National Roundup

Whether Chicago police should note gun points goes to judge

CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois attorney general's office might be looking to a federal judge to decide whether Chicago police officers should record each time they point a gun at someone.

Lawyers for Chicago and the state have acknowledged the issue has stalled negotiations over a consent decree to govern police department reforms.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office filed a motion Wednesday to partially lift a stay of the lawsuit seeking the consent decree. In the motion, the office argues "litigation on a single, limited issue" could play out at the same time as the consent decree approval process.

The two sides revealed last month a 225-page draft of a consent decree.

Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham calls it illegal. A judge has denied the union's bid to intervene in negotiations.

Senate confirms Terwilliger as U.S. attorney in Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The Senate has confirmed Justice Department veteran Zachary Terwilliger as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Alexandria-based office often handles high-profile terrorism and espionage cases. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud last week by a team that included prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia as well as special counsel Robert Mueller.

The district oversees prosecutions at federal courthouses in Alexandria, Richmond, Newport News and Norfolk.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had appointed Terwilliger to the post on a temporary basis after Virginia's senators have recommended him for the post.

Terwilliger began his Justice Department career as an intern in Alexandria in 1999 and later prosecuted cases there. He has also served as counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Satanic Temple's Missouri abortion law challenge dismissed

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by The Satanic Temple against Missouri abortion laws, but there still are two pending lawsuits that could revive the complaints.

Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit upheld a lower court's dismissal of the lawsuit, which dealt with Missouri's "informed consent" counseling that is required 72 hours before abortions are performed.

The judges in a unanimous ruling wrote that they tossed the lawsuit because the woman at the center of the case was not pregnant when she sued and consequently "lacks constitutional standing."

Missouri law requires doctors providing abortions to give women a booklet that says "the life of each human being begins at conception," offer them an ultrasound and give them an opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat.

The Satanic Temple and an anonymous member who had an abortion sued the state in 2015 over the laws, which they alleged violated their religious beliefs. Satanic Temple members don't believe in a literal Satan but see the biblical Satan as a metaphor for rebellion against tyranny.

In the anonymous woman's original complaint, she said she believes that "a woman's body is inviolable and subject to her will alone" and that she makes health decisions based on "the best scientific understanding of the world, even if the science does not comport with the religious or political beliefs of others."

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley spokeswoman Mary Compton in a Wednesday statement said the office will "continue to vigorously defend Missouri's sensible waiting period law."

Satanic Temple Co-Founder Lucien Greaves in a statement said he views the Tuesday dismissal "as a mere prelude to victory."

There still are two similar lawsuits brought by members of The Satanic Temple against Missouri abortion laws that are pending in state and federal court. Plaintiffs in both those cases were pregnant when they filed the lawsuits.

James MacNaughton, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the "proper disposition" would be for judges to address the merits of The Satanic Temple arguments in those cases. He said judges "clearly decided to take a pass" on the case before the 8th Circuit.

"I'm disappointed that the court did not have the wisdom to step up and address the issues because they are significant and substantial issues and not deserving of being swept under the rug by being ignored," MacNaughton said.

Court won't revive judge's lawsuit over ­execution protest

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal appeals court said Wednesday that it won't revive an Arkansas judge's lawsuit challenging his disqualification from execution cases for participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the governor's mansion.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion to reconsider a three-judge panel's decision to dismiss Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's lawsuit against the Arkansas Supreme Court justices.

Griffen was photographed on a cot outside the governor's mansion last year wearing an anti-death penalty button and surrounded by people holding placards opposing executions. Earlier that day, Griffen blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug over claims that the state had misled the manufacturer. The state Supreme Court prohibited Griffen from handling any execution-related cases following the demonstration.

The court's one-page order did not elaborate on the ruling. The three-judge panel in July said Arkansas had "compelling interests" in protecting the public perception of an impartial judiciary.

Griffen has argued that his disqualification from hearing such cases violated his constitutional rights. His attorney, Mike Laux, said he planned to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said a 2002 ruling from the high court found that preserving the "appearance" of judicial impartiality isn't a compelling state interest.

"Here, there is zero evidence of bias in any of Judge Griffen's rulings and none was presented to the court," Laux said. "Thus, by elevating 'appearances' to this stature, the 8th Circuit respectfully got it wrong, and we have begun preparing papers to seek relief from the high court."

A disciplinary panel last week said it wouldn't dismiss an ethics complaint against Griffen over the demonstration. That case now heads to the state's Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which could recommend Griffen's suspension or removal from the bench if it finds the judge violated rules of conduct.

Published: Fri, Aug 31, 2018