SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Justices reject environmentalists' appeal over border wall

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from environmental groups trying to stop President Donald Trump from building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, even as other legal action against the wall is ongoing.

The justices on Monday left in place a ruling by a federal judge in San Diego who rejected challenges claiming that the Trump administration improperly waived laws requiring environmental and other reviews before construction can begin.

The judge in the San Diego case was Gonzalo Curiel. Trump criticized Curiel during the presidential campaign for his handling of fraud allegations against now-defunct Trump University. Trump had already proposed a border wall and suggested the Indiana-born judge's Mexican heritage meant he wouldn't be fair to Trump in the fraud lawsuit.


Court sends bar fees case back for further look

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is telling a lower court to take another look at a case challenging mandatory fees lawyers pay to a state bar association.

The case the justices sent back for further consideration Monday involves North Dakota attorney Arnold Fleck, who sued after learning that bar fees were being used to oppose a ballot measure he supported. Fleck says he should have to affirmatively consent to paying for the bar association's political activities instead of being able to opt out.

North Dakota's fees range from $325 to $380. Lawyers who don't want to support the bar's political activities can deduct about $10.

The justices say the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should reconsider the case in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling about fees paid to unions.


Justices turn down request to reinstate man's death sentence

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a request by Indiana's attorney general's office to reinstate the death sentence of a man convicted of killing a central Indiana woman and her 4-year-old daughter.

Monday's decision leaves in place a federal appeals court ruling that threw out Frederick Baer's death sentence because he had ineffective legal counsel. He'll now be resentenced by an Indiana court.

The 47-year-old Indianapolis man was convicted in the 2004 slayings of 26-year-old Cory Clark and her daughter Jenna at their rural Madison County home about 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago threw out Baer's death sentence in January.

Indiana's attorney general's office asked the full federal appeals court in February to reinstate Baer's death sentence.


Court won't weigh county immunity in Ohio jail death

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear an appeal by Montgomery County seeking immunity in a wrongful death lawsuit involving an inmate who died in 2012 during a medical emergency.

The Dayton Daily News reports attorneys for the county's insurance company sought the protection, previously denied by a U.S. District Court judge.

Robert A. Richardson Sr. died May 19, 2012. Attorneys for his estate allege jail employees improperly handcuffed and subdued the 28-year-old man after his cellmate sought assistance. The lawsuit said Richardson was "essentially crushed to death."

The county's review concluded jail employees followed procedure and provided basic care. The coroner's office determined Richardson's death was an "accident due to cardiac arrhythmia."

The suit, filed in 2014, had been on hold awaiting appeals and the high court's decision.

Published: Wed, Dec 05, 2018

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