Law in the News: California to appeal federal court ruling striking down state’s death penalty

SAN FRANCISCO – California’s attorney general said Thursday she will appeal a federal court ruling that called the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

The announcement by Attorney General Kamala Harris came after U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney in Los Angeles ruled last month that the state’s death penalty takes too long to carry out, and that the unpredictable delays are arbitrary and unfair. Harris, however, said the amount of time it takes to execute an inmate in California ensures inmates receive due process.

“I am appealing the court’s decision because it is not supported by the law, and it undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants,” Harris said in a prepared statement. “This flawed ruling requires appellate review.”

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Law in the News: Questions, answers about use of force by police

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — The fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer has opened a debate over what level of force is appropriate when law enforcement confronts a citizen perceived to be a threat.

Here is a look at some of the issues involved when officers must decide whether to use force, deadly or otherwise. Read article on FindLaw News

Law in the News: California Supreme Court nomination a ‘statement’ to U.S.

As a boy, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar walked 7 miles each way from his home in Mexico to a school in Texas. On Tuesday, Cuéllar, a Harvard graduate and Stanford law professor, was nominated by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California Supreme Court.

If confirmed, he will be the court’s first Latino justice since 2011 and its first Latino immigrant.

Cuéllar’s appointment is “a statement to the rest of the nation as we go through this backlash against immigrants,” said Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.

Read Article on SF Gate

Law in the News: U.S. senators push for tough line in Iran nuclear talks

(Reuters) – Two influential U.S. senators have asked fellow lawmakers to support demands that Iran accept tough conditions in nuclear talks, including at least two decades of inspections, before Congress would agree to ease sanctions.

The appeal was made as Iran and six major powers, including the United States, approach a deadline in talks in Vienna aimed at a deal in which Iran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for gradual relief from crippling economic sanctions.

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Law in the News: Supreme Court voids abortion clinic protest-free zone

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court unanimously struck down the 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts Thursday, declaring it an unconstitutional restraint on the free-speech rights of protesters.

Authorities have less intrusive ways to deal with potential confrontations or other problems that can arise outside clinics, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. Roberts noted that most of the problems reported by police and the clinics in Massachusetts occurred outside a single Planned Parenthood facility in Boston, and only on Saturdays when the largest crowds typically gather.

“For a problem shown to arise only once a week in one city at one clinic, creating 35-foot buffer zones at every clinic across the Commonwealth is hardly a narrowly tailored solution,” Roberts said. He wrote the majority opinion after asking no questions — exceedingly rare for him — at the argument in January.

Read article on SF Chronicle