(Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a
Tennessee law from taking effect next week that would require
abortion clinics to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers,
a step which abortion rights supporters had said would force two
facilities to close.
The law signed in May by Republican Governor Bill Haslam
applies to all clinics that perform 50 abortions or more
annually and was due to take effect on July 1.
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday ruled Minnesota’s sex offender treatment program unconstitutional and ordered a hearing into the system that has not unconditionally released anyone in 20 years and holds more than 700 people in treatment facilities.
U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank did not order anyone immediately released, but urged the governor, state legislative leaders and others to attend a pre-hearing conference in August to discuss changes to protect public safety and ensure people’s rights.
By David Bailey
(Reuters) – An Iowa woman should not have been charged with
public intoxication for standing drunk on her own front steps
after calling authorities for help following a domestic
altercation, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
Patience Paye was arrested in June 2013 after stepping out
of her house to talk with a police officer, while her alleged
attacker told another officer they frequently fought and he had
refused to give her car keys because she was drunk and did not
have a driver’s license, the court’s opinion said.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Attorneys for former U.S. House of
Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert and prosecutors agreed on
Thursday to allow a federal judge who contributed $1,500 to his
campaigns more than a decade ago to stay on the case.
The attorneys said in court filings there was no conflict of
interest in allowing U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin to
preside over the case in which Hastert is accused of trying to
hide large cash transactions and lying to the FBI about it.
By David Bailey
(Reuters) – Michigan’s governor signed legislation on
Thursday allowing private adoption agencies to refuse to place
children with same-sex couples on religious grounds, one of a
series of Republican-backed measures at the state level
targeting gay couples.
Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, signed three bills into
law a day after Michigan’s Republican-controlled Senate approved
the measures that had been advanced by the state House of
Representatives. The American Civil Liberties Union said it
plans to file a court challenge to the new laws.
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Prosecutors in Minnesota brought criminal charges on Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing it of failing to protect children from a priest who pleaded guilty in 2012 to sexual abuse.
Prosecutors found “a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior” over the course of decades at the highest level of leadership in the archdiocese, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said.
By David Bailey
(Reuters) – A father-daughter doctor team on Monday filed a
lawsuit challenging a Kansas state law due to take effect in
July that would ban a common second trimester abortion procedure
that lawmaker supporters termed “dismemberment abortions.”
The ban “will undermine their patients’ rights to be free
from unnecessary medical procedures and to make medical
decisions, in conjunction with their physicians, that are in
their best interests,” the doctors’ state court lawsuit said.
(Reuters) – Nebraska on Wednesday became the 19th U.S. state to abolish capital punishment as legislators narrowly voted to override the Republican governor’s veto of a bill repealing the death penalty.
The state’s unicameral legislature voted 30-19, the exact number of votes needed to override Governor Pete Ricketts’ veto, to replace capital punishment with a term of life without parole.
By David Bailey
(Reuters) – Nebraska lawmakers moved legislation to repeal
the state’s death penalty one step from final approval on
Friday, one day after the governor, a death penalty supporter,
said the state was acquiring more drugs to carry out lethal
Nebraska’s single-chamber Legislature voted 30-16 to move
the bill to a vote on final passage that would send it to the
governor. It would substitute life without parole for the death
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – A jury on Thursday found the
national right-to-die group Final Exit Network guilty of
assisting a Minnesota woman’s suicide in 2007 and interfering
with a death scene, prosecutors said.
Sentencing has been scheduled for August in the case
stemming from the suicide of Doreen Dunn, 57, who authorities
said died by helium asphyxiation with two Final Exit group
members present in her home. The convictions carry maximum fines