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Spain’s Supreme Court refused Monday to suspend a government decision allowing a former Venezuelan spymaster to be extradited to the United States.

Lawyers for Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who for over a decade was late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s eyes and ears in the Venezuelan military, asked the court to put the Spanish government decision — taken 18 months ago — on hold.

But the Supreme Court said in its written decision that Carvajal had presented no new arguments against the government decision, which he had already opposed at the court in May last year.

Carvajal’s extradition procedure is currently on hold at the National Court, after he filed a request for asylum in Spain.

Nicknamed “El Pollo,′ or “The Chicken”, Carvajal was arrested Sept. 9 in a small apartment in Madrid, where he had been holed up for months. His arrest came nearly two years after Carvajal defied a Spanish extradition order and disappeared.

In the United States, he faces federal charges for allegedly working with guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to “flood” the U.S. with cocaine.


Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled Friday that doctors can prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to children under 16, overturning a lower court’s decision that a judge’s approval should be needed.

Appeals judges said the High Court was wrong to rule last year that children considering gender reassignment are unlikely to be able to give informed consent to medical treatment involving drugs that delay puberty. The December 2020 ruling said because of the experimental nature of the drugs, clinics should seek court authorization before starting such treatment.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the U.K.’s main gender identity development service for children, appealed against that ruling.

On Friday the Court of Appeal agreed with the trust. The judges said it was “inappropriate” for the High Court to have given the guidance and said it was up to doctors to “exercise their judgment” about whether their patients can properly consent.

The trust welcomed the decision, saying it “affirms that it is for doctors, not judges, to decide on the capacity of under-16s to consent to medical treatment.”

Hormone blockers are drugs that can pause the development of puberty, and are sometimes prescribed to help children with gender dysphoria by giving them more time to consider their options.

The lawsuit against the Tavistock clinic was brought by two claimants including Keira Bell, who was prescribed hormone blockers at 16 and argued that the clinic should have challenged her more over her decision to transition to a male.

Lawyers for Bell and the other claimant argued that children going through puberty are “not capable of properly understanding the nature and effects of hormone blockers.”

Bell, now 24, said she was disappointed by the court of appeal ruling and would seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.


The chief of Vermont’s trial courts is retiring after 17 years as a judge, including seven as chief superior judge, the state Supreme Court has announced.

Chief Judge Brian Grearson will retire Nov. 1.

“Vermont’s judiciary is a vital institution of democracy that ensures equal justice under the law,” Vermont Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Reiber said in a statement on Friday. “Judge Grearson’s work in support of the courts has been distinctive, accruing to the benefit of every person in our great state.”

The court also said that Superior Judge Thomas A. Zonay of Hartland will succeed Grearson.

The chief superior judge supervises and oversees the administrative responsibilities of the judicial officers who serve in the state superior court and trial courts.

Zonay was appointed as a superior judge in 2007. Before being named a judge Zonay practiced law in Rutland and Woodstock for 18 years. Zonay also has served as president of the Vermont Bar Association and the New England Bar Association.

“He is a knowledgeable, hardworking and committed public servant,” Reiber said of Zonay. “I wish him all the best in his new role.”


The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday again ruled that Oklahoma has no concurrent jurisdiction over crimes committed on tribal lands by non-American Indians against American Indians.

The court rejected the state’s appeal of the dismissal of the manslaughter conviction and 19-year sentence of Richard Roth, 42.

The opinion by Judge Robert Hudson cites what is known as the McGirt decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma lacks authority over crimes committed on tribal reservations in which the defendants or the victims are tribal citizens.

“Adoption of the State’s theory of concurrent jurisdiction is a political matter that may be addressed by Congress, not this Court,” the opinion said.

Roth, who is not Native American, was convicted in the 2013 death of Billy Jack Chuculate Lord, 12, a member of the Cherokee Nation who died when a vehicle struck him from behind as he rode a bicycle in Wagoner, which is within the Creek Nation.

