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    TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The state asked an appeals court Wednesday to reinstate a stay on a circuit judge’s ruling that blocked a congressional redistricting plan pushed through the Legislature by Gov. Ron DeSantis. An emergency motion filed at the 1st District Court of Appeal argued that Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith erred last week when he issued a temporary injunction against the plan — and when he lifted a stay on the ruling Monday. READ MORE: Dow Tumbles 1,160 Points In Worst Trading Day Since June 2020The case centers on a sprawling North Florida district that was drawn in the past to help elect a Black member of Congress. DeSantis argued that continuing with such a district would involve racial gerrymandering and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Legislature approved DeSantis’ proposal to revamp the district, condensing it in the Jacksonville area. But Smith ruled that the plan violated a 2010 state constitutional amendment — known as the Fair Districts amendment — that barred diminishing the ability of minority voters to “elect representatives of their...
    A state judge on Wednesday invalidated part of Florida's new congressional map—drawn by right-wing Gov. Ron DeSantis' office and approved last month by the Republican-controlled Legislature—siding with plaintiffs who accused the GOP of violating the state constitution through racial gerrymandering. Judge Layne Smith of the 2nd Circuit Court said that "the enacted map is unconstitutional because it diminishes African Americans' ability to elect candidates of their choice." As The Guardian reported, Smith's ruling "dealt specifically with DeSantis' decision to dismantle Florida's 5th Congressional District," which "stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, was 46% Black, and is currently represented by Al Lawson, a Black Democrat." DeSantis, the outlet noted, "chopped the district up into four districts where Republican candidates would be favored to win." The new map, described as "deeply racist" by experts, would end Lawson's congressional career. As Jacksonville's The Tributary reported Wednesday:[Smith] ordered the state to adopt a map that maintains an east-to-west version of Jacksonville's 5th Congressional District, stretching from Duval to Gadsden counties.The ruling came after a Wednesday hearing that saw plaintiffs argue that Gov. Ron DeSantis' congressional...
    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Sen. Tina Smith says women face tough challenges when it comes to reproductive care, particularly when it comes to abortion. The Democratic senator toured the new Whole Woman’s Health Clinic in Bloomington Thursday. READ MORE: South Dakota's Kristi Noem Unveils Proposal To Ban Nearly All Abortions, Mimicking Texas LawSmith says we’re seeing the abortion debate play out on a national stage, and said that’s not right. “These are not medical barriers. These are not barriers that are put in place for any medical reason. These are put in place for political reasons, that is essentially politicians saying, ‘I think that I should be the one to decide what kind of health care you get,’ rather than leaving it up to individuals themselves,” Smith said. “So layer that on top of what is already a very complex and often difficult-to-navigate health care system, and it makes it just extra challenging.” READ MORE: Wisconsin's Gov. Tony Evers Vetoes GOP Abortion BillsSo far nearly two dozen states have banned or restricted access to abortion. This is all happening as...
    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A pilot and a flight attendant for United Airlines will suffer “irreparable harm” under the airline’s COVID-19 policy that makes them choose between getting vaccinated in violation of their religious objections or going on unpaid leave, a divided federal appeals court panel in New Orleans ruled Thursday. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 ruling doesn’t block the airline’s mandate. But it says a lower court judge in Texas must consider temporarily blocking the requirement for the employees while they fight United’s vaccine policy. The decision to get vaccinated or go on leave “is an impossible choice for plaintiffs who want to remain faithful but must put food on the table,” said the majority opinion from Jennifer Walker Elrod and Andrew Oldham. They said the lower court judge erred by stating that the employees did not face irreparable harm, and sent the case back to him to consider other factors — including whether the two employees are likely to ultimately win their court battle. The third judge on the panel, Judge Jerry E. Smith, rejected...
    Identified as “Jane Doe” in court papers, a teenage girl successfully appealed a ruling this week barring her from accessing a legal abortion. A Florida circuit judge attempted to block the 17-year-old from getting an abortion, citing her poor grades, which he believed showed a lack of maturity, VICE News reported. A panel of judges declared the teen mature enough to earn a “judicial bypass,” a legal process that allows minors to get abortions without the consent of their parents, in a  2-1 ruling in the Florida Second District Court of Appeal. In the initial ruling, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge Jared E. Smith became laser-focused on the girl’s discrepant grades. In his ruling, he states that Doe had said she made mostly B’s in her testimony, but at the time of the ruling her GPA was 2.0—reason enough to deny her request for an abortion, according to Judge Smith. “Clearly, a ‘B’ average would not equate to a 2.0 GPA,” Smith stated, adding that Doe’s “testimony evinces either a lack of intelligence or credibility, either of which weigh against a finding of...
    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An appellate court ruled Friday that a federal judge prematurely dismissed a lawsuit arguing a low IQ-inmate — set to be executed next week in Alabama— should have been given help to understand the prison paperwork that laid the groundwork for the planned lethal injection. The ruling did not block Thursday’s execution. However, the three-judge panel directed the district court to decide a request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from executing Willie B. Smith III on Thursday. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal judge prematurely dismissed a lawsuit arguing that Smith was due help under the Americans with Disabilities Act in understanding paperwork related to execution method selection. The panel ruled a judge erred in saying Smith did not have standing to bring the claim. Lawyers for Smith said he has an IQ in the 70s and should have received help under the 1990 act that bars discrimination against those with disabilities. Thursday’s execution date and plan is still in place. However, John Palombi, an...
