U.S. Supreme Court Notebook

Court rejects appeal to outlaw death penalty

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court is rejecting a Pennsylvania inmate's appeal to consider banning the death penalty across the United States.

The justices did not comment Monday in turning away a challenge from death row inmate Shonda Walter.

Walter's appeal plays off Justice Stephen Breyer's call in an impassioned dissent in June to re-evaluate the death penalty in light of problems involving its imposition and use.

Breyer renewed his plea last week when he was the lone justice willing to give a last-minute reprieve to an Alabama death row inmate who was later put to death.


Dourt rejects county’s appeal over legal fees

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from lawyers representing Shelby County, Alabama, who tried to recover $2 million in attorney fees from the U.S. government in a case that nullified a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said the county's civil rights lawsuit did not advance the law's anti-discriminatory purposes and didn't qualify for fee recovery.

Shelby County had prevailed in 2013 when the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to eliminate the Justice Department's ability to stop potentially discriminatory voting laws before they take effect.

The county argued that winning the case allowed it to recover attorney fees. But a federal appeals court said Congress was not trying to encourage litigation "to neuter the act's central tool."


Convict in carjack slayings loses at Supreme Court

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a 27-year-old Houston man on death row for the shooting deaths of a young couple during a carjacking nearly 10 years ago. The high court, without comment Monday, rejected the case of Dexter Darnell Johnson.

A Harris County jury condemned him for the June 2006 slayings of 23-year-old Maria Aparece, of Sugar Land, and her 17-year-old boyfriend Huy Ngo, of Houston. Aparece was from the Philippines and a pre-nursing student. Ngo had moved to Houston with his family from France.

When his sentence was announced in court, Johnson threw a chair and had to be tackled by sheriff's deputies. Testimony showed he was leader of a gang responsible for several slayings.
He does not yet have an execution date.


Man to die in June for slaying loses at court

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the case of a man set to die later this year for the slaying of a 64-year-old Dallas-area woman 18 years ago.
The high court, without comment, rejected Monday the appeal of 46-year-old Charles Don Flores.

Flores is scheduled for lethal injection June 2 for the January 1998 shooting death of Elizabeth Black at her home in Farmers Branch. His trial attorneys argued another man was the shooter during a robbery attempt. Flores is one of at least nine Texas death row inmates with an execution date for this year.


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