Supreme Court Notebook

U.S. Supreme Court turns down Dallas-area man on death row


HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme court has refused an appeal from a 42-year-old man sent to death row for the slayings of two Dallas-area sandwich shop workers during robbery 13 years ago.

The high court, without comment Monday, rejected the appeal from Terry Edwards. He was convicted and condemned in 2003 for the fatal shootings of a Balch Springs Subway store manager and an employee. Killed were 34-year-old Tommy Walker and 26-year-old Mickell Goodwin.

Evidence showed Edwards had been fired from the store a few weeks before the shootings in July 2002. About $3,000 was taken in the holdup.

Edwards had argued in earlier unsuccessful appeals that his Dallas County trial judge gave improper instructions to jurors during jury selection, violating his right to an impartial jury.

 

U.S. Supreme court rejects ex-broker’s appeal in fraud case
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court turned away an appeal from a former Toronto stockbroker convicted in a multimillion-dollar securities fraud who says federal prosecutors should have turned over documents that might have helped his defense.

The justices Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said prosecutors didn’t have to share information about the drug use of a key witness against George Georgiou. The lower court sided with prosecutors who said defense lawyers could have discovered the publicly available records on their own.

Georgiou’s lawyers said prosecutors had a duty to disclose the information if they were aware of it. Several former Justice Department officials backed his claim and urged the court to take the case.

Georgiou was convicted on charges of manipulating markets of four stocks, causing $55 million in losses.

 

Court won’t hear appeal in anti-gay defamation suit
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former lawyer for the state of Michigan who lost a defamation lawsuit filed by a gay student at the University of Michigan.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that upheld a $3.5 million jury award to Chris Armstrong, a former student government president.

Andrew Shirvell was fired as assistant attorney general in 2010 for waging an anti-gay campaign against Armstrong, who accused him of stalking and defaming him on an anti-gay blog and elsewhere.

A federal appeals court rejected Shirvell’s request for a new trial, but reduced the jury’s award by $1 million, making it $3.5 million.

Shirvell says he was exercising free speech rights and claimed his comments were protected because Armstrong is a public figure.

 

High court won’t hear appeal from  death row inmate


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a Mississippi death row inmate who pleaded guilty in the rape and killing of a waitress in 2000.
The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that denied Thomas Loden Jr.’s request for a new court hearing to determine whether his lawyers gave him poor legal advice.

Loden argued that his original defense attorneys failed to fully investigate his mental condition and gave him bad advice that led him to plead guilty and waive jury sentencing.
A federal appeals court said Loden himself told his lawyers not to question prosecution witnesses or present evidence at a sentencing hearing to help him avoid the death penalty.

The American Bar Association had filed a brief urging the justices to take the case.

 

U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear appeal on mortgage ratings
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from shareholders who claim the Standard & Poor’s ratings firm made false statements about its ratings of risky mortgage investments that helped trigger the financial crisis.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that threw out a lawsuit filed by the Boca Raton Firefighters & Police Pension Fund against S&P’s parent company, McGraw-Hill.

A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 that statements about the integrity and credibility of S&P’s credit ratings used routine, generic language that did not mislead investors.
The shareholders argued that false statements regarding a central aspect of the company’s business were enough to violate federal securities laws.

 

Court won’t hear appeal  on use of Marley’s image


WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from clothing companies that claim they have legal rights to sell shirts with the image of reggae icon Bob Marley.

The justices on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that said the merchandisers had used his likeness to sell clothing at Walmart, Target and other stores without permission from Marley’s children.

Marley’s heirs control the rights to the reggae star’s image through a company called Fifty-Six Hope Road Music. The company sued rivals A.V.E.L.A. and others in 2008, arguing that their sales of Marley merchandise violated federal trademark law. A federal court ordered the companies to pay more than $1 million in profits and damages.

A federal appeals court agreed, citing evidence that consumers were confused about who endorsed the merchandise.

 

U.S. high court troubled by DA’s rejection of black jurors
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears troubled by the actions of a Georgia prosecutor in disqualifying all the black prospective jurors from the death penalty trial of a black teenager who was accused of killing an elderly white woman.

At least six of the nine justices indicated during arguments Monday that black people were improperly singled out and kept off the jury. The jury eventually sentenced defendant Timothy Tyrone Foster to death in 1987.

Justice Elena Kagan said Foster’s case seemed as clear a violation “as a court is ever going to see” of rules the Supreme Court laid out in 1986 to prevent racial discrimination in the selection of juries.

Foster could win a new trial if the Supreme Court rules his way.
 

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