 

State of Connecticut

The families of nine of the people killed in the Newtown school shooting have filed lawsuits against the estate of the gunman's mother.

Jurors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial Thursday heard from the man who the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly carjacked a few days after the bombing.

But before the focus shifted to the carjacking, the doctor who performed an autopsy on MIT police officer Sean Collier testified about the nature and extent of Collier’s injuries.

Below find key moments from Thursday’s testimony, and listen to a full report from WBUR’s Jack Lepiarz above.

On Tuesday, a California federal jury delivered its verdict after eight days of trial testimony examining whether Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright for Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”

The Gaye estate walked away with a victory and Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay more than $7 million in damages, plus profits attributable to infringement. It is a sad day for the “Blurred Lines” duo, but what could the ruling mean for the music industry?

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Attorneys for former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez have filed their latest briefs to the state Supreme Court, continuing their effort to keep their client out of jail more than four years since his conviction on corruption-related charges.

More survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing are expected to tell their stories Monday morning in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Those testifying already have included a father whose 8-year-old son died in the attack.

Tsarnaev's defense team insists he was pressured by his older brother, Tamerlan, into wreaking violence that killed three people and injured more than 260. He was 19 at the time of the 2013 attacks.

Around 4 million unauthorized immigrants are stuck in legal limbo more than two weeks after a federal judge in Texas suspended President Obama's move to temporarily protect them from deportation.

The trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev begins in earnest Wednesday, with opening statements in a capital trial that's expected to last several months. It took nearly two months to seat a jury.

The 18 jurors (including six alternates) will hear and see what prosecutors say is irrefutable evidence of Tsarnaev's role in the notorious twin bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260, as well as in the events that followed, in which a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was also killed.

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The nation's highest court again has the future of the president's signature health care law in its hands. 

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday from opponents who say it's being wrongly implemented. The case is called King v. Burwell, and the plaintiffs say the federal government is breaking the law when it pays subsidies to people buying health insurance through the three-dozen states in the federal exchange.

The latest changes to Connecticut's landmark school desegregation case are moving forward. Plaintiffs in the Sheff versus O'Neill lawsuit said Friday that a new, one-year extension of an agreement with the state and city of Hartford marks further progress toward ending racial and ethnic isolation in Hartford.

Former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has withdrawn his federal lawsuit against state and school officials blaming them for his departure, saying the legal fight's cost was too great.

Dobelle's Lawyers Want Out

Feb 25, 2015

Lawyers for former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle, who is suing state education officials, cite an "irreconcilable difference" and a failure to pay bills, in their effort to drop him as a client.

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Members and alumni of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Wesleyan University have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school over a recent decision that requires all residential fraternities to become coed within three years.

The university policy was announced after several highly publicized incidents at fraternity houses, including allegations of sexual assault.

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As part of his $40 billion biennial budget proposal, Governor Dannel Malloy wants to move more than 1,500 positions from the judicial branch's court support services to the Departments of Correction and Children and Families.

The proposal is part of the governor's "second chance society" initiative to change the state's drug laws so non-violent offenders have a better chance of re-integrating into society. Reforms include making certain non-violent offenses misdemeanors, and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession.

Phil Roeder / Creative Commons

There's a new anti-corruption task force in Connecticut replete with billboards asking the public to report the corrupt. This hour, we explore the history of corruption and our complicated attitudes toward it. 

This Post Was Last Updated At 5:15 p.m. ET.

Two days before the first of President Obama's executive actions on immigration were to take effect, the new rules have been put on hold by a federal judge's ruling in South Texas. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said the president overstepped his authority.

Westfield State University

No trial date has been set yet in the federal lawsuit involving ex-Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle. Dobelle is the former president of Trinity College in Hartford.

In the 2013 federal complaint, filed three weeks before he resigned, Dobelle alleges that his constitutional and contractual rights were violated when he was placed on administrative leave and forced to resign from his post as president of WSU.

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The Maryland Court of Special Appeals granted a request Friday to review the case of Adnan Syed. He was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend and was the subject of the podcast Serial. Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and National Security Fellow at the New America Foundation, brought Syed's case to the producers of Serial,and has been a leading advocate for his appeal.

Chaudry believes the popular podcast may be in part responsible for a speedy decision that could lead to a new trial. 

On WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, Chaudry said that the latest development in the case is unusual. The opportunity to file a post-conviction appeal doesn't happen often, she said, and when it does, it doesn't tend to move through the system this fast. This is the third attempt in 12 years to appeal Adnan Syed's conviction. 

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A Venezuelan hedge fund manager has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for running a massive Connecticut-based investment fraud scheme that involved hundreds of millions of dollars.

Francisco Illarramendi  expressed remorse during his sentencing Thursday in federal court in Bridgeport. He pleaded guilty to several fraud and conspiracy charges four years ago in what federal prosecutors have called their biggest white-collar criminal case ever in Connecticut.

Connecticut Innocence Project

The state of Connecticut has awarded $6 million to a man who was wrongfully imprisoned. Kenneth Ireland served more than two decades in prison --- for a rape and murder that he did not commit.

A new report on the growth of court fines and fees that are charged to often-impoverished offenders is focusing on another group that pays: their families.

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