Supreme Court Notebook

 Mexican on Texas death row loses at Supreme Court 

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the case of a 44-year-old Mexican national set to die next week for the beating death of a man who employed him at his Kerrville-area ranch.

Attorneys for Ramiro Hernandez contended he was mentally impaired and ineligible for execution for the 1997 slaying of 48-year-old Glen Lich.
Hernandez, from Tamaulipas, Mexico, also argued he had deficient legal help at his trial, contending evidence of a previous murder conviction and prison term in Mexico was improperly allowed.
He’s set for lethal injection April 9. In a related case, his attorneys are arguing in state courts the Texas prison system should be forced to identify a new source of pentobarbital used to execute him. Texas prison officials want the provider’s name kept secret.
 

Court rejects Alaska appeal over hunting, fishing rights 

 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal by the state of Alaska in a long-running fight over the control of rivers and the fishing and hunting rights of Native Alaskans.
The court on Monday declined to review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld U.S. Interior Department rules enforcing the fishing and hunting rights on some rivers that otherwise would be under state control.
The state urged the high court to step in to address claims that the federal government has improperly asserted control over rivers in more than half of Alaska.
Native Alaskan groups and the Obama administration supported the appellate ruling.
 

Breeden loses review of post-conviction appeal 

 
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal from a man who pleaded guilty to conspiring to have a Petal, Miss., couple killed.
Virgil Breeden Jr. was sentenced in 2007 to 15 years in prison. A Forrest County judge denied Breeden’s post-conviction petition in 2011. The state Court of Appeals in 2012 rejected Breeden’s contention that his plea was involuntary because his lawyer didn’t do a good job. Breeden pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted capital murder.
An undercover deputy said in court documents he was offered $1,000 to kill Frank and Jerrine Wilson, whom Breeden alleged were pressuring him to finish the remodeling of a building.
 

Arizona county loses appeal over marijuana seizure 

 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has refused to overturn Arizona court rulings ordering the Yuma County sheriff to return marijuana that was seized from a woman with a California medical marijuana authorization honored by Arizona.
The justices’ order was issued without comment Monday in the case of Valerie Okun, who had marijuana in her car when a Border Patrol agent stopped her and her husband in Yuma County, Ariz., in 2011. She was charged with marijuana possession crimes, but the charges were dropped when she provided proof she was authorized to possess marijuana under California’s medical marijuana program. Arizona’s medical marijuana law allows people with authorizations from other states to have marijuana in Arizona.
But the sheriff refused to return Okun’s marijuana, even after Arizona courts ruled in her favor.

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