Saturday, June 9, 2018

Swedish court: Ghana international to be jailed, deported

A Swedish court has sentenced a Ghana international to 32 months in prison after Kingsley Sarfo was found guilty of two cases of rape of an under-aged girl. The Malmo District Court says the 23-year old Sarfo, a midfielder with top Swedish club Malmo FF, had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl in an apartment and in a public toilet. The court on Friday also ordered Sarfo to pay 150,000 kronor ($17,260) in compensation to the girl, adding he should be deported after jail and banned from returning to Sweden for a 10-year period. Safro has said his contract with Malmo FF, which he joined in 2016, would be terminated if found guilty. The club said it would comment after next week's board meeting. Supreme Court: Son can sue father over hunting accident A Minnesota man has taken a lawsuit against his father all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. And, dad is just fine with that. The Supreme Court this week clarified a state law on public access for hunting, clearing the way for Corey Ouradnik to sue his father, Robert Ouradnik, over a deer hunting accident. Corey Ouradnik broke both legs when he fell from a tree stand on the family's hunting land near Hinckley in 2012 when he was 29. His recovery took multiple surgeries and left Ouradnik with a six-figure medical bill. The Star Tribune reports his attorney, Matt Barber, says the lawsuit is all about recovering insurance money. He says Minnesota requires people who are injured to sue the person who injured them if they hope to recover a payment.

Woman accused of dismembering roommate appears in court

A San Francisco woman looked composed and lucid as she made her first court appearance on Friday on a murder charge accusing her of killing and dismembering her roommate, whose body parts prosecutors say were discovered in plastic bags at their home. Lisa Gonzales, 47, was in an orange jail suit with her hands cuffed behind her back during the brief appearance with her attorney. She answered a question from the judge, but she did not enter a plea. Her arraignment was continued until June 14. Police arrested Gonzales on Saturday after her 61-year-old roommate was reported missing. Police discovered the victim's severed arms and legs in a maggot-filled storage container, according to prosecutors. Gonzales told police that her roommate refused to move out, and the two of them argued on May 15, a San Francisco prosecutor said in a court filing. She told investigators she thinks she "flipped," but she didn't have a "real recollection" of what happened, Adam Maldonado said in the filing. Outside court, Gonzales' public defender, Alex Lilien, said his client was a hardworking, single mother and had taken the victim, Maggie Mamer, in after Mamer said she had been evicted by unscrupulous landlords. He said he didn't have details about his client's mental health. "She's charged with murder, and she's being portrayed as a monster in the media — and that's distressing," he said. "She's concerned about her family." Mamer had lost her home and "fallen on hard times" when Gonzales in August 2017 offered her a room, Maldonado said in the court filing. They agreed on $400 a month as rent. But after items around the home began to get misplaced or broken, Gonzales told Mamer in April to move out in 30 days or face eviction, the prosecutor said. Lilien said Friday that Gonzales did not know Mamer well when she let her move in, and that Mamer had a history of not paying rent.

Seals can keep using San Diego children's beach, court says

A California appeals court has upheld a San Diego city ordinance that closes a picturesque children's beach for nearly half the year so that seals may give birth, nurse and wean their pups. In a decision filed Thursday, the 4th District Court of Appeal reversed a lower court ruling that set aside the ordinance governing Children's Pool Beach in La Jolla, an affluent seaside community in San Diego. Thursday's ruling will allow for the beach to continue to be closed between Dec. 15 and May 15 every year. Violators face misdemeanor penalties of up to $1,000 in fines or six months in jail. The Children's Pool is an artificial cove that was used as a swimming hole for youngsters until seals began moving in during the 1990s — spurring a yearslong feud between supporters of the animals and those who want beach access. In 2014, the City Council approved closing the beach for part of the year after concluding that other efforts to protect the seals during their breeding season haven't worked. The California Coastal Commission issued a permit allowing that action. Visitors to the area often walk up to the seals, pose for selfies with them and mimic the barking noise they make. When they're disturbed, seals can abandon their pups, give birth prematurely or miscarry, or become frightened and accidentally stampede babies. They've also nipped at humans. The group Friends of the Children's Pool sued San Diego and the coastal commission, arguing that the Marine Mammal Protection Act and California Coastal Act give the federal government jurisdiction over marine mammals, not local governments. The group won a trial court ruling in the matter. The appeals court rejected the group's argument and the lower court's ruling, saying nothing in the protection act pre-empts a state's ability to regulate access to its own property.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Clicking 'checkout' could cost more after Supreme Court case

