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The Connecticut Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of families whose wrongful-death lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre was dismissed.

The high court decided Tuesday to bypass a lower appellate court and hear the case. Arguments have not been scheduled.

A gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle at the Newtown school in December 2012.

A survivor and relatives of nine people who died sued Bushmaster's parent company, Madison, North Carolina-based Remington Outdoor Co. They alleged Remington violated state law by selling a dangerous weapon to the public.

A trial court judge dismissed the lawsuit in October, citing a federal law that shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products.



Turkey's state-run news agency says a prosecutor has asked that a case against Israeli military officials accused over the deaths of 10 Turkish activists be dropped, citing a reconciliation pact between Turkey and Israel.

Under a deal reached this year, Israel agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the victims of a 2010 Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to reach Gaza. In return, Israeli nationals would not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

The Israeli military officials, including the former military chief, were on trial in absentia in Istanbul, held responsible for the deaths of nine activists. A tenth victim died in a hospital in 2014.

Anadolu Agency said the prosecutor requested during a hearing on Friday that the case be dropped.



Gun manufacturers have the right to present evidence supporting their claim that technology does not exist to comply with a California law requiring new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings, a state appeals court said Thursday.

The ruling by the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno overturned a lower court ruling rejecting a lawsuit by two firearms trade associations that challenged the law.

The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration.

"It would be illogical to uphold a requirement that is currently impossible to accomplish," Justice Herbert Levy wrote for the appeals court.

Supporters of the law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 touted it as the first such law to go into effect in the nation and said it would help law enforcement solve gun crimes by allowing them to link bullet casings to guns.

Hannah Shearer, a staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the argument that gun manufacturers can't comply with the law is bogus and will be rejected by the trial court.

"California's microstamping law gives law enforcement a strong tool to investigate and solve gun crimes and also combat gun trafficking," she said.

The law requires new handgun models to have a microscopic array of characters in two spots that identify the gun's make, model and serial number and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the gun is fired.

Gun rights groups say it is not possible to "microstamp" two areas of a gun. Only the tip of the firing pin can be microstamped, and current technology doesn't allow the stamp to reliably, consistently and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer from that part of the gun, they say.



Immigrants in the United States illegally are not automatically eligible for asylum on the basis that they are former gang members who risk persecution if they return home, a federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday.

Three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld federal immigration standards that exclude former gang members from social groups that can clearly qualify for protection.

The ruling could affect thousands of immigrants who are fleeing gang-related violence in Central America, immigration experts said.

"We have so many asylum seekers form Central America, and we have a lot of people who are forced to join gangs," said Fatma Marouf, a professor at Texas A&M University School of Law who wrote a brief in the case.

The ruling came in a deportation proceeding against a man from El Salvador, Wilfredo Garay Reyes, who left a gang in his home country and entered the United States illegally in 2001 at the age of 18, after being shot in the leg by a gang leader upset about his defection. Garay sought to stay in the United States under a law that prevents U.S. authorities from sending immigrants to countries where their lives would be threatened because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Garay argued that former members of his El Salvador gang constituted a "particular social group," and the gang members would kill him if he returned to El Salvador — possibly by placing a gasoline-filled tire around him and burning it, a method they prefer, he said.

Immigration officials rejected Reyes' claim on the grounds that former gang members do not constitute a particular social group.

The Board of Immigration Appeals said to qualify as a particular social group, there must be evidence showing that society "perceives, considers, or recognizes persons sharing the particular characteristic to be a group."

Garay's proposed group — members of the Mara 18 gang in El Salvador who have renounced their gang ties — was too broad, and there was little evidence society recognized them as a distinct group, the board said. The appeals court panel upheld the decision.



China's supreme court ruled Friday that a young man executed 21 years ago for rape and murder had been innocent, in a case that has drawn attention to problems in the legal system as well as the frequent application of the death penalty.

