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Muslim cleric is in US court fighting against deportation
Legal Business | 2016/12/07 23:48
The leader of one of New Jersey's largest mosques has taken the stand to defend himself against charges that he lied on his green card application.

Imam Mohammad Qatanani is the leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.

A judge ruled against immigration authorities' attempt to have him deported eight years ago. Federal officials say he didn't disclose that he'd been convicted in Israel for being a member of Hamas.

Qatanani began testifying Tuesday before an immigration court judge in Newark as part of the appeals process.

Qatanani denies he was ever part of the group classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. He says he was only detained and never convicted.

Qatanani came to the U.S. from Jordan. He was born in the West Bank.



Court hears case of officer immune from manslaughter charge
Legal Business | 2016/09/27 20:46
A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday in a Texas case in which the state is trying to prosecute a white Texas officer who a judge earlier said was immune from prosecution in the shooting death of a black man.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing the case in New Orleans.

Charles Kleinert was an Austin police officer working with an FBI task force investigating bank robberies when he encountered Larry Jackson Jr. Court records say Jackson tried to enter a bank that was closed, saying he wanted to make a withdrawal. Kleinert was inside, and bank employees who talked to Jackson told Kleinert he lied about his identity.

Kleinert went out to investigate and after a short conversation, Jackson ran off. Kleinert gave chase.

When Kleinert caught up to Jackson, a struggle ensued and Jackson was shot in the back of the neck and died. Kleinert's team have argued that Kleinert hit Jackson twice with his hand while holding his gun, then Jackson turned, Kleinert fell back and his gun accidentally discharged.

Prosecutors have argued that Kleinert acted recklessly, that he used excessive force and suggested the gun was directly against Jackson's neck when it went off. A Texas grand jury indicted Kleinert for manslaughter in July 2013.

But before the case went to trial, a federal judge dismissed it. The judge cited a more than 100-year-old court ruling protecting federal officers from state prosecution if they were carrying out their duties in a reasonable and proper manner. The protection doesn't shield all acts by federal law enforcement, but it does create a different, and what many consider a more forgiving, standard for their conduct than state law.



DC appeals court hears arguments in Clean Power Plan case
Legal Business | 2016/09/23 20:46
The federal appeals court in Washington began hearing oral arguments Tuesday in the legal fight over President Barack Obama's plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

The Clean Power Plan, which aims to slow climate change by reducing power-plant emissions by one-third, has been challenged by more than two dozen mostly Republican-led states, including Texas, and allied business and industry groups tied to fossil fuels. The states deride the carbon-cutting plan unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency as an "unlawful power grab" that will kill coal-mining jobs and drive up electricity costs.

The Supreme Court has delayed implementation until the legal challenges are resolved.

Implementation of the rules is considered essential to the United States meeting emissions-reduction targets in a global climate agreement signed in Paris last year. The Obama administration and environmental groups also say the plan will spur new clean-energy jobs.

Regardless of which side prevails at the appeals level, the issue is considered likely to end up being decided by the Supreme Court.


Kansas court upholds death sentence for sheriff's killing
Legal Business | 2016/07/24 12:22
The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence imposed against a man who fatally shot a sheriff during a 2005 drug raid.

Kansas hasn't executed anyone in more than 50 years, and Friday's decision in Scott Cheever's case is only the second time the court has upheld a death sentence under the state's 1994 capital punishment law.

An execution by lethal injection isn't likely to be scheduled soon, but state Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement, "today's ruling marks the end of the first line of appeals in this case."

Cheever acknowledged shooting Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels as Samuels tried to serve a warrant at a rural home about 75 miles northeast of Wichita, but Cheever's attorney argued that he was too high on methamphetamine for the crime to be premeditated.

The slain sheriff's son, Heath Samuels, is now serving as interim sheriff in his father's old job in Greenwood County. He said he was "very excited" to see the court system still works. The family supports the death penalty, he said.



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