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A 54-year-old Minnesota man was convicted Thursday in the slaying of a high school student and stabbing of four other people who were tubing on a western Wisconsin river.

A Wisconsin circuit court jury found Nicolae Miu guilty of first-degree reckless homicide, four counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and one count of battery, Minnesota Public Radio reported. No sentencing date has been set.

Isaac Schuman, 17, of Stillwater, Minnesota, was stabbed to death in late July 2022 while he and the other victims were tubing along the Apple River in St. Croix County, which sits along Wisconsin’s state line with Minnesota.

Two men from Luck, Wisconsin, a woman from Burnsville, Minnesota, and a man from Elk River, Minnesota, were wounded.

Miu, of Prior Lake, Minnesota, attacked the group after people accused him of approaching children in the water, investigators said in court documents. Miu told investigators that he acted in self-defense.

Miu was tubing down the river with his wife and several other people, according to a copy of a criminal complaint obtained by Minnesota Public Radio.

Miu told investigators that he was using a snorkel and goggles to look for a lost cellphone. Video and witness accounts indicate bystanders accused him of approaching children in the water. Witnesses said Miu was bothering a group of juveniles and others told him to leave, the complaint stated.

Instead of leaving, Miu punched a woman and a fight ensued, according to the complaint. Video shows him falling into the river, emerging with a knife and then stabbing a person.

Miu told investigators that he was provoked, according to the complaint. “They attacked me,” he said. “I was in self-defense mode.”

Prosecutors had argued that Miu had opportunities to diffuse the situation or walk away.

Defense attorney Aaron Nelson told reporters Thursday that he was surprised and “respectfully disappointed” by the verdict. Nelson said Miu was “sad, obviously disappointed in the result. And, you know, contemplating his future life.”

Schuman was heading into his senior year at Stillwater High School when he was killed. His family described him as an honor roll student who was preparing to apply to several universities to study electrical engineering.


No woman has appeared more often before the Supreme Court than Lisa Blatt, who will make her 50th argument this month.

No lawyer, male or female, has done it with quite the same mix of humor, passion and style. And her win-loss record isn’t bad, either: 40-6, with two cases yet to be decided.

She elicits laughs and the occasional sharp response from the justices, who seem to enjoy Blatt’s presentations as much as they respect her legal acumen.

When Blatt joked that Justice Samuel Alito was being her “enforcer” with a friendly question in a case about a claimed retaliatory arrest that was argued last month, the justice said, “I’m not trying to be your enforcer by any means. ... You don’t need one, by any means.”

The Supreme Court’s guide for lawyers who are arguing before the justices essentially warns against trying to emulate Blatt.

“Attempts at humor usually fall flat. The same is true of attempts at familiarity,” the guide advises. “Avoid emotional oration and loud, impassioned pleas. A well-reasoned and logical presentation without resort to histrionics is easier for listeners to comprehend.”

She can be strikingly informal, in one case referring to the highest court in the land as “you guys.” She is often blunt, once telling Justice Elena Kagan that her question was factually and fundamentally wrong. She has resorted to the personal, in one case where she felt her Harvard-educated opponent was being condescending. “I didn’t go to a fancy law school, but I’m very confident in my representation of the case law,” the University of Texas graduate said.

“Texas is a fine law school,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, just as the arguments were ending and before the court handed Blatt a unanimous win.

Blatt also can be hyperbolic, cautioning last year that a decision against her client, a Turkish bank, would be “borderline, you know, cataclysmic.” A ruling that recognized a large swath of Oklahoma as tribal land would have “earth-shattering” consequences, she said in 2018. The justices risked causing “madness, confusion, and chaos” if they ruled for a high school student who was suspended from the cheerleading squad over a vulgar social media post.


Twenty years ago this month, photos of abused prisoners and smiling U.S. soldiers guarding them at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison were released, shocking the world.

Now, three survivors of Abu Ghraib will finally get their day in U.S. court against the military contractor they hold responsible for their mistreatment.

The trial is scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, and will be the first time that Abu Ghraib survivors are able to bring their claims of torture to a U.S. jury, said Baher Azmy, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights representing the plaintiffs.

The defendant in the civil suit, CACI, supplied the interrogators who worked at the prison. The Virginia-based contractor denies any wrongdoing, and has emphasized throughout 16 years of litigation that its employees are not alleged to have inflicted any abuse on any of the plaintiffs in the case.