Nie Shubin was 20 at the time of his 1995 execution for crimes he was accused of committing in the northern city of Shijiazhuang in August of 1994. Another man, Wang Shujin, confessed to the crimes in 2005 while in police custody, although a legal review of the case did not get underway until 2014.

In its ruling, the court cited numerous examples of negligence and procedural errors by police and prosecutors, including the fact that Nie was singled out as a suspect "without a shred of evidence." It also said it couldn't rule out that Nie's testimony was coerced by torture or other means, a frequent accusation against the legal system that relies heavily on confessions to gain convictions.

China ordered speeded-up trials and executions during anti-crime campaigns in the 1990s, leading to frequent cutting of corners by legal authorities. Two years ago, another court ruled that 18-year-old Huugjilt, an ethnic Mongolian who was executed in 1996 for rape and murder, also was innocent after another man confessed to the crime. The court awarded Huugjilt's parents compensation.

However, under reforms in recent years, all death penalties are now automatically reviewed by the supreme court and the justices say executions are carried out only for the most heinous crimes. The exact number of people put to death is a state secret, but rights groups say China remains the world's top executioner.

Chinese legal scholar Xu Xin, a prominent advocate of legal reforms to reduce wrongful convictions, said Nie's case has emerged as highly representative of the country's problems with miscarriages of justice.

"In China's legal and social spheres, this case has garnered the greatest concern and has the most influence. Everyone's views on this case have basically been the same — that there was grave injustice," Xu said.

But the fact that it took this long for him to be exonerated shows the challenges ordinary people face in gaining legal redress in China, he said. "A vindication like this implies that compensation would have to be made, and someone could potentially be held responsible for the mistake, so that makes authorities unwilling to make an active push to correct the injustice," he said.

He credited the Chinese media, concerned defense lawyers and others who drew attention to the case for the court's overturning of the verdict, but said that the problem at the heart of the issue remained China's lack of an independent judiciary.


The Supreme Court seems likely to side with a longtime death row inmate in Texas who claims he is intellectually disabled and thus ineligible to be executed.

A majority of justices on Tuesday expressed misgivings with the way the top Texas criminal appeals court evaluates borderline cases of intellectual disability.

That court reversed a lower court and ruled that inmate Bobby James Moore was not intellectually disabled. Moore was convicted in the shotgun killing of a Houston grocery store clerk in 1980.

The Supreme Court held in 2002 that people convicted of murder who are intellectually disabled cannot be put to death. The court gave states some discretion to decide how to determine intellectual disability. The justices have wrestled in several more recent cases about how much discretion to allow.


He was opposed by the Republican establishment. During a contentious campaign he spoke forcefully about the need to crack down on immigration. And he used millions of his own money to bolster his political career.

President-elect Donald Trump? No, Rick Scott, the current governor of Florida.

While they are oceans apart in temperament and public demeanor, Scott and Trump were both political neophytes who came from a business background and won elections despite being viewed as longshots unable to convince voters to look past their controversial histories. Scott and Trump, who is vacationing this week at his home in Palm Beach, are also long-time friends.

“One of the reasons I always believed he would win Florida … is that Florida had already elected someone similar to him,” Scott said when discussing Trump’s nearly 113,000-vote victory in the Sunshine State, which helped propel him to victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

And as the country gets ready for a Trump administration his friend and political ally Scott may prove a valuable example of the challenges that lie ahead.

After being in office for five years Scott has been forced to drop campaign promises, alter his stance on key issues and deal with an ongoing divide with members of his own party. But Scott has also shown that it can be wrong to underestimate him.

When he first ran for office in 2010, Scott, a multi-millionaire, used his experience as a former health care executive and outsider as a tonic for Florida’s double-digit unemployment rate and struggling economy. His bid for governor was staunchly opposed by GOP leaders who were backing then-Attorney General Bill McCollum.

With a campaign aided by one of the same pollsters who helped Trump, Scott poured tens of millions of his own money to pay for television ads that hammered McCollum over immigration. In the ads Scott promised to push a law styled on one in Arizona that would allow police to check someone’s immigration status.

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