The Supreme Court is hearing a case this week that could affect how much customers pay for online purchases. At issue is a rule saying that businesses don't have to collect state sales taxes when those businesses ship to a state where they don't have an office, warehouse or other physical presence. Large retailers with brick-and-mortar stores have to collect sales taxes nationwide, but smaller online sellers can often avoid doing so. Large retailers say the rule puts them at a competitive disadvantage. States say they're losing out in billions of dollars in tax revenue. But small businesses that sell online say the complexity and expense of collecting taxes nationwide could drive them out of business.

Supreme Court rejects anti-abortion pastor's appeal on noise

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a pastor who challenged a state law's noise limit that was used to restrict his anti-abortion protest outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Portland, Maine. The justices offered no comment Monday in rejecting the appeal from the Rev. Andrew March. He sued after he said Portland police officers repeatedly told him to lower his voice while he was protesting outside the clinic. March says police invoked a part of the Maine Civil Rights Act that applies to noise outside health facilities. March says the law "targets pro-life advocates" in violation of the Constitution. A district judge temporarily blocked its enforcement, but the federal appeals court in Boston reversed that ruling.

Supreme Court hearing case about online sales tax collection

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether a rule it announced decades ago in a case involving a catalog retailer should still apply in the age of the internet. The case on Tuesday focuses on businesses' collection of sales tax on online purchases. Right now, under the decades-old Supreme Court rule, if a business is shipping a product to a state where it doesn't have an office, warehouse or other physical presence, it doesn't have to collect the state's sales tax. Customers are generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves, but the vast majority don't. States say that as a result of the rule and the growth of internet shopping, they're losing billions of dollars in tax revenue every year. More than 40 states are asking the Supreme Court to abandon the rule. Large retailers such as Apple, Macy's, Target and Walmart, which have brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, generally collect sales tax from their customers who buy online. But other online sellers that only have a physical presence in a few states can sidestep charging customers sales tax when they're shipping to addresses outside those states. Sellers who defend the current rule say collecting sales tax nationwide is complex and costly, especially for small sellers. That complexity was a concern for the Supreme Court when it announced the physical presence rule in a case involving a catalog retailer in 1967, a rule it reaffirmed in 1992. But states say software has now made collecting sales tax easy. The case the court is hearing has to do with a law passed by South Dakota in 2016, a law designed to challenge the Supreme Court's physical presence rule. The law requires out-of-state sellers who do more than $100,000 of business in the state or more than 200 transactions annually with state residents to collect and turn over sales tax to the state. The state wanted out-of-state retailers to begin collecting the tax and sued Overstock.com, home goods company Wayfair and electronics retailer Newegg. The state has conceded in court, however, that it can only win by persuading the Supreme Court to do away with its current physical presence rule.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Malaysia's top court annuls unilateral conversions of minors

Malaysia's top court in a landmark decision says both parents must consent to the religious conversion of a minor, ruling in favor of a Hindu woman whose ex-husband converted their three children to Islam.

M.Indira Gandhi became caught in a high-profile dispute after her former husband became a Muslim and converted their three children without telling her in 2009. He also snatched their daughter, then 11 months old, from the family home.

Malaysia has a dual court system, secular and religious. Gandhi challenged her children's conversions through the civil courts.

The Court of Appeal ruled that civil courts had no jurisdiction over Islamic conversions, but that decision was appealed to the nation's highest court.

The Federal Court on Monday annulled the children's conversions as they were done without Gandhi's consent.