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A federal appeals court has ruled that an Arkansas inmate on death row can sue the state in his effort to have new tests run on DNA evidence that could clear him.

The three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis, Missouri, did not address the merits of Stacey Eugene Johnson’s case, but limited its review “to the threshold issues of whether Johnson has standing and whether the defendants are immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment.”

“The defendants here are not immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment because Johnson seeks prospective declaratory and injunctive relief and has alleged a sufficient connection between the defendants and Act 1780’s enforcement,” the appellate panel said in Monday’s ruling. Act 1780 is a law that allows for post-conviction DNA testing.

“The Sevier County Prosecuting Attorney and the Director of the State Crime Lab have a sufficient connection because they possess and control evidence that Johnson seeks to test, and they have refused to provide it to him ... And the Attorney General has a sufficient connection because he has refused to agree to DNA testing and opposed Johnson’s Act 1780 petition.”

Attorney General Tim Griffin acknowledged in a text message to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the decision was a setback, but he said he is confident the state will ultimately prevail in its bid to execute Johnson.

“I am disappointed by (Monday’s) decision,” Griffin said, “but now this case will move forward to the merits. This statute is constitutional, and I look forward to defending it.”

Johnson, 53, came within a day of being executed in 2017 for the 1993 murder of Carol Heath in De Queen, Arkansas. Johnson was one of eight Arkansas prisoners scheduled for an unprecedented string of back-to-back executions in 2017 by then-Gov. Asa Hutchinson. He has been on death row since 1997 for Heath’s murder.

But the day before Johnson was to be put to death, the state Supreme Court stayed his execution in a 4-3 decision and remanded the case to a trial court for a hearing on his petition requesting additional testing of physical evidence found at the crime scene, which Johnson claims could prove his innocence.

A man sentenced to 200 days in jail for a probation violation bolted from a southern Indiana courtroom and tried to escape before two shocks from a stun gun brought him down, police said.

Trevin Littlejohn, 35, of Columbus, faces a new charge of resisting law enforcement following the episode Monday.

After Littlejohn was read his sentence, he declared he would not go to jail and fled from the courtroom, using chairs to obstruct an officer in the court, said Sgt. Dane Duke of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Littlejohn escaped the grasp of another officer and was shocked with a stun gun but kept going, fleeing down a flight of stairs before a second shock floored him, Duke said. Officers then placed him in handcuffs.

After being treated at a hospital, Littlejohn was lodged in the Bartholomew County Jail in Columbus.

Littlejohn’s attorney J. Grant Tucker said he had no comment on the incident.

Delaware’s Supreme Court has upheld a judge’s decision in favor of Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a lawsuit challenging the electric car maker’s $2.4 billion acquisition of a solar panel company founded by two of his cousins.

The court on Tuesday rejected arguments from a group of Tesla shareholders that a Chancery Court judge erred in finding that Tesla’s deal to acquire SolarCity in 2016 was “entirely fair.” The judge made that determination even while finding that the process by which Tesla’s board of directors negotiated and recommended the deal to shareholders was “far from perfect.”

While noting errors in the trial court’s fair price analysis, and agreeing that the deal process was not “pitch perfect,” the justices said the record is replete with factual findings and credibility determinations indicating that the acquisition was “entirely fair.”

“We are convinced, after a thorough review of the extensive trial record, that the trial court’s decision is supported by the evidence and that the court committed no reversible error in applying the entire fairness test,” Justice Karen Valihura wrote in the court’s 106-page opinion.

Typically, under Delaware’s “business judgment” rule, courts give deference to a corporate board’s decision-making unless there is evidence that directors had conflicts or acted in bad faith. If a plaintiff can overcome the business judgment rule’s presumption because the deal involved a controlling shareholder or because directors might have been conflicted, the board’s action is subject to an “entire fairness” analysis. That shifts the burden to the corporation to show that the deal involved both fair dealing and fair price.

At the time of the acquisition, Musk owned about 22% of Tesla’s common stock and was the largest stockholder of SolarCity, as well as chairman of its board of directors.

The justices concluded that the findings by former Vice Chancellor Joseph Slights III, which were not challenged by the shareholders, support the conclusion that the overall deal process was the product of fair dealing. The Supreme Court also said that, while Slights failed to explain why and how he relied on Solar City’s stock price on the day the deal was announced, rather than the lower price on the day the deal closed, his fair price analysis did not amount to reversible error.

“The Court of Chancery, after examining all of the expert testimony and fair price evidence, found that the fair price case was not even close,” Valihiura noted.

An attorney for the shareholders argued in March that the Chancery Court judge put too much emphasis on the price Tesla paid for SolarCity, and not enough on the deal process, which the plaintiffs contend was tainted by the failure to appoint an independent committee to negotiate the deal. He also argued that the judge’s analysis of the deal price was flawed and that shareholders who voted to approve the deal were not properly informed, even though the vote was not required under Delaware law.

A German court says it is giving an 82-year-old man a “last warning” to avoid jail after he was found guilty of drug dealing, despite 24 previous convictions.

The retired seaman, who said he wanted to improve his meagre 800-euro ($855) monthly pension by selling marijuana, was handed a suspended sentence by a court in the northern town of Aurich on Monday.

German news agency dpa reported that prosecutors had asked the court to impose a prison term of 34 months in view of the man’s lengthy criminal record and an existing suspended sentence.

But judges said they would make an exception and classify the latest crimes as “less serious offenses” due to the man’s particular circumstances and recent health problems.

