Appeal in swastika branding case turned down

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has refused to review the hate crime conviction of a New Mexico man who participated in branding a swastika on the arm of a Navajo man with mental disabilities.

The court acted Monday in the case of William Hatch, among the first people charged under a 2009 law targeting hate crimes involving disabilities or sexual orientation. Hatch and two other men lured Vincent Kee from a McDonald's in Farmington, N.M., to an apartment where they used a metal coat hanger to burn the swastika onto Kee's arm.

Hatch pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a federal hate crime.

The case is Hatch v. U.S., 13-6765.

Justices reject OK plea to restore death sentence

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has refused Oklahoma's plea to reinstate the death sentence for a man convicted of killing two people in 1994.

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place a federal appeals court order granting a new sentencing hearing for Rocky Eugene Dodd. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Dodd's death sentence because seven relatives of Dodd's victims were allowed to call for the death penalty in their testimony during the sentencing phase of Dodd's trial.

Dodd received two death sentences for killing neighbors Shane McInturff and Keri Sloniker, who were found with their throats cut in an apartment complex in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond.

The case is Trammell v. Dodd, 13-850.

Court won't review W. Virginia strip mine case

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a coal company fighting to reinstate a water pollution permit for a massive West Virginia strip mine.

The justices say they will not disturb a federal appeals court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency acted within its authority in 2011 when it retroactively vetoed a permit issued four years earlier by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. and its Mingo Logan Coal Co. subsidiary challenged the appellate ruling concerning the mountaintop removal coal mine in West Virginia's Logan County.

The case now goes back to a federal district court in Washington.

The case is Mingo Logan Coal Co. v. EPA, 13-599.

Justices deny Del. court appeal over secrecy

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has effectively killed a Delaware law that allowed state judges to preside over secret arbitration in high-stakes business disputes.

The justices on Monday declined to hear an appeal from the judges on the Delaware court that hears cases involving some of the world's largest corporations.

The judges had sought to revive a 2009 law giving them authority to hold secret arbitration proceedings to resolve disputes exceeding $1 million.

Lower courts said the law violated the constitutional right of citizens to have access to court proceedings and records.

The case is Strine v. Delaware Coalition for Open Government, 13-869.

Court declines to hear sex registry case

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has declined to take up the case of a Virginia woman who claims the state's sex offender registry law is unconstitutional.

The woman was reclassified as a violent sex offender 15 years after being convicted of unlawful sex with minor in a case that did not involve any violence. The reclassification subjects her to a ban on entering her children's schools without first seeking permission from state courts and the local school board.

The woman was identified only as Jane Doe in court records. She says the process unfairly risks revealing her children's identity and could take years to resolve.

Lower courts had rejected her case on procedural grounds, saying she failed to first exhaust state remedies.

Published: Wed, Mar 26, 2014


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