The plaintiffs, though, seek to hold CACI responsible for setting the conditions that resulted in the torture they endured, citing evidence in government investigations that CACI contractors instructed military police to “soften up” detainees for their interrogations.

Retired Army Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led an investigation into the Abu Ghraib scandal, is among those expected to testify. His inquiry concluded that at least one CACI interrogator should be held accountable for instructing military police to set conditions that amounted to physical abuse.

There is little dispute that the abuse was horrific. The photos released in 2004 showed naked prisoners stacked into pyramids or dragged by leashes. Some photos had a soldier smiling and giving a thumbs up while posing next to a corpse, or detainees being threatened with dogs, or hooded and attached to electrical wires.

The plaintiffs cannot be clearly identified in any of the infamous images, but their descriptions of mistreatment are unnerving. Suhail Al Shimari has described sexual assaults and beatings during his two months at the prison. He was also electrically shocked and dragged around the prison by a rope tied around his neck. Former Al-Jazeera reporter Salah Al-Ejaili said he was subjected to stress positions that caused him to vomit black liquid. He was also deprived of sleep, forced to wear women’s underwear and threatened with dogs.

CACI, though, has said the U.S. military is the institution that bears responsibility for setting the conditions at Abu Ghraib and that its employees weren’t in a position to be giving orders to soldiers. In court papers, lawyers for the contractor group have said the “entire case is nothing more than an attempt to impose liability on CACI PT because its personnel worked in a war zone prison with a climate of activity that reeks of something foul. The law, however, does not recognize guilt by association with Abu Ghraib.”

The case has bounced through the courts since 2008, and CACI has tried roughly 20 times to have it tossed out of court. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2021 ultimately turned back CACI’s appeal efforts and sent the case back to district court for trial.


The Arizona Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Tuesday to prepare to enforce a long-dormant law that bans nearly all abortions, drastically altering the legal landscape for terminating pregnancies in a state likely to have a key role in the presidential election.

The law predating Arizona’s statehood provides no exceptions for rape or incest and allows abortions only if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Arizona’s highest court suggested doctors can be prosecuted under the 1864 law, though the opinion written by the court’s majority didn’t explicitly say that.

The Tuesday decision threw out an earlier lower-court decision that concluded doctors couldn’t be charged for performing abortions in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Civil War-era law, enacted long before Arizona became a state on Feb. 14, 1912, had been blocked since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing the constitutional right to an abortion nationwide.

After Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, persuaded a state judge lift an injunction that blocked enforcement of the 1864 ban. Then the state Court of Appeals suspended the law as Brnovich’s Democratic successor, Attorney General Kris Mayes, urged the state’s high court to uphold the appellate court’s decision.

The court itself was expanded in 2016 from five justices to seven, all appointed by Republican governors.

The high court said enforcement won’t begin for at least two weeks. However, plaintiffs say it could be up to two months, based on an agreement in a related case to delay enforcement if the justices upheld the pre-statehood ban.

The law orders prosecution for “a person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life.”

The Arizona Supreme Court suggested in its ruling Tuesday that physicians can be prosecuted, though justices didn’t say that outright.

“In light of this Opinion, physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal,” and additional criminal and regulatory sanctions may apply to abortions performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the ruling said.

The law carries a sentence of two to five years in prison upon conviction. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood Arizona said they believe criminal penalties will apply only to doctors. But the penalties also apply to providing abortion pills — the most common method in the United States.

In other places with abortion bans, some women have obtained pills both through underground networks and from telehealth from medical providers in states that have laws intended to protect prescribers from out-of-state prosecutions. This was already illegal in Arizona, the attorney general’s office said.

Dr. Maria Phillis, an Ohio OB-GYN with a law degree, said she believes women who obtain pills through those means could be prosecuted under the 1864 law. Across the country, new abortion bans have not been used to prosecute women in similar cases, and measures that have been introduced to punish those who obtain abortions have not been adopted.

Fourteen other states are now enforcing bans on abortion in all stages of pregnancy.


Arizona will soon join 14 other states that have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy after a state Supreme Court ruling Tuesday found that officials may enforce an 1864 law criminalizing all abortions except when a woman’s life is at stake.

The court said enforcement won’t begin for at least two weeks. However, it could be up to two months, based on an agreement reached in a related case in Arizona, according to state Attorney General Kris Mayes and Planned Parenthood, the plaintiffs in the current case.

