Court won't stop city's franchise fee refunds

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't hear a request by the city of Des Moines, Iowa, to stop a court decision that could force it to refund as much as $40 million in franchise fees to its residents.

In March, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the city must refund a portion of the franchise fee it collects on residents' gas and electricity bills because some of the fees are unlawful.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from the city.

Des Moines has been collecting about $12.6 million a year from the franchise fee. The state Supreme Court concluded the city can collect about $1.5 million a year for gas utilities and about $2.1 million a year for electric utilities. Any amount collected above that must be refunded.

Court won't hear appeal over TSA scanners

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't hear a Florida man's attempt to challenge the use of full-body scanners at airports.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal by Jonathan Corbett, who wanted to challenge the Transportation Security Administration's use of full-body scanners and/or enhanced pat downs at airport security lines. Federal courts in Florida refused to hear his lawsuit, saying it could only be filed with the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld the dismissal, and the Supreme Court refused to reopen the case.

Corbett, in an email, said he lives in Florida but used a Michigan mailing address on his court filing.

The TSA started allowing the use of the advanced-imaging technology in October 2010.

Justices refuse to hear redistricting complaint

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't hear a challenge from Illinois Republicans who want a Democratic-drawn legislative map thrown out.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and other Republicans. They say the maps drawn by Democrats were gerrymandered to benefit the party and were unconstitutional. The lower courts have thrown out their complaints.

Political boundaries are redrawn every 10 years based on U.S. Census data.

Stun gun lawsuit not allowed to move forward

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't allow a lawsuit against two law enforcement officers who used stun guns against a Georgia man who later died.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from the parents of James Christopher Allen, who died after a Bacon County deputy and an Alma police officer stunned him multiple times.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had agreed with a lower court judge who refused to let Allen's parents sue the officers for his death. The man's parents said officers knew that Allen had mental issues and substance abuse problems, and that he was compliant and nonthreatening before he was stunned.

The officers said Allen attacked one of them, saying he was a demon.

Justices won't stop Oklahoma execution

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't overturn a death sentence for a man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her infant daughter in Oklahoma.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Raymond Eugene Johnson. Johnson was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder by a Tulsa County jury in 2009 in the June 2007 deaths of Brooke Whitaker, 24, and her 7-month-old daughter, Kya Whitaker. Prosecutors said Johnson beat Brooke Whitaker in the head with a hammer, set her on fire and left her and the baby to burn in their gasoline-doused home.

Oklahoma courts have refused to stop his execution, and the high court now also has refused to intervene.

Ala. death row appeal doesn't get hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a convicted murderer who kidnapped and fatally shot his estranged wife in 1994.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Bobby Baker Jr., who is on death row in Alabama. He was accused of kidnapping and shooting Tracy Baker four times while she sat in the back seat of his car in April 1994.

He has had his death sentence overturned once by the courts before being sentenced to death for a second time. Baker wanted the Supreme Court to rule on whether the aggravating circumstances that were used to decide to seek the death penalty were unconstitutionally vague.

Anti-gay marriage group appeal denied hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a national anti-gay marriage group that tried to thwart Maine's campaign disclosure law requiring it to release its donor list.

The high court turned aside an appeal from the National Organization for Marriage, which donated $1.9 million to a political action committee that helped repeal Maine's same-sex marriage law.

Maine's campaign disclosure law requires groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to influence elections to register and disclose donors. NOM contends that releasing the donor list would stymie free speech and subject donors to harassment, but the lower court refused to throw out the law.

Voters repealed Maine's gay marriage law in 2009, but it's on the ballot again this November.

For now, the 2009 donor list remains under wraps.

The state ethics commission is still investigating whether NOM falls under the state's ballot question committee requirements, said its executive director, Jonathan Wayne.

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court is an important development, but no decision has been reached by the commission regarding the National Organization for Marriage's 2009 activities," he said.

Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, which supports the gay marriage proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot, said gay marriage supporters don't care so much about who's on NOM's list of donors but rather want the organization to play by the same rules as everybody else.

"It's not like we're dying to get those names. There's nothing about the list itself that's important," he said. "We just think they should play by the same rules as everyone else and disclose where their money comes from. If they're going to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign like they did in 2009, the people of Maine should know where that money's coming from."

NOM, which didn't immediately return calls seeking comment from The Associated Press, is involved again in the gay marriage proposal this year. The organization already has transferred $250,000 to the Protect Marriage Maine political action committee, which opposes gay marriage.

Family cannot sue corporation over death

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't let the family of a raped and murdered college girl sue the employer of her killers for her 1979 death.

