courts

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.

BBC

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

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

BBC

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

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:

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.

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.

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.

Gov. Dannel Malloy

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

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

Cornealious "Mike" Anderson is a free man once again.

Back in 2000, the Missouri resident was sentenced to 13 years in prison for holding up a man with a gun. Anderson was 23 at the time and was told to await orders on when to show up to prison.

Thirteen years went by and he never received notice. According to the AP, in the meantime, Anderson started a construction business, got married, had children and volunteered at his church near St. Louis.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments Monday on whether a question to repeal casino gambling should appear on the November election ballot.

The decision by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office to ban the question from the ballot is being challenged in the state’s highest court by anti-casino activists led by John Ribiero, chairman of the group Repeal the Casino Deal.

" There is no reason for us to be kept off the ballot."

Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

Veterans' advocacy groups are suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, alleging the VA discriminates against veterans who file PTSD disability claims based on being raped, assaulted, or sexually harassed while in the military.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in two cases testing whether police can search cellphones without a warrant at the time of an arrest, be it for a traffic violation or for a felony.

The Supreme Court has interpreted the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches to require that police obtain a search warrant from a neutral judge upon a showing that there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The warrant is to specify where the search will be conducted and the evidence being sought.

The current conservative Supreme Court majority has a well-earned reputation for protecting the First Amendment right to free speech, whether in the form of campaign spending or protests at military funerals.

But in one area — the First Amendment rights of public employees — the conservative majority has been far less protective of the right to speak out. Now the court is revisiting the issue, and the result could have far-reaching consequences for public corruption investigations.

Pages