The law provides no exceptions for rape or incest. Under a near-total ban, the number of abortions in the state is expected to drop from about 1,100 monthly — as estimated by a survey for the Society of Family Planning — to almost zero. The forecast is based on what has happened in other states that ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy.

Arizona Sen. Eva Burch, who has had an abortion since announcing on the Senate floor last month that she was seeking one because her pregnancy wasn’t viable, criticized GOP lawmakers who back the ban.

“The fight for reproductive rights is not over in Arizona,” she said, referring to a statewide petition campaign to put the issue on the ballot this fall. “This moment must not slow us down.”

According to AP VoteCast, 6 out of 10 Arizona voters in the 2022 midterm elections said they would favor guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide.

Planned Parenthood officials vowed to continue providing abortions for the short time they are still legal and said they will reinforce networks that help women travel out of state to places like New Mexico and California to access abortion.


Europe’s highest human rights court ruled Tuesday that countries must better protect their people from the consequences of climate change, siding with a group of older Swiss women against their government in a landmark ruling that could have implications across the continent.

The European Court of Human Rights rejected two other, similar cases on procedural grounds — a high-profile one brought by Portuguese young people and another by a French mayor that sought to force governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But the Swiss case, nonetheless, sets a legal precedent in the Council of Europe’s 46 member states against which future lawsuits will be judged.

“This is a turning point,” said Corina Heri, an expert in climate change litigation at the University of Zurich.

Although activists have had success with lawsuits in domestic proceedings, this was the first time an international court ruled on climate change — and the first decision confirming that countries have an obligation to protect people from its effects, according to Heri.

She said it would open the door to more legal challenges in the countries that are members of the Council of Europe, which includes the 27 EU nations as well as many others from Britain to Turkey.

The Swiss ruling softened the blow for those who lost Tuesday.

“The most important thing is that the court has said in the Swiss women’s case that governments must cut their emissions more to protect human rights,” said 19-year-od Sofia Oliveira, one of the Portuguese plaintiffs. “Their win is a win for us, too, and a win for everyone!”

The court — which is unrelated to the European Union — ruled that Switzerland “had failed to comply with its duties” to combat climate change and meet emissions targets.


A crusading Brazilian Supreme Court justice included Elon Musk as a target in an ongoing investigation over the dissemination of fake news and opened a separate investigation late Sunday into the executive for alleged obstruction.

In his decision, Justice Alexandre de Moraes noted that Musk on Saturday began waging a public “disinformation campaign” regarding the top court’s actions, and that Musk continued the following day — most notably with comments that his social media company X would cease to comply with the court’s orders to block certain accounts.

“The flagrant conduct of obstruction of Brazilian justice, incitement of crime, the public threat of disobedience of court orders and future lack of cooperation from the platform are facts that disrespect the sovereignty of Brazil,” de Moraes wrote.

Musk will be investigated for alleged intentional criminal instrumentalization of X as part of an investigation into a network of people known as digital militias who allegedly spread defamatory fake news and threats against Supreme Court justices, according to the text of the decision. The new investigation will look into whether Musk engaged in obstruction, criminal organization and incitement.

Musk has not commented on X about the latest development as of late Sunday.

Brazil’s political right has long characterized de Moraes as overstepping his bounds to clamp down on free speech and engage in political persecution. In the digital militias investigation, lawmakers from former President Jair Bolsonaro’s circle have been imprisoned and his supporters’ homes raided. Bolsonaro himself became a target of the investigation in 2021.

De Moraes’ defenders have said his decisions, although extraordinary, are legally sound and necessary to purge social media of fake news as well as extinguish threats to Brazilian democracy — notoriously underscored by the Jan. 8, 2023, uprising in Brazil’s capital that resembled the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol.

On Saturday, Musk — a self-declared free speech absolutist — wrote on X that the platform would lift all restrictions on blocked accounts and predicted that the move was likely to dry up revenue in Brazil and force the company to shutter its local office.

“But principles matter more than profit,” he wrote.

He later instructed users in Brazil to download a VPN to retain access if X was shut down and wrote that X would publish all of de Moraes’ demands, claiming they violate Brazilian law. Musk had not published de Moraes’ demands as of late Sunday and prominent blocked accounts remained so, indicating X had yet to act based on Musk’s previous pledges.

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