Latest Judiciary News

Lee appoints new judge in Rutherford, Cannon counties

May. 27, 2020 3:03 AM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has appointed Bonita Jo Atwood as a Circuit Court judge for Rutherford and Cannon counties. Lee's office said in a statement Tuesday that Atwood is filling a vacancy created in the 16th Judicial Circuit by the retirement of Judge Royce Taylor in March. A...

In this Oct. 14, 2018 photo provided by the Michigan Department of Corrections is Temujin Kensu, also known as Fred Freeman. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is being asked to release Kensu who has been fighting his murder conviction for more than 30 years and now is stricken with COVID-19. The University of Michigan law school’s Innocence Clinic has long argued that he was wrongly convicted of killing a man outside a Port Huron college in 1986. (Michigan Department of Corrections via AP)

Law school urges Whitmer to release prisoner with COVID-19

May. 26, 2020 9:08 PM EDT

DETROIT (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is being asked to release a prisoner who has been fighting his murder conviction for years and now is stricken with COVID-19. Temujin Kensu, also known as Fred Freeman, has been in prison for 33 years on a life sentence. The University of Michigan law school's Innocence...

FILE - In this March 9, 2010, file photo a tanker truck passes the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif. A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, May 26 against major oil companies in lawsuits brought by California cities and counties seeking damages for the impact of climate change. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said state courts are the proper forum for the lawsuits alleging that Big Oil promoted petroleum as environmentally responsible when producers knew it was causing damage. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Big Oil loses appeal, climate suits go to California courts

May. 26, 2020 7:40 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Big Oil lost a pair of court battles Tuesday that could lead to trials in lawsuits by California cities and counties seeking damages for the impact of climate change. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by energy companies and ruled state courts are the proper forum...

Montana asks state court to overturn mail ballot ruling

May. 26, 2020 7:29 PM EDT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's attorney general asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn a Yellowstone County judge’s ruling that would allow absentee ballots to be counted as long as they’re postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the following Monday. District Judge...

FILE-  This Dec. 3, 2018, file photo, shows homes leveled by the Camp Fire line the Ridgewood Mobile Home Park retirement community in Paradise, Calif. Pacific Gas & Electric limped into bankruptcy vilified for its long-running neglect of a crumbling electrical grid that ignited horrific Northern California wildfires that left entire cities in ruins. After nearly a year-and-a-half of wrangling during one of the most complex bankruptcy cases in U.S. history, it’s unclear if PG&E is now any better equipped to protect the 16 million people who rely on it for power. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

PG&E nears end of bankruptcy amid persisting safety worries

May. 26, 2020 7:26 PM EDT

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric limped into bankruptcy vilified for its long-running neglect of a crumbling electrical grid that ignited a succession of horrific Northern California wildfires. After nearly a year-and-a-half of wrangling during one of the most complex bankruptcy cases in...

LGBT rights ballot drive sues to cut signature requirement

May. 26, 2020 6:47 PM EDT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A group organizing a ballot drive to add LGBT anti-discrimination protections to Michigan’s civil rights law sued the state Tuesday, saying coronavirus restrictions made it impossible to collect the required 340,000 valid voter signatures. Fair and Equal Michigan and two...

FILE - In this July 23, 2019, file photo, Gavin Grimm, who has become a national face for transgender students, speaks during a news conference held by The ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia at Slover Library in Norfolk, Va. A federal appeals court is hearing arguments Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in the case of Grimm who sued a Virginia school board after he was barred as a student from using the boys’ bathrooms at his high school. A judge ruled last year that the Gloucester County School Board had discriminated against Grimm. (Kristen Zeis/The Daily Press via AP, File)

Virginia school board defends transgender bathroom ban

May. 26, 2020 6:33 PM EDT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia school board defended its transgender bathroom ban before a federal appeals court Tuesday, as a transgender man barred from using the boys bathroom in high school argued that the policy discriminated against him and violated his constitutional rights. A judge ruled last year...

Justice Department defends Alabama absentee ballot rule

May. 26, 2020 6:29 PM EDT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s requirement to have witnesses sign an absentee ballot is not a violation of the Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Department of Justice argued in a brief Monday. The Justice Department filed the statement of interest in a lawsuit that contends Alabama’s election...

Judge eases Arkansas petition signature rule due to pandemic

May. 26, 2020 6:18 PM EDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked the state from enforcing a requirement for signatures on initiative petitions to be witnessed in person because of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes on Monday issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from...

E-signature rule for ballot campaigns stayed as Ohio appeals

May. 26, 2020 5:31 PM EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal court panel temporarily stopped Ohio ballot campaigns Tuesday from proceeding under less restrictive signature-gathering rules they'd been granted amid the coronavirus pandemic. A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stayed the more flexible rules while...