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The Kentucky Supreme Court issued a new order closing judicial facilities to in-person services and postponing eviction filings.

The changes strengthen the court's order a couple of weeks ago and restrict dockets, jury trials and jury service during the coronavirus pandemic, the court said in a news release.

“As difficult as these restrictions may be, the Judicial Branch must do its part to practice stringent social distancing while providing essential, constitutionally mandated services,” Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said.

The new order says all parties to proceedings and attorneys must be allowed to participate remotely.

Judicial facilities were closed to in-person services as of Wednesday with some exceptions.

Eviction filings will not be accepted until 30 days after the order expires “pursuant to federal and state moratoriums on evictions and public health and safety concerns,” the release said. The changes are in effect through May 1.



The Hope Medical Group for Women in northern Louisiana fields phone calls every day from anxious pregnant women who ask if abortion is still legal and if the clinic, one of only three that provides abortions in the state, is still open.

Despite the protesters who sometimes gather outside, the threats that forced the clinic to board up all the windows and the repeated restrictions put upon abortion providers in this staunchly anti-abortion state, the clinic stands. Abortion remains legal in Louisiana and elsewhere in the United States. But a Supreme Court case set for arguments Wednesday could lead to the clinic’s closure and, more fundamentally, a retreat from protecting the right to abortion that the high court first announced in 1973.

The case is just one in a series of high-stakes disputes the more conservative court, now with two appointees of President Donald Trump, is expected to decide by late June as the 2020 election campaign gathers steam.

“We're fighting this as hard as we possibly can. And for now, all three clinics are still open. And for now, abortion is still legal in all 50 states,” said Hope’s administrator, Kathaleen Pittman.

Pittman tries to keep her focus on the women who come through the door every day — generally poor women who are forced to travel increasingly longer distances as other clinics in Louisiana and neighboring states have closed. Pittman estimates as many as 80% of the women who come in get financial assistance to help pay for the abortion.


The parents of a baby declared brain dead by doctors have lost the latest round of a legal battle in Britain’s courts to keep him on life support.

Britain’s Court of Appeal on Friday rejected an attempt by Karwan Ali and Shokhan Namiq to overturn a High Court order that doctors could stop treating their infant son, Midrar Ali.

The baby was starved of oxygen due to complications at birth, and was born not breathing and without a heartbeat. He has been on a ventilator ever since.

Judges at both courts agreed with doctors that Midrar Ali had experienced “irreversible brain stem death” by Oct. 1, when he was 14 days old. Three appeals judges ruled Friday that doctors could lawfully "cease to mechanically ventilate" the baby.

One of the judges, Andrew McFarlane, said Midrar Ali no longer had a "brain that is recognizable as such." "There is no basis for contemplating that any further tests would result in a different outcome," he said.

The baby's parents, who live in Manchester in northwest England, do not accept that his condition is irreversible and want the courts to consider opinions from foreign experts.

Their lawyer, David Foster, said the couple was considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The case is a latest in a series of legal challenges by parents to doctors in Britain’s state-funded National Health Service.

The cases often become flashpoints for debates on the rights of children and parents, the responsibilities of hospitals and the role of the state.


The World Anti-Doping Agency wants a rare public hearing for sport’s highest court to judge a four-year slate of punishments faced by Russia for persistent cheating.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is preparing a hearing expected within weeks for the blockbuster case in Switzerland.

“It is WADA’s view — and that of many of our stakeholders — that this dispute at CAS should be held in a public forum to ensure that everybody understands the process and hears the arguments,” the Montreal-based agency’s director general, Olivier Niggli, said in a statement.

Urged on by President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, is formally challenging a WADA ruling in December to declare it non-compliant after key data from the Moscow testing laboratory was corrupted.

The CAS panel of three judges will have power to enforce WADA-recommended sanctions including a ban on Russia’s team name, flag and anthem at Olympic Games and world championships.

WADA also wants Russian athletes to compete as neutrals at the Olympics and major events only if they pass a vetting process which examines their history of drug testing and possible involvement in lab cover-ups of positive tests.

CAS hearings can be opened to media and public observers in some cases when both parties consent.

The court held its first public hearing for 20 years in November when WADA appealed a ruling by swimming’s world body not to ban China’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang for alleged doping rule violations.


The Arizona Supreme Court released a decision Thursday in a case that determined if a woman can use her frozen embryos to have a baby even if her ex-husband disagrees.

A trial court had ruled against Torres, saying the contract she and her then-boyfriend had signed in 2014 clearly said both parties must agree to implantation in the event of a separation or divorce. Torres had an aggressive cancer and wanted to preserve her ability to have children after treatment.

The state Court of Appeals overturned that ruling in a 2-1 decision last March. The court held that the contract was unclear and that Torres’ interests in having a child outweighed John Terrell’s interest in not becoming a father who could be forced to pay child support.

The Arizona Legislature changed the law in 2018 in response to Torres’ case. The law now allows a former spouse to use the embryos against their former partner’s wishes, but relieves the ex-spouse of parental responsibilities like child support.


The corruption trial involving the former president of track and field’s governing body was suspended Monday shortly after it began.

Lamine Diack, the former head of the IAAF, has been charged with far-reaching corruption and doping cover-ups.

At the opening of the hearing, the prosecution asked that the two-week trial be delayed to weigh new evidence received from Senegal, where Diack was born. His son, Papa Massata Diack, also charged in the case, lives in Senegal, shielded from an international arrest warrant issued by France.

The prosecution also asked for the delay to clear up a procedural technicality regarding one of the charges against Papa Massata Diack. There will next be a hearing in April to see whether a new trial date in June is feasible.

Addressing the court, the 86-year-old Diack asked that in the wake of the delay he be allowed to travel to Senegal to visit his elder brother, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Diack has not been allowed to leave France since his arrest in 2015. But he promised the court that he would come back to France if allowed to travel, saying he wants to clear his name.


New Orleans’ clerk of criminal district court announced  a furlough Friday that would’ve crippled the city’s criminal justice system, only to rescind the threat the next day.

The moves by Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal District Court Arthur Morrell are part of an ongoing budget dispute with the city, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported. Morrell said he plans to to discuss the furlough and dispute with the chief judge of Orleans Parish Criminal District Court on Monday, the same day the furlough would’ve gone into effect.

Morrell said the city has failed to pay for his office’s full contingent of needed staffers. He requested about $4.6 million in funding for the 2020 budget and was granted about $4 million. Though the awarded funding was an increase from the previous year, Morrell said the difference left “no choice” but to close up shop.

As the clerk’s office is the only city agency legally authorized to perform some functions, the threatened furlough of about 80 workers would’ve made it so jailed inmates couldn’t post bail.

A longtime observer of the city’s criminal justice system said Morrell can “run that office for most of the year on what the city’s given him.”

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