The state is appealing the state court’s April ruling that it does not have concurrent jurisdiction in the case of Shaun Bosse. Bosse, who is not an American Indian, was convicted of killing a woman and her two young children, who were Native American.


The Minnesota Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling Thursday in the fight over a ballot question about the future of policing in Minneapolis, but it didn’t settle the bigger question of whether the public will get to vote on the issue.

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea’s ruling lifted a small part of a lower court’s order that rejected the ballot language approved by the City Council, saying that elections officials don’t have to include notes with ballots instructing people not to vote on the question and that any votes won’t be counted.

The order didn’t address the main issue in dispute — whether voters will get to decide on a proposed charter amendment that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety that “could include” police officers “if necessary.”

The proposal has its roots in the “defund the police” movement that gained steam after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last summer, but it leaves critical details about the new agency to be determined later.

The Supreme Court was under pressure to rule quickly because early and absentee voting opens Friday in the Minneapolis municipal elections, and ballots have already been printed.

Terrance Moore, an attorney for the Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign, which spearheaded the proposal, said he expects a ruling on the bigger question to come at some point later. The city attorney’s office agreed that the high court has yet to rule on the main issues.

Joe Anthony, an attorney for former City Council member Don Samuels and two other people who challenged the ballot language as misleading, called the order “a little mysterious.” He noted the lower court injunction barring counting and reporting votes was left in place, at least for the moment. There are a few possibilities for what could happen next, he said, including the Supreme Court taking time for fuller arguments, then deciding by Nov. 2 whether the votes cast would count.


The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the third-degree murder conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian woman in 2017, saying the charge doesn’t fit the circumstances in the case.

Mohamed Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home. He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years on the murder count but was not sentenced for manslaughter.

The ruling means his murder conviction is overturned and the case will now go back to the district court, where he will be sentenced on the manslaughter count. He has already served more than 28 months of his murder sentence. If sentenced to the presumptive four years for manslaughter, he could be eligible for supervised release around the end of this year.

Caitlinrose Fisher, one of the attorneys who worked on Noor’s appeal, said she’s grateful that the Minnesota Supreme Court clarified what constitutes third-degree murder, and she hopes that will lead to greater equity and consistency in charging decisions.

“We’ve said from the beginning that this was a tragedy but it wasn’t a murder, and now the Supreme Court agrees and recognizes that,” she said.

Messages left Wednesday with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, were not immediately returned.

The ruling could give former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin grounds to contest his own third-degree murder conviction in George Floyd’s death in May 2020. But that wouldn’t have much impact on Chauvin since he was also convicted of the more serious count of second-degree murder and is serving 22 1/2 years. Experts say it’s unlikely Chauvin would be successful in appealing his second-degree murder conviction.

The ruling in Noor’s case was also closely watched for its possible impact on three other former Minneapolis officers awaiting trial in Floyd’s death. Prosecutors had wanted to add charges of aiding and abetting third-degree murder against them, but that’s unlikely to happen now. The trio are due to go on trial in March on charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is considering President Joe Biden’s nomination of a Vermont judge who played a role in the state’s passage of the first-in-the-nation civil unions law, a forerunner of same-sex marriage, to become the first openly LGBT woman to serve on any federal circuit court.

At the start of the Tuesday hearing, Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, called the nomination of Beth Robinson, an associate justice on the Vermont Supreme Court, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit “truly historic.” The court’s territory includes Connecticut, New York and Vermont.

“She’s been hailed as a tireless champion for equal rights and equal justice in the mode of the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Leahy said as he introduced Robinson. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Beth helped Vermont and America more fully realizing the meaning of equality under the law.”

Robinson helped argue the case that led to Vermont’s 2000 civil unions law. She has served on the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011.

She “has built a reputation for her impartiality, and fair application of the law,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, in his introduction. “She treats people with respect and compassion and she understands the duty of the court to provide equitable justice.”

Robinson told the committee that she would be honored to continue her work promoting the rule of law as a judge on the 2nd circuit.

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