Supreme Court Notebook

High court refuses request for open filings

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned down a request to make public a national patient advocate’s appeal in the case of a Kansas doctor linked to dozens of patient overdose deaths.

The court on Monday refused to allow the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to intervene in Siobhan Reynolds’ case.

The court filings in Reynolds’ case has been sealed. The committee wanted to intervene so it could ask the court to make the papers open to the public.

But the high court said only redacted copies will be made public.

The committee says Reynolds wants justices to quash grand jury subpoenas and her contempt citation for not turning over subpoenaed e-mails and documents.

Reynolds and her organization, the Pain Relief Network, are the subject of a grand jury investigation because of her involvement with Linda and Dr. Stephen Schneider.

The Schneiders have been convicted of conspiring to profit from illegally prescribing painkillers to dozens of patients who later died.

Justices won’t review claim of mental impairment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t review a claim by a Texas death row inmate who says his mental impairment should prevent his execution.

The court said Monday won’t hear an appeal from Michael Wayne Hall. A federal trial judge and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans have found that Hall is not mentally impaired.

Hall scored 67 on an intelligence test at the time of his trial for the murder of a 19-year-old woman in 1998; a score of 70 generally is the threshold for impairment.

Hall and Robert Neville Jr. shot Amy Robinson, a mentally impaired woman who once worked with them at a Dallas-area supermarket.

Neville was executed in 2006.

The case is Hall v. Thaler, 10-37.

Felons’ appeal turned down

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t take the case of Massachusetts prison inmates who say they should be able to vote.

The court turned down the inmates’ appeal Monday. Massachusetts and 47 other states generally prohibit incarcerated felons from voting. Maine and Vermont allow it.

In 2001, several jailed felons sued, saying not allowing them to vote violated the federal Voting Rights Act. They say keeping them from the polls is illegal because the percentage of imprisoned felons who are black or Hispanic is higher than the percentage in the state as a whole.

But the federal appeals court in Boston ruled Congress never intended to prohibit states from barring incarcerated felons from voting.

The case is Simmons v. Galvin, 09-920.


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