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An emergency official who defended a decision to not sound outdoor alert sirens on Maui as a ferocious fire raged has resigned.

Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya had said this week that he had no regrets about not deploying the system because he feared it could have caused people to go “mauka,” a Hawaiian term that can mean toward the mountains or inland.

“If that was the case, then they would have gone into the fire,” Andaya explained. He stepped down Thursday, a day later.

The decision to not use the sirens, coupled with water shortages that hampered firefighters and an escape route clogged with vehicles that were overrun by flames, has brought intense criticism from many residents following the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century.

With the death toll at 111, the search for the missing moved beyond the devastated town of Lahaina to other communities that were destroyed. Teams had covered about 58% of the Lahaina area and the fire was 90% contained as of Thursday night, Maui County officials said.

Six forensic anthropologists with the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency are assisting in gathering and identifying human remains, the Pentagon said in a statement Friday. The group is experienced in verifying DNA from long-lost service members, many of whom died as long ago as World War II.

Mayor Richard Bissen accepted Andaya’s resignation effective immediately, the County of Maui announced on Facebook. Andaya cited unspecified health reasons for leaving his post, with no further details provided.

A Texas woman was arrested and has been charged with threatening to kill the federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former President Donald Trump in Washington and a member of Congress.

Abigail Jo Shry of Alvin, Texas, called the federal courthouse in Washington and left the threatening message — using a racist term for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan — on Aug. 5, court records show. Investigators traced her phone number and she later admitted to making the threatening call, according to a criminal complaint.

In the call, Shry told the judge, who is overseeing the election conspiracy case against Trump, “You are in our sights, we want to kill you,” the documents said. Prosecutors allege Shry also said, “If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you,” and she threatened to kill U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat running for mayor of Houston, according to court documents.

A judge earlier this week ordered Shry jailed. Court records show Shry is represented by the Houston public defender’s office, which did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Wednesday.

Trump has publicly assailed Chutkan, a former assistant public defender who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama, calling her “highly partisan” and “ VERY BIASED & UNFAIR!” because of her past comments in a separate case overseeing the sentencing of one of the defendants charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Chutkan in a hearing Friday imposed a protective order in the case limiting what evidence handed over by prosecutors the former president and his legal team can publicly disclose. She warned Trump’s lawyers that his defense should be mounted in the courtroom and “not on the internet.”

The 2022 elections marked the first using new voting districts drawn from updated census data. Those districts typically last for a decade, but they could be short-lived in some states.

Court challenges could force lawmakers or special commissions to draw yet another set of maps before the 2024 elections for representatives in Congress and state capitols.

That means voters who were just shifted into new U.S. House or state legislative districts could be grouped with different communities when they go to vote the next time.

Here’s a look at some places where voting districts could change, and the reasons why.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that Alabama’s congressional districts likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting the political power of Black voters.

The ruling means the state’s Republican-led Legislature and GOP governor likely will have to draw new U.S. House districts in which Black voters comprise a majority — or close to it — in two of Alabama’s seven districts, instead of only one.

The ruling also could lead to new U.S. House districts in Louisiana, and potentially Georgia.

While considering the Alabama case, the Supreme Court had put a hold on a similar lower court ruling that Louisiana’s districts must be redrawn to create a second majority-Black district. That’s likely to be lifted. A federal judge in Georgia last year also said some of its congressional and state legislative districts likely violated the Voting Rights Act, but no final decision has been issued.

The Alabama decision is “breathing new life” into similar cases around the country, said attorney Mark Gaber, senior redistricting director at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center.

Voting Rights Acts challenges are in the early stages in Texas. Lawsuits also allege that state legislative districts dilute the voting strength of Hispanic residents in Washington and Native Americans in North Dakota.

Though based on different legal theories, other lawsuits allege districts were drawn to the detriment of minority votes in Arkansas and Florida. The Supreme Court also has agreed to review a lower court ruling that a South Carolina congressional district discriminates against Black voters.

