U.S. Supreme Court Notebook

Supreme Court sides with Florida man in free speech case


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is siding with a man who sued the Florida city where he lives after being arrested for his speech during a public comment portion of a city council meeting.

The justices sided Monday with Fane Lozman in a case involving his arrest at a 2006 city council meeting in south Florida’s City of Riviera Beach. Lozman believes he was arrested in retaliation for being an outspoken critic of the city.

But a lower court said Lozman was barred from bringing a lawsuit for retaliation because a jury found a police officer had probable cause to arrest him for disturbing a lawful assembly.

The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling 8-1 that the existence of probable cause for an arrest shouldn’t bar Lozman from bringing his case.

 

Supreme Court rejects appeal from gay inmate in South Dakota
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from a gay death row inmate in South Dakota who says jurors were biased against him because of his sexual orientation.

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place the death sentence for Charles Rhines. He was convicted in the stabbing death of a doughnut shop employee in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1992.

Rhines tried to persuade the court to take an interest in his case after the justices last year ruled that evidence of racial bias in the jury room allows a judge to consider setting aside a verdict. Rhines said one juror said Rhines should not be sentenced to life in prison because he is gay and would be housed with other men.

 

Supreme Court to take up iPhone app lawsuit
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will consider whether the purchasers of iPhone apps can sue Apple over allegations it has an illegal monopoly on the sale of the apps.

The court said Monday that it will take a case from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which ruled in January that the purchasers of iPhone apps could sue Apple. Their lawsuit says that when a customer buys an app the price includes a 30 percent markup that goes to Apple.

Apple had argued that it did not sell apps, but instead acted as an intermediary used by the app developers.

Apple won initially in a lower court which dismissed the lawsuit.

 

Man on death row for Texas prison worker death loses appeal
 

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a 45-year-old Dallas man on Texas death row for killing a supervisor at an Amarillo state prison shoe factory.

Attorneys for Travis Trevino Runnels had appealed after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016 rejected arguments that he had deficient legal help at his trial for the 2003 slaying of 38-year-old Stanley Wiley at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Clements Unit in Amarillo.

Wiley’s throat was slashed with a knife. He’d worked in the prison system for nearly nine years.

Runnels was serving 70 years for a 1997 aggravated robbery conviction from Dallas and apparently was angry about being assigned janitor duty at the shoe factory. He wanted to work at the prison barber shop.

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