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A Maine activist who accused an orphanage founder in Haiti of being a serial pedophile asked the state supreme court on Tuesday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit that was moved from federal court.

An attorney for Paul Kendrick told justices that the assertions were protected by a Maine law that protects people from meritless suits aimed at chilling First Amendment rights.

The argument that invoked Maine's Anti-SLAPP statute was met with skepticism from justices who questioned whether the law was intended to apply to harassment and cyberbullying.

But Supreme Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley suggested there's a balancing act when between free speech and defamation.

"Are we not sliding into an areas where we have to be very careful not to chill the voices of people who say we must speak up in support of children who have been abused?" she asked an attorney at one point. "We know that if people are afraid to speak up that abuse can go on for decades."



The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to fast-track cases on the president's decision to end a program that shields young immigrants from deportation.

The administration on Monday asked the Supreme Court to take up three cases about Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in one of the cases in May but hasn't yet ruled.

The Trump administration had warned that it would ask the high court to step in if the appeals court didn't rule by Oct. 31. The administration wants a ruling on the issue this term. The high court doesn't typically take cases before federal appeals courts rule on them.


North Carolina's highest court says it will hear arguments on whether the legislature can trim judgeships from the state's intermediate-level appeals court through attrition.

The state Supreme Court says it will take up litigation from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper against Republican legislative leaders challenging a 2017 law reducing the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12 as retirements and other vacancies occur.

The governor usually gets to name replacements, but that wouldn't happen with the next three openings. The majority on a trial court panel last spring upheld the law.

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear the case without it first going through the Court of Appeals itself. Cooper's lawyers said bypassing the Court of Appeals would eliminate any appearance of impropriety to rule on its own membership.


Porn actress Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti must pay $4.85 million to an attorney who worked at his former law firm, a California judge ruled Monday in an order that holds the potential presidential candidate personally liable in a lawsuit over back pay.

The Los Angeles judge ordered the payout the same day a separate ruling came down evicting Eagan Avenatti LLC from its office space in Southern California after four months of unpaid rent.

In the case over back pay, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin ruled that Avenatti personally guaranteed a settlement with attorney Jason Frank, who said Eagan Avenatti misstated its profits and that he was owed millions of dollars.

Avenatti, who is best known for representing Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump following an alleged 2006 affair, did not appear at Monday's hearing and never filed arguments in the case.


Former Vice President Joe Biden brought his blue-collar appeal to a Democratic stronghold of Indiana on Friday, heaping praise on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly as the kind of guy who keeps his word, puts country over party — and would have his back in a street fight.

Around the same time, current Vice President Mike Pence was rallying for Donnelly’s opponent, Mike Braun, in Indianapolis.
Biden told a crowd in the heavily industrial northwest corner of Indiana that “Joe is as good a man as I know,” adding that if they’d grown up in the same neighborhood they would’ve been friends.

“I’ll tell you why: I know that if I were coming through my neighborhood and I got jumped by four guys, even though ... it wouldn’t make a difference, Joe would jump in and help me,” Biden said.

For Donnelly, victory in a neck-and-neck race with the Republican businessman Braun requires a big turnout in the area, which draws more from the machine politics of nearby Chicago than the rural conservatism prevalent elsewhere in the state.

“Northwest Indiana is red meat for Joe Donnelly,” said Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott. “Eight out of 10 of those people that show up are going to vote for Joe Donnelly.”

With early voting starting in Indiana this week, Biden urged the crowd to turn out for Donnelly and bring their friends, saying “if there’s any time we needed character in the United States Senate, it’s now.”

Three hours south, Mike Pence — the state’s former governor — rallied GOP activists at a fundraising dinner with Braun and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in Indianapolis.


A Belgian court on Monday ruled that Spanish rapper Valtonyc should not be sent back to Spain, where he was sentenced to prison accused of writing lyrics that praise terror groups and insult the royal family.

The rapper, whose real name is Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, was supposed to turn himself in voluntarily in May to authorities in Spain, where he faces prison sentences totaling three and a half years, but instead fled to Belgium.

"The judge has decided there will be no extradition and discarded all three charges," his lawyer, Simon Bekaert, told reporters near the court in the city of Ghent.

Bekaert said the judge ruled "there is no terrorism involved, there is no incitement of terrorism, so there is no question of a crime according to Belgian law." He said the judge also found that there is no crime to answer to over insulting the Spanish king and that no threat was made that could warrant extradition.

"I feel good, I am happy. But I am sad for the people in Spain, who unlucky, they don't have justice like me here," Arenas told reporters, in English."

The ruling could re-ignite tensions between Belgium and Spain over extradition demands.

Late last year, Spain dropped a European arrest warrant against former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont after it became clear that Belgian justice authorities were unlikely to recognize some of the Spanish charges against him.


The question of whether Washington voters will have their say on a measure designed to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings might not be over after all.

One day after ruling that Initiative 940 should appear on the November ballot, the state Supreme Court requested a briefing by the end of the day Wednesday about how the justices' various opinions should be interpreted.

Supporters of the initiative said only a single justice, Barbara Madsen, voted that I-940 should go to voters while a compromise measure preferred by lawmakers, advocates and police groups should not. Supporters of I-940 said her opinion should not control the result of what amounted to a 4-4-1 decision, and late Tuesday they filed an emergency motion asking the court to reconsider.

"For reasons not explained, the Court seems to have adopted the view of that single Justice as the ruling of the Court as a whole," attorneys for De-Escalate Washington, the initiative's sponsor, wrote.

In their response Wednesday afternoon, frequent initiative sponsor Tim Eyman and Republican Sen. Mike Padden, who sued over the issue, said the court's action was appropriate because five justices believed I-940 should go to the ballot.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman also filed a response, taking no position on the outcome of the case but urging the court to hurry. Because of the reconsideration motion, her office had to halt certain election preparations, including notifying counties which initiatives would appear on their ballots.

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