Daily Briefs . . .

Chief Justice Roberts rejects request to block mercury rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has left intact a federal rule that targets mercury pollution, giving the Environmental Protection Agency time to fix legal problems and come out with a revision by April.

Twenty states had urged the court to block the rule while the government decided how to account for its costs, but Chief Justice John Roberts turned down their request on Thursday.

The justices ruled last year that the EPA should have considered the costs and benefits before imposing limits on mercury and other air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The high court let the rule stay in effect and sent it back to the federal appeals court in Washington to decide how a cost-benefits analysis should be conducted.

A three-judge panel unanimously rejected the states’ request to postpone the rule in December.

The states, led by Michigan, argued that leaving the rule in place had already imposed billions of dollars of compliance costs on utility companies. They said it was unfair to keep it intact even after the Supreme Court said the EPA ignored the cost to power plants.

A coalition of environmental groups and states supporting the rule urged the high court to keep it in place.


Man charged with killing 6 in Michigan will get mental exam

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A man charged in the fatal shooting of six people in southwestern Michigan will undergo a mental competency exam to determine if he can participate in his defense, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Prosecutor Jeff Getting said the review of Jason Dalton’s mental health could delay the criminal case by at least two months.

Dalton, 45, is charged with murder and attempted murder in the Feb. 20 attacks in Kalamazoo. Police say he fatally shot four people outside a restaurant and a father and son at a car dealership in between driving passengers for Uber. Two people survived the shootings.

The evaluation would determine whether Dalton understands the charges and can assist in his defense, but would not consider his mental status on the day of the shootings, Getting said.

“It has no bearing on his criminal responsibility for a crime. This is not a determination to see if he was legally insane,” Getting told reporters, a few hours after a judge granted the mental health exam request by Dalton’s attorney.

The exam means a hearing scheduled for March 10 to determine if there’s enough evidence to send Dalton to trial is postponed. The case will be reviewed again on May 10, although that date could change if the evaluation is completed earlier than expected.


36th District Court extends hours for March

The 36th District Court is extending its hours for the month of March due to the tax season. The court will remain open until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday for payment of traffic tickets only.
The 36th District Court is located at 421 Madison Ave., on the northeast corner of Madison and Brush.