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A committee of judges has recommended that all Georgia courts require judges and court employees to participate in sexual harassment prevention training at least once a year.

A Georgia Supreme Court news release says the Ad Hoc Committee to Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Judicial Branch of Government was appointed by Chief Justice Harold Melton in February and released a report Friday outlining best practices.

The committee, chaired by Justice Sarah Hawkins Warren, was made up of eight judges, representing each class of court in Georgia. It reviewed and evaluated anti-harassment policies before making recommendations.

Among other recommendations, the committee recommends that courts "mandate that judges and judicial branch employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training at least once a year."

But the report also acknowledges that the differences in the way the different classes of courts in Georgia operate and how court staffs are employed make it difficult to promote a single policy to be applied uniformly to all courts.



New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil is asking legislators to boost spending on the state court system.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Vigil joined other court officials Friday in Santa Fe to request an 8.9% increase in appropriations from the state’s general fund.

Vigil says the money would be used to hire five new district judges, expand pretrial services that supervise defendants awaiting trial and improve security, especially for magistrate courts.

If the request is approved, the judiciary will receive about $199 million in the fiscal year that begins in July.

It’s part of a broader state budget expected to exceed $7 billion. Two of the five new judges would be stationed in Albuquerque, and the other three would be based in Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Alamogordo


A historian’s effort to unseal grand jury records from the brazen 1946 lynching of two black couples on a Georgia riverbank prompted tough questions in a federal appeals court, but the judges also suggested there might be another way to win release of the records.

The young black sharecroppers were traveling a rural road in the summer of 1946 when a white mob stopped the car beside the Apalachee River, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Atlanta. The mob dragged them out, led them to the river’s edge and shot them to death in a case that horrified the nation that year.

The FBI investigated for months and more than 100 people reportedly testified before a grand jury, but no one was ever indicted in the deaths of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey at Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County.

Historian Anthony Pitch wrote about the unsolved killings — “The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town” — and continued his research after the book’s 2016 publication. He learned transcripts of the grand jury proceedings, once thought to have been destroyed, were stored by the National Archives.

Pitch, died in June at age 80, before his case could be resolved, but his widow is continuing the fight, along with Laura Wexler, who wrote another book about the lynching and joined the case at the family’s request.


A hearing Wednesday on the future of the court conservatorship that for 11 years has controlled the money and affairs of Britney Spears ended with no decisions made and no appearance from the pop star.

The hearing was cleared of the public and media. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda J. Penny issued no rulings during or after the proceedings, and Spears was not listed among those in attendance.

The hearing opened with a courtroom full of media members and a few Spears fans, but all were required to leave when Penny agreed with attorneys who requested that the hearing and its transcripts should be sealed because of what would be revealed about Spears’ medical, mental and financial issues, along with details about her two young sons.

In May, the 37-year-old Spears made a rare appearance in the same courtroom for another closed conservatorship hearing. She had asked to speak to the court and was brought in through a back door once the courtroom was cleared.

Her request raised the possibility that she could be seeking changes in the arrangement that she has largely quietly accepted for years.

Penny asked for an analyst to review Spears’ situation after that hearing, and had been expected to get at least some of the results Wednesday. It’s not clear whether she did, but in court documents she said the status hearing would resume in January.

Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, and mother, Lynne Spears, were both in court, along with a half-dozen attorneys with various roles in the conservatorship.

Jamie Spears temporarily stepped down in his role as conservator over his daughter’s personal affairs earlier this month, citing poor health, but he maintained his financial control over her.

Prosecutors in neighboring Ventura County announced Tuesday that they would not be filing criminal charges against the 67-year-old Jamie Spears after deputies investigated an allegation of child abuse. The district attorney’s office would not say who the child in the report was or give any other details on the investigation. Jamie Spears’ attorney did not respond to a request for comment.



Maurice the rooster can keep crowing, a French court ruled Thursday, as it rejected a complaint from neighbors who sued over noise nuisance.

Maurice’s case and several other lawsuits against the sounds of church bells, cow bells, cicadas and the pungent smells from farms have prompted a national debate over how to protect rural culture from the encroachment of expectations that are more associated with urban areas.

Maurice’s owner, Corinne Fesseau, will be able to keep the rooster on the small island of Oleron, off France’s Atlantic coast, the court decided. The frustrated neighbors are considering an appeal.

The rooster owner’s lawyer, Julien Papineau, told The Associated Press that Fesseau “is happy. She cried when I when I told her the court’s decision.”

Maurice’s dawn crowing is exasperating Fesseau’s neighbors, a retired couple who moved to the island two years ago. They asked the court to make the animal move farther away, or shut up.

Instead, the judge in the southwest city of Rochefort ordered them to pay 1,000 euros ($1,005) in damages to Fesseau for reputational harm, plus court costs.

“That made my clients feel very bad,” their lawyer Vincent Huberdeau said. He said Fesseau intentionally put her chicken coop close to her neighbors’ window and then turned Maurice into a cause celebre for rural traditions, and that the judge went too far in punishing the plaintiffs instead.

Their case also backfired in the court of public opinion, at least locally. More than 120,000 people signed a petition urging authorities to leave Maurice alone — and a “support committee” made up of roosters and hens from around the region came to support his owner during the trial in July.

“The countryside is alive and makes noise — and so do roosters,” read one of their signs.

The ruling may spell good news for a flock of ducks in the Landes region of southwest France, where a trial is underway between farmers and neighbors angry over the creatures’ quacks and smell.

Authorities also ruled against residents of a village in the French Alps who complained in 2017 about annoying cow bells, and an effort last year to push out cicadas from a southern town to protect tourists from their summer song also failed.

Since Maurice’s tale came to light, some French lawmakers have suggested a law protecting the sounds and smells of the countryside as part of France’s rural heritage.


The bodyguard of A$AP Rocky has told a Swedish court that the strange behavior and the "glossy" eyes of the man that the American rapper and his entourage are accused of assaulting in June alerted him that something was not right.

Timothy Leon Williams testified before Stockholm District Court on Friday that he saw 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, the alleged victim, approaching the rapper's entourage outside a restaurant in Stockholm and trying to talk with them.

Speaking in English, Williams said he didn't understand what language Jafari was speaking. Williams said he knew "something's not right about him. I'm noticing it because I'm a bodyguard. I'm looking at him and saw that his eyes were really glossy, like he's on something."

Trump had sought earlier to personally intervene on the rapper's behalf, a move rebuffed by Sweden's leader. On Friday Trump tweeted, "It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!"

Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, is accused with two others of beating a 19-year-old man in Stockholm on June 30.

A Swedish court has ruled that the three suspects can be freed from detention until the verdict is announced Aug. 14.

Trump tweeted "A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden." But it wasn't immediately clear from the decision Friday by Stockholm District Court whether the suspects could leave the country.


A court in Kyrgyzstan on Friday ordered the nation's ex-president to remain in custody pending trial on corruption charges as calm returned to the country's capital following a strong crackdown by police.

The arrest of Almazbek Atambayev sparked two days of riots that left one policeman dead and over 100 people injured, raising fears of instability in the strategically placed Central Asian nation that borders China and hosts a Russian military air base. However, the police action demonstrated that the government appears firmly in charge.

Atambayev, who was in office from 2011 to 2017, has been stripped of the immunity from prosecution he enjoyed as a former president and faces a slew of charges, including corruption and the expropriation of property.

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