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Lawyers for a 97-year-old former secretary to the SS commander of Nazi Germany’s Stutthof concentration camp asked Tuesday for their client to be acquitted, arguing that she didn’t know about the atrocities committed at the camp located in what is now northern Poland.

Irmgard Furchner has been on trial for over a year at the Itzehoe state court in northern Germany. In her closing statement, Furchner said she was sorry for what had happened and regretted that she had been there at the time, according to a court spokesman.

Her lawyers requested her acquittal, arguing that the evidence hadn’t shown beyond doubt that Furchner knew about the systematic killings at the camp, meaning there was no proof of intent as required for criminal liability.

Prosecutors accused Furchner of being part of the apparatus that helped the Nazis’ Stutthof camp function during World War II. In their closing arguments last month, they called for her to be convicted as an accessory to murder and given a two-year suspended sentence.

Tens of thousands of people died at Stutthof and its satellite camps, or on death marches at the end of World War II.

Furchner, who made headlines last year when she absconded from trial, is being tried in juvenile court because she was under 21 at the time of the alleged crimes.

The court said a verdict is expected on Dec. 20.


The Supreme Court ’s conservative majority sounded sympathetic Monday to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples, a dispute that’s the latest clash of religion and gay rights to land at the highest court.

The designer and her supporters say that ruling against her would force artists — from painters and photographers to writers and musicians — to do work that is against their faith. Her opponents, meanwhile, say that if she wins, a range of businesses will be able to discriminate, refusing to serve Black customers, Jewish or Muslim people, interracial or interfaith couples or immigrants, among others.

The lively arguments at the Supreme Court ran well beyond the allotted 70 minutes.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, one of three high court appointees of former President Donald Trump, described Lorie Smith, the website designer, as “an individual who says she will sell and does sell to everyone, all manner of websites, (but) that she won’t sell a website that requires her to express a view about marriage that she finds offensive.”

The issue of where to draw the line dominated the questions early in Monday’s arguments at the high court.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson asked whether a photography store in a shopping mall could refuse to take pictures of Black people on Santa’s lap.

“Their policy is that only white children can be photographed with Santa in this way, because that’s how they view the scenes with Santa that they’re trying to depict,” Jackson said.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor repeatedly pressed Kristen Waggoner, the lawyer for Smith, over other categories. “How about people who don’t believe in interracial marriage? Or about people who don’t believe that disabled people should get married? Where’s the line?” Sotomayor asked.


The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case, a Republican-led challenge asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency.

The court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case from North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court because the GOP map violated the state constitution.

A court-drawn map produced seven seats for each party in last month’s midterm elections in highly competitive North Carolina.

The question for the justices is whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections cuts state courts out of the process.

“This is the single most important case on American democracy — and for American democracy — in the nation’s history,” said former federal judge Michael Luttig, a prominent conservative who has joined the legal team defending the North Carolina court decision.

The Republican leaders of North Carolina’s legislature told the Supreme Court that the Constitution’s “carefully drawn lines place the regulation of federal elections in the hands of state legislatures, Congress and no one else.”

Three conservative justices already have voiced some support for the idea that the state court had improperly taken powers given by the Constitution when it comes to federal elections. A fourth has written approvingly about limiting the power of state courts in this area.


Former Tucson police Officer Ryan Remington, who was indicted on a manslaughter charge in the shooting of a shoplifting suspect, will have his case heard again by a grand jury.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Danelle Liwski granted a defense request Friday to remand the case to a grand jury. She agreed with Remington’s attorney that state prosecutors presented misleading statements to an initial panel but did not do so intentionally.

The prosecution said Friday that a full and factual picture was presented to the grand jury.

Remington was fired in early January for what police determined was excessive use of force. Remington was off duty and working security at a Walmart store when he approached Richard Lee Richards, whom an employee had accused of shoplifting.

Authorities said Richards, who was in a mobility scooter, pulled a knife on a worker as he was leaving.

Remington allegedly ordered Richards to drop the knife and not to enter another store. Richards ignored the officer before Remington shot him multiple times, and he fell out of his scooter, authorities have said.

Remington, who pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, is scheduled to appear in court again in January.


A woman charged in a Wisconsin murder plans to argue that she is not guilty because she was a coerced victim of human trafficking — after the state Supreme Court ruled in July that such a defense could be used in homicide cases.

Tanya Stammer is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery in connection with the March 2021 death of Brian Porsche in Kaukauna. She is scheduled to stand trial next summer.

WLUK-TV reports that Stammer’s attorneys have said they intend to offer evidence that shows Stammer was a victim of human trafficking. That comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in July that a 2008 law that absolves trafficking victims of criminal liability for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked extends to first-degree intentional homicide. However, to use that as a defense, defendants must show that the crime was connected to being a victim of trafficking.

On Thursday, Stammer’s attorneys submitted copies of the law to the court. They said in a previous court filing that the “events described in the allegations were only possible because of her role as a victim of human trafficking.”

A trial date has not been set for Stammer’s co-defendant, Dontae Payne. According to the criminal complaint, Payne and Stammer targeted Porsche, with Payne allegedly shooting Porsche. The two then tried to make the scene look like a robbery, and tossed his phone & keys into Lake Winnebago.

Nearly 40 states have passed laws that give trafficking victims at least some level of criminal immunity, according to Legal Action of Wisconsin, which provides legal help for low-income people.


German lawmakers on Thursday approved a free-trade deal between the European Union and Canada, moving the accord a step closer to taking full effect.

The pact, formally known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, was signed in late 2016. Most of its terms have been implemented provisionally since 2017, but the parliaments of the EU’s 27 member nations must ratify the deal for -it to come fully into force.

Chancellor OIaf Scholz’s three-party coalition moved forward with ratifying it after Germany’s highest court in March rejected complaints against CETA, at least in the form in which it is currently in effect.

Lawmakers voted 559-110 to approve the pact.

Another 11 EU countries have yet to ratify the deal, Verena Hubertz, a lawmaker with Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats, told parliament’s lower house before the vote.

“We are optimistic, now that we are moving forward, that others will also follow very quickly,” she said. “But of course ... this is much too long and much too slow in a globalized world that turns quickly.”

Hubertz said Germany had to wait for the court verdict and added that “we have eliminated concerns” about details of a dispute mechanism built into the pact. Conservative opposition lawmakers argued that little or nothing has actually changed and charged that the center-left had held up ratification for ideological reasons.

The deal eliminates almost all customs duties and increases quotas for certain key products in Canada and the EU’s respective markets. The EU has said the agreement will save its companies some 600 million euros ($623 million) a year in duties.


Kansas providers might not be ready for months to do telemedicine abortions even though a state-court judge has blocked the state from enforcing its ban on teleconferencing with patients seeking pregnancy-ending medications.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains said Wednesday it is evaluating its options following the order last week from Shawnee County District Judge Teresa Watson. It operates three clinics in Kansas providing abortions.

A spokesperson for Wichita clinic operator Trust Women said it hopes to resume telemedicine abortions but will move slowly. It provided them for a few months in 2018, filing a lawsuit challenging the ban just before it took effect at the start of 2019.

“There is a lot of infrastructure that needs to go into place to make sure it’s the right way to do it,” said Zack Gingrich-Gaylord, the Trust Women spokesperson, citing more staffing as a big need.

Kansas has required doctors to be physically present when a patient takes the first dose of what often is two doses of pregnancy-ending medication.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in April 2019 that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the state constitution, but Watson refused in July 2019 to block enforcement of the ban while Trust Women’s legal challenge moved forward. The state Court of Appeals overturned that decision in May and ordered Watson to reconsider not blocking the ban’s enforcement.

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