courts

Around the Nation
2:33 am
Tue August 14, 2012

La. Court In Racially Charged Power Struggle, Again

Justice Bernette Johnson is at the center of a legal battle over whether she will be the next chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Louisiana Supreme Court AP

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 4:00 am

A power struggle on the Louisiana Supreme Court is headed to federal court this week. Lawyers are seeking to reopen an old voting rights case that gave the Deep South state its first black Supreme Court justice. What's at stake in the racially charged fight is whether Louisiana will now have its first African-American chief justice.

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Drilling Moratorium
12:47 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Interior Department fights drilling moratorium ruling

Federal lawyers are preparing to defend the Obama administration's moves to shut down offshore drilling in the wake of BP's oil 2010 oil spill before an appellate panel on Wednesday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was scheduled to hear an appeal by the Interior Department challenging a contempt of court finding U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman issued in February 2011. Feldman chided the department for its "dismissive conduct."

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Southern University
11:19 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Greg LaFleur claims breach of SU contract

An attorney claims Southern University breached the contract of then-Athletic Director Greg LaFleur when it announced, three days after his arrest on a misdemeanor prostitution charge, that LaFleur had been fired.

A Houston jury acquitted LaFleur on the charge earlier this year.

LaFleur was arrested April 3, 2011, and on April 6, 2011, Southern announced that he had been terminated.

LaFleur attorney Scott Wilson argued Monday to state District Judge Todd Hernandez that Southern breached LaFleur's contract because the university had no cause to fire him.

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NOPD Consent Decree
11:11 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Police group seeks to have say in NOPD reforms

The Fraternal Order of Police wants to have a say in an agreement New Orleans has reached with the Justice Department to overhaul the city's troubled police department.

WVUE-TV reports that the group has asked U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan to allow it to intervene in the matter before the judge signs off on the agreement.

The TV station reports that the FOP has complained in the past that it was left out of the negotiations and that officers need more details about what will be expected of them.

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Louisiana Supreme Court
6:46 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Fifteen Orleans officials side with Johnson in Supreme Court spat

Fifteen New Orleans-area elected officials have told Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Katherine Kimball that she should take steps to ensure that Justice Bernette Johnson succeeds her as the court's chief.

Kimball retires next year. Louisiana's Constitution says the longest serving justice must succeed her. Johnson and Justice Jeffrey Victory each stake claims to being the longest serving.

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Music Licensing Lawsuit
2:29 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

BMI sues Slidell bar over licensing fee

A Slidell bar accused of playing songs without paying a standard music licensing is being sued for copyright infringement.

The Times-Picayune reports Broadcast Music Inc., a nonprofit composers' rights organization, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Orleans against Tooloula's Bar.

Federal law mandates that writers and publishers of music are entitled to be paid for the public performance of their music. Bars and other businesses usually pay an annual fee to groups such as BMI for a blanket license to their songs.

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Crime
2:23 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Guilty pleas entered on 'Lil Boosie' drug charges

A friend of imprisoned rapper Torence "Lil Boosie" Hatch and a former Dixon Correctional Institute guard have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to smuggle drugs into Dixon for Hatch while he was jailed there.

As part of negotiated plea agreements, state District Judge Mike Erwin put Walnita Decuir on active supervised probation for five years and Joshua Wilson on unsupervised probation for six months.

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NOPD Consent Decree
2:12 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

NOPD reform agreement hearing set for Katrina anniversary

A federal judge has set an Aug. 29 hearing on an agreement the city of New Orleans reached with the Justice Department to overhaul the city's troubled police department.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan's order Tuesday also sets deadlines for those interested in the case to intervene and for the public to file comments on the proposed agreement.

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Election 2012
12:47 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Jefferson Parish judge race on Nov. ballot

Voters in parts of Jefferson Parish will go to the polls during the Nov. 6 primary to elect a replacement for Judge Patrick McCabe of the 24th Judicial District Court. McCabe, who was elected to his first term in 1987, will retire Dec. 31.

The Times-Picayune reports Gov. Bobby Jindal set the special election after the 66-year-old McCabe, of Metairie, announced his retirement in June.

Qualifying is Aug. 15-17. If needed, the runoff would be Dec. 8.

Angola 5 Trial
12:45 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Jailhouse confession approved for Angola 5 trial

Attorneys for Angola 5 defendant David Mathis have persuaded a judge to allow them to use a jailhouse confession they say would show jurors their client had no intent to kill a prison security officer in 1999.

Mathis faces a first-degree murder trial in the stabbing and beating death of Capt. David C. Knapps.

The Advocate reports jury selection is set to begin Sept. 24 in Covington, where juries were chosen last year for three of Mathis' codefendants. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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