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 federal appeals court on Friday said Alabama cannot execute a man with an IQ in the 70s, agreeing with a lower court’s ruling that he is intellectually disabled and that his death sentence is unconstitutional.

The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s 2021 decision vacating the death sentence of Joseph Clifton Smith, 52.

Smith was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1997 beating death of Durk Van Dam. Van Dam, whose body was found in his pickup truck in Mobile County, died as a result of 35 blunt-force injuries to his body, according to testimony from a forensic pathologist.

The appellate court wrote Friday that it found no error in the federal judge’s review of the case that determined that Smith is “intellectually disabled and, as a result, that his (death) sentence violates the Eighth Amendment.”

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 barred the execution of intellectually disabled people. The court has since ruled that in borderline cases, states should look at other evidence of disability because of the margin of error in IQ tests.

Alabama law defines intellectual disability as an IQ of 70 or below, “significant or substantial deficits in adaptive behavior” and the onset of those issues before the age of 18.

Smith scored as low as 72 and as high as 78 on IQ tests over the years and showed evidence of poor intellectual and adaptive functioning since a young age, the court ruling noted. He was placed in school programs for students with learning or intellectual disabilities and ”went on to fail the seventh and eighth grades before dropping out of school for good.”

Senior U.S. District Judge Callie V. S. Granade wrote in 2021 that Smith’s IQ score of 72 could mean his IQ is actually as low as 69 “if you take into account the standard error of measurement.”

The ruling is a victory for Smith’s attorneys who have been fighting for years to overturn his death sentence. A spokeswoman for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the state will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

An appeals court has rejected a bid by the Arizona Republican Party and its lawyers to undo $18,000 in attorneys’ fees that they were ordered to pay for bringing one of the party’s failed lawsuits challenging President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.

In an order Thursday, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the party’s lawsuit, concluding that evidence supported a lower-court judge finding that the party’s legal claims were groundless and rejecting its allegation that the judge stuck them with the attorneys’ fees for primarily political motives.

The appeals court wrote, “The First Amendment does not shield attorneys or parties from a court’s obligation” under a law requiring judges to impose attorneys’ fees against those who bring claims to court without substantial justification or to delay or harass.

In a statement, the Arizona Republican Party said, “We were surprised by the court’s decision, and will be speaking with legal counsel soon to discuss the best path forward. We are committed to ensuring that elections are fair and accurate.”

Jack Wilenchik, an attorney who at the time represented the party, said the decision will be appealed.

The fees that the party and its attorneys were ordered to pay cover the costs that taxpayers were forced to pick up to defend government officials in the case. In the lawsuit, the party tried unsuccessfully to postpone the certification of election results in Maricopa County and seek a new audit of a sampling of ballots.

New York regulators approved 99 new provisional licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries Monday as they try to speed up the rollout of a legal market that had been impeded by a court ruling.

New York legalized recreational marijuana for adult use two years ago, although only seven shops have opened so far. The rollout was slowed in part by a federal court ruling last fall that put retail licensing on hold in some regions, including Brooklyn and the Buffalo area, and legal operations are also undermined by a proliferation of unlicensed stores.

A federal appeals court lifted most of that injunction last week, paving the way for the Cannabis Control Board to provisionally approve licenses in those areas as part of the 99 green-lighted Monday. Applicants still need to complete a supplemental application.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that we’re able to expand the rollout of legalized cannabis across almost every region of the state,” said board chairwoman Tremaine Wright. New York has now provisionally approved 165 retail dispensary licenses.

Licensing was temporarily blocked by a federal judge hearing a legal challenge to the state’s selection process. The company Variscite NY One claims that the state’s selection process favors New York residents over out-of-state residents in violation of constitutional interstate commerce protections.

The ruling last week from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals allows the state to hand out licenses in Brooklyn, central New York, the mid-Hudson region and western New York, while upholding the block on them in the Finger Lakes region while a lawsuit continues.

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