Dpa quoted the presiding judge telling the defendant that it was his “very last warning.”

A West Virginia Supreme Court justice who joined the bench following a 2018 corruption and impeachment scandal said Thursday that he will retire after his term ends next year.

Justice John Hutchison was appointed by Gov. Jim Justice to the seat vacated by convicted former Justice Allen Loughry, then won a 2020 special election to finish the remainder of Loughry’s term, which ends in December 2024.

Hutchison said he looks forward to spending time with his wife, son and grandchildren.

“When I came to the Court in January 2019 the judicial system was starting to come out of a very dark place,” Hutchison wrote in a letter to Chief Justice Beth Walker. “In the last five years the New Court has made amazing strides in reestablishing the integrity of the third branch of government.”

Hutchison served as a circuit judge in Raleigh County for 24 years prior to his appointment to the five-member Supreme Court. He and Justice attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley and played on the basketball team together. Hutchison swore in Justice as governor in January 2017.

Loughry was suspended from his seat over allegations that he repeatedly lied and used his public office for personal gain. He resigned after a federal jury convicted him on 11 charges, most involving mail and wire fraud over his personal use of state cars and fuel cards. He was released from prison in December 2020 after serving 20 months of a two-year sentence.

Loughry and three other justices were impeached in August 2018 over questions involving lavish office renovations that evolved into accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty. Some of the justices were accused of abusing their authority by failing to rein in excessive spending.

One justice retired after the House of Delegates approved impeachment charges against her and another retired prior to the impeachment hearings.

Walker was cleared of an impeachment charge at her Senate trial. Then, a temporary panel of justices ruled the impeachment efforts violated the separation of powers doctrine and that the Legislature lacked jurisdiction to pursue the trials. The U.S. Supreme Court in October 2019 left the ruling in place.

The families of two transgender teenagers filed a lawsuit Thursday to block enforcement of Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming medical care for minors.

The ban, which was signed into law in April and scheduled to take effect in January 2024, violates the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection for the teens and due process for their parents, the families said in the filing in U.S. District Court.

“Governor Brad Little signed the bill into law in the name of ‘protecting minors.’ But lawmakers and the Governor ignored the extensive legislative testimony that the Healthcare Ban harms children,” the court filing asserts.

The plaintiffs, whose legal representation includes lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, note that the law makes it a felony for doctors to provide puberty blockers, hormone treatment and surgery for minors only in cases in which it is to help align their bodies with their gender identities. The same treatments are allowed for other purposes.

The legal challenges are also so recent that there’s not a clear trend for outcomes. A court put enforcement of a Missouri policy on hold — and then officials terminated the rule entirely last month. Lawmakers there have separately passed a ban, though it has not been signed into law so far. Oklahoma has agreed not to enforce its ban while opponents seek to have it blocked.

In the Idaho case, the plaintiff families were not named. Both teens are receiving gender-affirming care. In the court filing, one of the families said the treatment has improved their daughter’s life: She no longer has days when her gender dysphoria is so severe she feels she cannot get out of bed; she’s happy to look into mirrors; her grades have improved and her mother said the girl was glowing as she prepared for her school’s prom.

But debate over and passage of the ban took a toll, leading to depressive thoughts and telling her parents she feels the state where she’s lived her whole life is telling her to leave — something the family is considering doing so she can continue her treatments.

Defendants in the lawsuit include Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador, a county prosecutor and members of the Idaho Code Commission. Labrador’s office, which would likely defend the law in court, said in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation.

Within hours of his historic arraignment this spring, Donald Trump fixed his ire on the judge, complaining that he’s “a Trump-hating judge” with a family full of “Trump haters.”

On Friday, the former president’s lawyers doubled down on that criticism, demanding Judge Juan Manuel Merchan step aside from his New York City criminal case because of what they say is anti-Trump bias and a conflict of interest arising from his daughter’s work for some of Trump’s Democratic rivals.

Trump’s lawyers allege that Merchan, a respected jurist in Manhattan’s criminal court, tipped the scales in two other Trump-related cases by involving himself in plea negotiations for Trump’s longtime finance chief and requiring him to testify against Trump’s company in exchange for a five-month jail sentence.

Trump’s lawyers, Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche, also asked Merchan to explain three political donations totaling $35 that were made to Democratic causes in his name during the 2020 election cycle.

In the New York case, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The charges relate to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations that Trump had extramarital sexual encounters. He has denied wrongdoing.

Merchan did not respond to inquiries from The Associated Press asking him to confirm or deny if he’s the person who made the donations, which include $15 for President Joe Biden’s campaign against Trump, according to federal campaign finance records. Such contributions are typically prohibited under court rules.

In the New York case, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The charges relate to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations that Trump had extramarital sexual encounters. He has denied wrongdoing.

Merchan did not respond to inquiries from The Associated Press asking him to confirm or deny if he’s the person who made the donations, which include $15 for President Joe Biden’s campaign against Trump, according to federal campaign finance records. Such contributions are typically prohibited under court rules.

The former president’s criminal case is “historic and it is important that the People of the State of New York and this nation have confidence that the jurist who presides over it is impartial,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in what’s known as a motion for recusal.

The decision on recusal is up to Merchan himself, who previously rejected such a request when Trump’s company was on trial. Trump’s lawyers could be also making a play to raise the issue on appeal if he’s convicted. Along with their motion, Trump’s lawyers submitted 42 pages of what that say is evidence of Merchan’s political bias.

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