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A Minnesota judge will hear arguments Monday on whether to allow live video coverage of the upcoming trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill took the rare step of allowing live audiovisual coverage of ex-Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial last year, making an exception to the normal rules of Minnesota courts. He cited the need to balance protecting participants from COVID-19 against the constitutional requirement for a public trial.

Now that the U.S. has entered a new phase of living with the coronavirus, Cahill must decide whether to allow the same sort of access for the trial set to begin in June for former Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.

A coalition of media organizations, including The Associated Press, said in a brief filed Friday that it understood that Cahill planned to prohibit video coverage, including livestreaming. The coalition said it presumed the reasons included defense objections and the judge’s belief that his hands are tied by the normal court rules “absent the extenuating circumstances caused by the pandemic.”

Thao, Lane and Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting both manslaughter and murder when Chauvin used his knee to pin Floyd, a Black man, to the pavement for 9 1/2 minutes on May 25, 2020. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back. The killing, which was recorded on video, sparked protests around the world and a national reckoning on race.

Defense attorneys have raised concerns about the willingness of witnesses to testify. Minnesota court rules generally require the consent of all parties for audiovisual coverage of trials, with fewer restrictions for sentencings. Chauvin’s trial was the first in Minnesota to be entirely televised, from jury selection to his murder conviction to his sentencing to 22 1/2 years in prison. People worldwide tuned into the livestreams.


Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday he won’t vote for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, expressing concerns about her record despite supporting her confirmation as an appeals court judge last year.

The South Carolina senator’s announcement had been expected after he criticized Jackson during her four days of hearings last week. But it gives Democrats one less Republican vote as they seek bipartisan backing for President Joe Biden’s pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

Graham, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the only three Republicans to vote to confirm Jackson on the appeals court in 2021. Collins announced Wednesday that she’ll vote for Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination, as well, giving Democrats at least one GOP vote. Murkowski has said she’s still undecided.

A final confirmation vote is expected next week. Jackson would be the first Black woman on the high court in its more than 200-year history, and the sixth woman.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Graham said his decision is based partly on what he sees as a “flawed sentencing methodology regarding child pornography cases,” echoing a line of questioning by some Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Several senators, some eyeing a run for president, repeatedly asked her about her sentencing decisions in her nine years as a federal judge in an effort to paint her as too lenient on sex criminals.


A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by a Delaware prison inmate who claimed he was deprived of his constitutional rights by being placed into solitary confinement because of his mental illness.

The appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in the case of Angelo Lee Clark, who also claimed he was deprived of his rights to adequate medical care while in solitary confinement.

Attorneys for Clark filed the appeal after a federal court jury ruled in favor of Delaware prison officials last year. The jury found that prison officials did not violate Clark’s rights by putting him in solitary confinement or denying adequate medical care.

Clark died in January at the age of 66. A family member is acting as the appellant in the case.

According to court records, Clark was held at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center from 2004 to 2019, when he was moved to a psychiatric facility.

While in prison, he was treated for serious mental illness, including manic depression, antisocial personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.

Clark was housed in solitary confinement for fifteen days in 2015 and for seven months in 2016.

Attorneys for Clark alleged that his placement in solitary confinement was in retaliation for his mental illness, loud voice, and minor rule infractions.

They argued among other things that holding a severely mentally ill inmate in solitary confinement when the harmful effects of such punishment are well known amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Prison officials argued in a motion to dismiss that qualified immunity insulated them from liability for that claim. A trial court judge agreed but allowed the suit to proceed to the jury on other issues.


The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday opened the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated for the nation’s highest court.

Jackson, 51, is to give her opening statement later Monday and answer questions on Tuesday and Wednesday from the panel’s 11 Democratic and 11 Republican senators.

Barring a significant misstep by the 51-year-old Jackson, a federal judge for the past nine years, Democrats who control the Senate by the slimmest of margins intend to wrap up her confirmation before Easter. She would be the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, as well as the first Black woman on the high court.

“It’s not easy being the first. Often, you have to be the best, in some ways the bravest,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the committee chairman, said shortly after the proceedings began.

The committee’s senior Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, promised Republicans would “ask tough questions about Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy,” without turning the hearings into a ”spectacle.”

Jackson’s testimony will give most Americans, as well as the Senate, their most extensive look yet at the Harvard-trained lawyer with a resume that includes two years as a federal public defender. That makes her the first nominee with significant criminal defense experience since Marshall.


A man who pleaded guilty to killing a Junction City woman and her unborn baby on Christmas Day in 2018 has lost an appeal of his sentences.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal from Dion Jamal Green, who pleaded guilty in 2020 to two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 31-year-old Jenna Schafer and her baby.

Green was sentenced to two consecutive life terms with no chance of parole for 25 years on each sentence.

Green challenged the procedures the Geary County District Court used to impose the sentences but the court unanimously rejected his arguments.

Early in the investigation, prosecutors said Green was hired to kill Schafer, who was found dead in a Junction City apartment. But a second man who was arrested in the case and accused of hiring Green had charges against him dropped in February. Prosecutors have not said why those charges were dropped.


Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a Wyandotte County judge to dismiss two lawsuits filed over new Kansas congressional district lines enacted by Republican lawmakers.

Schmidt’s request Monday came three days after the Kansas Supreme Court refused to dismiss the lawsuits and another in Douglas County at the Republican attorney general’s request.

Democrats and the voting-rights group Loud Light argue that the congressional redistricting law enacted over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto represents partisan and racial gerrymandering. They say it violates the Kansas Constitution. They’re suing Secretary of State Scott Schwab and county election officials because they would administer the new law.

The map makes it harder for the only Kansas Democrat in Congress, Rep. Sharice Davids, to get reelected in her Kansas City-area district.

Schmidt and fellow Republicans argue that the new map isn’t gerrymandering and even if it were, state courts have no power under the Kansas Constitution to rule on congressional districts.


A man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2019 killing of a federal law enforcement trainee in coastal Georgia.

A jury in Glynn County Superior Court convicted Calvin Robert Jenkins of murder in the fatal shooting of 39-year-old Wolf Valmond. The Brunswick News reports Jenkins was sentenced by the trial judge after the verdict was returned Tuesday.

Valmond was a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol employee undergoing training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in coastal Brunswick when he was killed in December 2019.

Prosecutors said both Jenkins and Valmond had been at a bar on neighboring St. Simons Island when an argument broke out about a woman’s missing cellphone. Authorities said that when the men left the bar, Jenkins retrieved a handgun from his car and shot Valmond twice in the chest.

Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley sentenced Jenkins to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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