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A state appeals court has overruled a western Indiana judge and ordered him to expunge a woman's convictions despite his disgust for her crimes.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last week that Jay Circuit Judge Brian Hutchison must expunge the convictions of 35-year-old Mindy M. McCowan of Dunkirk for forgery in 2003 and for dealing methamphetamine in 2004.

The ruling said McCowan was released from prison in 2007 and completed probation in 2010. She has since maintained employment and earned an associate's degree and professional certifications.

The Star Press reports Hutchison declined to expunge the convictions last November, saying he has drug cases before him every day and he wasn't "doing favors for people who are causing these problems in Jay County."



An Illinois appeals court on Friday vacated an injunction obtained by the Chicago police union that barred the city's release of disciplinary files dating back decades.

The Fraternal Order of Police sued to block the release after a March 2014 appellate court ruling that documents dating back to 1967 should be made public. Several news outlets had requested the records.

As a result of the 2014 ruling, the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit journalism organization, obtained 11 years of records and published an interactive database of police misconduct.

Last year, Cook County Circuit Judge Peter Flynn issued an injunction based a clause in the union's bargaining contract requiring the destruction of public records after four years. The union also claimed releasing the documents would unfairly harm the officers named in the citizen complaints.

The union contends police officers are susceptible to false complaints, and reports that go unsubstantiated should not have an indefinite shelf life. The city of Chicago appealed the injunction.

In its ruling Friday, the appeals court confirmed the records must be released under Freedom of Information Act laws. The court also ruled the union contract clause requiring the destruction of disciplinary records after four years was "legally unenforceable" because it conflicted with the state's public records law.

FOP President Dean Angelo Sr. declined to comment on the ruling, saying he had not yet read it.


Moscow court sends 7 to prison for protest rally

•  International     updated  2014/02/24 15:10

A Russian court handed down prison sentences Monday of up to four years for seven people who took part in a 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin. An eighth defendant received a suspended sentence.

Hundreds of their supporters gathered outside the courthouse to condemn the trial and the Kremlin's crackdown on opposition. Police detained about 200 of them, accusing them of violating public order.

Among those detained were members of the punk band Pussy Riot who had spent nearly two years in prison as punishment for their own anti-Putin protest.

The defendants sentenced Monday were among 28 people rounded up after the May 6, 2012, protest on the eve of Putin's inauguration for a third presidential term. The rally turned violent after police restricted access to Bolotnaya Square, across the river from the Kremlin, where the protesters had permission to gather.

The eight defendants were found guilty last week, but sentencing was postponed until Monday. All have been in custody for nearly two years except for Anastasia Dukhanina, 20, who was under house arrest. She was given a suspended sentence.

Dutch Supreme Court: Fortis was mismanaged

•  International     updated  2013/12/09 14:25

The Netherlands' Supreme Court has upheld rulings that the now-defunct Belgian bank Fortis NV was mismanaged from September 2007 to September 2008, and its then-management board can be held accountable.

Friday's ruling opens the door for investor claims against former CEO Jean-Paul Votron, among others, though not former supervisory Chairman Count Maurice Lippens, whom lower courts found was too far removed from decision making to be held liable.

Fortis, Royal Bank of Scotland and Spain's Santander bought Dutch bank ABN Amro in a hostile takeover in 2007, nominally the largest in banking history.

Fortis agreed to buy ABN's Dutch operations for 24 billion euros in its part of the deal but was unable to finance the buy — which represented around half of its own total size — and eventually spiraled toward bankruptcy. The Dutch state ultimately nationalized all Fortis-ABN operations in the Netherlands in 2008 to avoid a meltdown of the country's financial system. The rescue has cost taxpayers at least 32 billion euros.

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