SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Debtors must wait to appeal pay plan denial

WASHINGTON (AP) - A unanimous Supreme Court says debtors in bankruptcy cannot immediately appeal a court's order rejecting a plan to repay creditors.

The justices ruled Monday that parties in a bankruptcy case must wait until a repayment plan is confirmed before appealing to a higher court.

The case involves Louis Bullard, a Massachusetts man who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2010. One of his biggest debts was $346,000 he owed to Blue Hills Bank. But a bankruptcy court denied his plan to pay the bank only a tiny percentage of what he owed.

A federal appeals court said the order was not final because Bullard could still propose another plan.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts agreed that only an order confirming a payment plan is immediately appealable.

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Inmate's appeal for sex-change surgery rejected

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a convicted murderer in Massachusetts who has been seeking taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery in prison.

The justices did not comment Monday in letting stand a lower-court ruling against Michelle Kosilek. The prison inmate was born Robert Kosilek and is serving a life sentence for killing spouse Cheryl Kosilek in 1990.

The inmate has waged a lengthy fight for the surgery she says is necessary to relieve the mental anguish caused by gender-identity disorder.

Last year, a divided federal appeals court in Boston overturned a first-in-the-nation court order for the state to provide the sex-reassignment surgery. Courts around the country have found that prisons must evaluate transgender inmates to determine their health care needs, but most have ordered hormone treatments and psychotherapy, not surgery.

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Court won't hear NY appeal over Miranda warnings

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't hear a dispute over statements that law enforcement officials in Queens, New York, made before telling suspects about their Miranda rights against self-incrimination.

The justices on Monday let stand lower court rulings that said officials could not preface Miranda warnings about the right to remain silent by telling suspects they have one chance before arraignment to provide information to help their cases.

New York's top state court ruled last year that prosecutors and investigators were "undoing" their subsequent warning that anything suspects said could be used against them.

In one case, Jermaine Dunbar was convicted of an attempted store robbery. In the other, Collin Lloyd-Douglas was convicted of attempting to murder his girlfriend.

The lower court ordered new trials for two men with their statements excluded.

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Challenge to NJ ban on gay conversion therapy turned away

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has turned away a challenge to New Jersey's ban on so-called gay conversion therapy for patients under 18 years old.

The justices did not comment on their order Monday. It followed similar action last year that left California's therapy ban in place.

Lower courts dismissed lawsuits challenging the ban, which New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law in 2013.

Supporters of the therapy tried to interest the court in the issue by presenting it as a restriction on the free speech rights of counselors and doctors.

The case is King v. Governor of New Jersey, 14-672.

Published: Wed, May 06, 2015

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