SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Court turns down church’s appeal over marijuana laws

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t take up an appeal from a Native American church in Hawaii that wants to be exempt from federal marijuana laws.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said laws banning the possession and distribution of cannabis don’t interfere with church members’ right to exercise their religion.

The Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii filed a lawsuit in 2009 asking for relief from marijuana laws under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The church’s leader claims his members use marijuana during sweat lodge ceremonies to help regain their relationship with their creator.

A district court ruled that the church didn’t produce enough evidence about its religion other than a strong belief in the benefits of marijuana. A federal appeals court upheld that ruling.

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Justices reject appeal of Ponzi scheme conviction

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has declined to disturb the conviction of former Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford on fraud, conspiracy and obstruction charges.

The justices had no comment Monday on their order rejecting Stanford’s appeal of his 2012 conviction for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of $7.2 billion. He was sentenced to 110 years in prison.

Stanford argued that the government deprived him of using his lawyer of choice by unfairly freezing all his global assets, including money untainted by fraud. He also said the government used evidence that was illegally seized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A federal appeals court denied his appeals in 2015.

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