The high court on Monday refused to let the parents of Janet Chandler sue Wackenhut Corp., which in 1979 was hired to send security guards to Holland, Mich., to provide security during a strike.

Chandler, who was a 23-year-old college student working at a hotel, was kidnaped, raped and killed by Wackenhut guards, who then covered up her death. Six people were convicted of first or second degree murder, five of whom worked for Wackenhut. But the federal courts have said Chandler's family cannot sue Wackenhut for her long-ago death.

The high court refused to reconsider that ruling.

Justices refuse to hear challenge to Iowa's judicial system

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal challenging the makeup of an Iowa commission that nominates the state's Supreme Court and Court of Appeals members.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Iowa conservatives challenging the Judicial Nominating Commission's makeup.

The Iowa Bar Association elects seven of the 15 commissioners. The chair is a member of the Iowa Supreme Court, while seven other commissioners are appointed by the governor, a system adopted by voters in 1962. The commission recommends finalists to the governor, who makes the final decision.

The lawsuit argued the commission gives too much influence to lawyers and is unconstitutional because non-lawyers have no say in those appointments.

Lower courts have said the system does not violate ordinary citizens' rights.

Court won't hear appeal in suicide shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is refusing to hear a lawsuit over whether a police officer can be sued for fatally shooting a Texas teen-ager who was threatening to commit suicide.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from the parents of Ruddy Elizondo, who was shot by a Garland, Texas police officer after a relative called for help. Elizondo had threatened to kill himself with a knife, and when the police officer arrived, threatened him with the weapon.

The officer fatally shot the boy, and the family sued the city. Federal courts threw out the lawsuit, and justices on Monday refused to reopen it.

Challenge to federal roadless rule rejected

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal challenging a federal rule that bars development on 50 million acres of roadless areas in national forests.

The justices said Monday they will leave in place a federal appeals court decision that upheld the so-called roadless rule that took effect late in the presidency of Bill Clinton.

The state of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association said closing so much forest land to development has had serious consequences for residents of Western states and the logging, mining and drilling industries.

The challenge centered on the contention that that U.S. Forest Service essentially declared forests to be wilderness areas, a power that rests with Congress under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The Forest Service manages more than 190 million acres of land.

Challenge in abortion case won't get hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't reconsider a decision stopping a Nebraska anti-abortion group from fighting for an abortion law that requires health screenings for women seeking abortions.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal by Nebraskan United for Life, which wanted the court to reconsider a lower court's refusal to hear its appeal.

Federal courts refused to allow Nebraska's 2010 law to go into effect and the state attorney general decided against defending the measure. The anti-abortion group, doing business as the NuLife Pregnancy Resource Center, wanted to intervene to argue for the law but was blocked by the courts.

The Supreme Court will not review that decision.

Wife's murder case appeal turned away

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court will not hear the appeal of a former toxicologist convicted of poisoning her husband in a notorious San Diego murder case.

Former lab worker Kristin Rossum said she deserves a special hearing to determine whether her trial lawyer's performance was so bad that she was entitled to a new trial. Rossum was convicted in 2002 of the murder of her husband, Gregory deVillers, and sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors said Rossum, then 24, killed deVillers in November 2000 after he threatened to expose her affair with a supervisor and her methamphetamine habit unless she quit her job.

The justices on Monday rejected Rossum's appeal.

Court won't get involved in Minn. elections fight

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't stop Minnesota from blocking its judicial candidates from endorsing candidates in other elections and soliciting campaign contributions.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal of Minnesota's rules for judicial candidates. Gregory Wersal, who wants a seat on that state's Supreme Court, tried to challenge the ban on judicial candidates endorsing candidates for other offices. He also wants the ban on soliciting campaign contributions thrown out. But the federal courts have refused to invalidate the Minnesota laws. And now the high court has refused to hear his appeal.

In 2002, Wersal won a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that led to the removal of most rules that had restricted judicial candidates from taking public positions on issues and seeking or accepting endorsements.

Wash. top-2 primary appeal rejected

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has declined to take a new look at Washington state's top-two primary system amid complaints from political parties that it interferes with their rights.

The justices said they will not hear appeals from the state Democratic and Libertarian parties opposing a system that allows primary candidates to identify themselves as members of a party even when the party objects. The parties said the system could confuse voters.

But the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said there is no evidence of confusion and upheld the system. Under the top-two system, the top two finishers in a primary advance to the general election, even if they're both Democrats or both Republicans.

The Supreme Court upheld the system in 2008 but acknowledged there could be additional challenges.

Published: Wed, Oct 3, 2012