On the eve of what Arkansas officials hoped will be the state's first executions in more than a decade, they faced off with death-row inmates in multiple legal battles over whether these lethal injections would take place as scheduled.
At the heart of the fight is an unprecedented flurry of executions that have pushed Arkansas to the forefront of the American death penalty at a time when states are increasingly retreating from the practice. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) scheduled eight lethal injections to take place over an 11-day window, a pace unmatched in the modern era, which he defended as needed because one of the state's drugs is expiring this month and no replacement could be guaranteed amid an ongoing shortage.
Hours before the first execution was scheduled to begin, fights continued on several fronts in state and federal court, and Arkansas and death-row inmates both notched legal victories Monday -- one halting the executions, another removing a roadblock to carrying them out at a later time.
The Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday afternoon narrowly stayed the two executions scheduled to take place later that night, which came after a federal judge had previously issued an order over Easter weekend staying all the executions. Other court orders had also blocked individual executions and barred the state from using one of its lethal-injection drugs.
After the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday afternoon stayed two scheduled executions without explanation, Leslie Rutledge (R), the state's attorney general, promised to quickly seek a review of what she described as a flawed decision.
Rutledge filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to vacate one of the two stays. Judd Deere, a spokesman for Rutledge, said she decided not to appeal the other lethal injection, which the Arkansas Supreme Court had previously stayed last week, because the state rejected her appeal against that first stay and then handed down a second one.
A court in eastern Poland has issued an arrest warrant for a Minnesota man sought in a Nazi massacre, opening the way for Poland to seek his extradition from the United States.
The Associated Press had previously identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, an ex-commander in an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in World War II.
Earlier this week, prosecutors said evidence shows that American citizen Michael K. was a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion that raided Polish villages. They sought an arrest warrant from a court in eastern Poland.
Judge Dariusz Abamowicz said Wednesday the court has issued a warrant after concluding that there is "high probability" the suspect committed war crimes listed by the prosecutors.
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments over the constitutionality of an Ohio student's backpack search that authorities say led first to the discovery of bullets and later a gun.
At issue before the high court is whether a second search of the backpack violated the student's privacy rights, which are generally weaker inside school walls.
The court scheduled arguments for Wednesday morning. Prosecutors in Franklin County appealed after two lower courts tossed out the evidence because of the second search.
A security official at a Columbus city high school searched the backpack in 2013 after it was found on a bus. The official conducted a second search after he recalled the student had alleged gang ties. That search led to finding a gun on the student.
Human rights victims who suffered during the rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed petitions Monday asking the Supreme Court to order the exhumation of his remains that were buried last week at the country's Heroes' Cemetery.
They also want the court to hold officials and his heirs in contempt for carrying out the burial before the court heard final appeals against it.
Former President Fidel Ramos, who played a key role in the peaceful army-backed revolt that ousted Marcos in 1986, called the former leader's burial at the military-run cemetery "an insult" to the sacrifices of soldiers and veterans.
Left-wing former lawmaker Saturnino Ocampo and other activists urged the court to hold Marcos' widow Imelda, their three children, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and two military officials in contempt for "the hasty, shady and tricky" burial on Friday of the long-dead president at the Heroes' Cemetery.
The petition said they should be fined and detained for mocking the legal process that gave petitioners 15 days to appeal the court's Nov. 8 ruling allowing the burial.
Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, who represents another group of petitioners, sought a court order to have the remains exhumed "because the hasty and surreptitious interment was premature, void and irregular."
He asked that the remains be examined to determine if they are not a wax replica. The secrecy-shrouded burial at the cemetery reserved for presidents, soldiers and national artists shocked democracy advocates and human rights victims, prompting street protests in Manila and other cities.
Marcos's rule was marked by massive rights violations and plunder. After being ousted in 1986, he flew to Hawaii, where he lived with his wife and children until he died in 1989.
A defense attorney touched off a protest about race and free expression in a Las Vegas courtroom when she refused to remove a "Black Lives Matter" button from her blouse despite a judge's request not to demonstrate what he called "political speech."
Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon asked Erika Ballou, a deputy public defender who is black, to remove the button or leave the courtroom and turn the case she was handling over to another lawyer.
"I'm asking the same thing of defense attorneys that I ask of anybody else," the judge said. "Please leave any kind of political or opinion protest statements outside the courtroom."
Ballou, with Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn standing at her side and about a dozen defense attorneys in the audience Tuesday to show their support, insisted that she had a First Amendment right to demonstrate her opinion. She also refused to remove herself from her client's case, which the judge postponed to Thursday.
Several supporters wore a similar lapel button: Black, about the size of a silver dollar, with white letters. Attorney Jonathan MacArthur said he'll wear it again to Herndon's courtroom on Thursday.
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Homeland Security officials must quickly release immigrant children — but not their parents — from family detention centers after being picked up crossing the border without documentation.
The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said that lengthy detentions of migrant children violated a 19-year-old legal settlement ordering their quick release after processing. Government lawyers had argued that the settlement covered only immigrant children who crossed the border unaccompanied by adult relatives. But the three-judge panel ruled that immigration officials aren't required to release the parents detained along with the children, reversing U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee's ruling last year.
Advocates seeking stricter immigration controls said they hoped the ruling would discourage adults crossing the border illegally from exploiting children as a way to stay out of custody in the United States.
Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies executive director and an advocate for stricter border controls, said allowing the parents to be released may have encouraged illegal immigration of adults traveling with children.
Texas is doubling down on its push for court-imposed restrictions on the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.
In a court filing in Dallas on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge David Godbey, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton cited a recent federal acknowledgement that U.S. officials failed to give the state advance notice that a group of refugees was being resettled there. Paxton contends the refugees haven't been sufficiently vetted for potential terrorists.
Godbey already denied the state's request for emergency court-imposed resettlement restrictions. However, he directed federal officials to give the state seven days' notice of any resettlement.
Federal officials have apologized for failure to meet the judge's conditions, calling the omission an oversight.