    More On: supreme court SCOTUS sets limits on when cops can enter homes without a warrant SCOTUS sides with high school cheerleader suspended for Snapchat F-bombs Supreme Court’s NCAA ruling could be amateur model death blow SCOTUS sides with college athletes in NCAA compensation dispute For decades, conservatives have sought to regain lost culture-war ground through judicial nominations, with GOP voters consistently rating the Supreme Court a higher priority than do Democrats. As the latest high-court term winds down — one featuring a putative 6-3 “conservative” majority — it’s worth taking stock of where that project stands. The answer: not in a great place. Consider two of this term’s highest-profile cases: California v. Texas (on ObamaCare) and the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia (on religious liberty). In California, a 7-2 majority of Supremes again left former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy untouched. The court declined to reach the substantive issue — the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Instead, they dismissed the lawsuit brought by Texas and 17 other states on the threshold question of standing — lawyer-speak for...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — Kenneth Smith was out of prison Thursday night after 20 years – always maintaining he never committed the high-profile murder of a local restaurant owner. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that he did not commit the murder – granting Smith an immediate release. He walked out of the downstate Lawrence Correctional Center a free man. READ MORE: Scammer Posing As Landlord Sought To Prey On Potential Renters To Collect Holding Fees But the victim’s family says Smith absolutely did it. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar spoke with both sides Thursday night. The Burrito Express murder gained a lot of attention back in 2001. Smith was convicted three times of the armed robbery and murder of the owner of the McHenry restaurant, Raul Briseno, in on March 6 of that year. “All of this could have been prevented if they would have followed up thoroughly and done this correctly 20 years ago,” Smith said. Smith previously won appeals three times in his case and has been found guilty by a jury at each retrial. Three others...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — Kenneth Smith was out of prison Thursday night after 20 years – always maintaining he never committed the high-profile murder of a local restaurant owner. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that he did not commit the murder – granting Smith an immediate release. He walked out of the downstate Lawrence Correctional Center a free man. READ MORE: 15-Year-Old Bolingbrook Girl, Dykota Morgan, Dies 3 Days After Contracting COVID-19 But the victim’s family says Smith absolutely did it. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar spoke with both sides Thursday night. The Burrito Express murder gained a lot of attention back in 2001. Smith was convicted three times of the armed robbery and murder of the owner of the McHenry restaurant, Raul Briseno, in on March 6 of that year. “All of this could have been prevented if they would have followed up thoroughly and done this correctly 20 years ago,” Smith said. Smith previously won appeals three times in his case and has been found guilty by a jury at each retrial. Three others...
    A federal court ordered that a mentally challenged black man who was initially owed almost $300,000 in restitution fees from his former manager will now be entitled to nearly double the amount. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, ruled on April 21 that the initial ruling of John Christopher Smith's entitlements were flawed, citing that "liquidated damages" were excluded. Smith will now be owed $546,000. The 4th Circuit cited a 1945 U.S. Supreme Court case that found liquidated damages provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires a double payment to someone owed wages that would restore the injured party to a minimum standard of living. ARKANSAS WOMAN SAYS SHE WAS FIRED AFTER CORONAVIRUS VACCINE REFUSAL The initial ruling followed allegations that Smith's former manager at J&J Cafeteria in South Carolina had physically and mentally abused him, as well as having forced him to work more than 100 hours a week without pay from 2009 to 2014. Smith reportedly had an intellectual disability and an IQ of approximately 70...
    A restaurant manager who is serving prison time for effectively enslaving a Black man with an intellectual disability should pay $546,000 in restitution, a court ruled.  Bobby Paul Edwards is already serving a 10-year sentence for forcing John Christopher Smith to work unpaid 100-hour weeks in abusive conditions at a South Carolina restaurant, but an appeals court said Smith should get double the $273,000 he was initially awarded.  Smith, who had an IQ of 70, first started work at the Conway restaurant in 1990 at 12 years old.  He was paid until September 2009 when Edwards took over and moved Smith into an apartment attached to the restaurant, the ruling by the Court of Appeals 4th Circuit said.  Prosecutors had alleged that Edwards, who is white, subjected Smith to abuse that included racial epithets and threats to get him to work faster, according to The Post and Courier.  Edwards forced Smith to work 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, with no days off, according to court records.  Edwards whipped Smith, identified in...
    More On: south carolina Abducted daughter of NJ anti-violence activist found dead in South Carolina Eyeing 2024, Pence makes 1st speech since leaving office Tim lapse: Twitter lets racial slur trend for hours after Scott’s Biden rebuttal before taking action Army drill instructor accused of assaulting black man will be tried in civilian court A restaurant manager who is serving prison time for effectively enslaving a Black man with an intellectual disability should pay $546,000 in restitution, a court ruled.  Bobby Paul Edwards is already serving a 10-year sentence for forcing John Christopher Smith to work unpaid 100-hour weeks in abusive conditions at a South Carolina restaurant, but an appeals court said Smith should get double the $273,000 he was initially awarded.  Smith, who had an IQ of 70, first started work at the Conway restaurant in 1990 at 12 years old.  He was paid until September 2009 when Edwards took over and moved Smith into an apartment attached to the restaurant, the ruling by the Court of Appeals 4th Circuit said.  Prosecutors had alleged that Edwards, who is...
    (CNN)A South Carolina man who was forced to work over 100 hours every week for years without pay and subjected to verbal and physical abuse was supposed to receive close to $273,000 in restitution after his former manager pleaded guilty. But that initial amount was too low, an appellate court ruled in April. The man should have received more than double that amount -- closer to $546,000 -- from the manager to account for federal labor laws, according to the ruling. John Christopher Smith was forced to work at a cafeteria in Conway without pay for years. His manager, Bobby Edwards, pleaded guilty to forced labor in 2018 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his abuse of Smith, a Black man who has intellectual disabilities. A restaurant manager gets 10 years in prison for beating and torturing a black employee A US District Court judge in 2019 ordered Edwards, who is White, to pay Smith around $273,000 in restitution, which represented Smith's unpaid wages and overtime. But the court "erred in failing to include liquidated damages" in...
    Alabama canceled an execution after the Supreme Court issued a late night order requiring the state to allow the condemned man to die with his pastor by his side. Following the ruling, the state backed off executing Willie Smith, who was scheduled for a Thursday night lethal injection and would have been the first person to be put to death by a state this year. Smith was convicted in 1992 of shooting a woman in the back of the head at a cemetery. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday issued a stay of his sentence, arguing that he must be allowed to have a spiritual adviser present. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 split, agreed with the 11th Circuit's ruling, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett joining the liberal justices in upholding the lower court's ruling. "Willie Smith is sentenced to death, and his last wish is to have his pastor with him as he dies," Justice Elena Kagan wrote in a concurring opinion. "Alabama has not carried its burden of showing that the exclusion...
    A U.S. Supreme Court ruling may allow the man convicted in the 2016 death of New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith to have a new trial, the Louisiana attorney general’s office said Wednesday. Cardell Hayes was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in 2017 after Smith died and the player’s wife was wounded in a shooting during a traffic dispute in New Orleans. NFL WEEK 11 PREVIEW: DIVISIONAL, WILD CARD RACES IN THE SPOTLIGHT Hayes had argued that he shot the pair in self-defense. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison for manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in a 10-2 decision by the jury. A U.S. Supreme Court decision from April is casting new light on the trial. The court ruled that Louisiana, as well as Oregon, had unconstitutional laws when it came to allowing split jury convictions, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Prosecutors reportedly acknowledged that the conviction needed to be tossed in a filing with the Supreme Court on Monday. FILE - This April 10, 2016, file photo provided by the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office shows Cardell Hayes....
    US coronavirus: Arizona and Texas counties hit hard by coronavirus bring in refrigerated trucks as morgues fill up Walmart Now Requires Shoppers to Wear Masks — and So Do These Other Stores Joe McKnight’s killer will get new trial in Louisiana © Getty Images A ruling by the United States Supreme Court in April has opened the door to a new trial for the man who killed former NFL running back Joe McKnight in 2016. The ruling outlawed split-jury verdicts like the one that convicted Ronald Gasser of manslaughter by a 10-2 vote in January, 2018 and allowed for new trials for those who were convicted as long as their cases remained under appeal. “We’re obviously pleased about the result,” Gasser’s attorney Dane Ciolino said, via NOLA.com. “We’re now going to go back to the district court and prepare for trial.” Gasser shot and killed McKnight after the two men had an altercation while driving. Prosecutors argued Gasser was the aggressor while his attorneys argued that he shot McKnight in self-defense. He will remain in custody pending a bail...
    By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Safety will hand over records to a federal grand jury investigating a trooper's misconduct after unsuccessfully fighting a subpoena for months, a state spokesman said Friday. A grand jury last year began looking into whether an Iowa State Patrol officer with a history of misconduct complaints had violated anyone's civil rights, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals revealed in a ruling Thursday. That officer is identified only as “John Doe" and the details of the grand jury investigation remain secret. The ruling says the investigation centers on “possible civil rights violations," which can include using excessive force, making false arrests and fabricating evidence. The grand jury issued a subpoena last August seeking records from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the patrol’s parent agency. The subpoena sought records related to allegations against John Doe, including policy, legal and use of force violations. It requested the findings of all investigations, details of discipline imposed and complaints filed by the public and the officer’s colleagues. The...
    I’m black. I’m gay. And I’m just going to say it: Monday was a wash for equal rights. On the one hand, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans workplace discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” does indeed protect gay and transgender Americans. “The answer is clear,” Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote for the 6-3 majority. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undistinguishable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” Far from the stunning decision some have made it out to be, we’re talking about basic rights. Rights that, for the most part, have ceased to be seen as controversial or as making some sort of political statement. And this is true not just in California, but in states all over the country. On the other hand, the Supreme Court declined to hear — count ’em —...
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