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Court agrees to take on US-Microsoft dispute over emails
Legal Business | 2017/10/28 01:01
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to take on a major dispute over the government's authority to force American technology companies to hand over emails and other digital information sought in criminal probes but stored outside the U.S.

The justices intervened in a case of a federal drug trafficking investigation that sought emails that Microsoft keeps on a server in Ireland. The federal appeals court in New York said that the emails are beyond the reach of a search warrant issued by an American judge.

The Trump administration and 33 states told the court that the decision is impeding investigations into terrorism, drug trafficking, fraud and child pornography because other courts are relying on the ruling in preventing U.S. and state authorities from obtaining information kept abroad.

The case is among several legal clashes that Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and other technology companies have had with the government over questions of digital privacy and authorities' need for information to combat crime and extremism.

Privacy law experts say the companies have been more willing to push back against the government since the leak of classified information detailing America's surveillance programs.

The case also highlights the difficulty that judges face in trying to square decades-old laws with new technological developments. In urging the high court to stay out of the case, Microsoft said Congress needs to bring the law into the age of cloud computing.

In 2013, federal investigators obtained a warrant under a 1986 law for emails from an account they believe was being used in illegal drug transactions as well as identifying information about the user of the email account.



Court: Movie theaters must accommodate deaf-blind patrons
Legal Business | 2017/10/10 00:58
Federal disability law requires movie theaters to provide specialized interpreters to patrons who are deaf and blind, an appeals court said Friday.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Cinemark, the nation's third-largest movie chain, in a case involving a Pennsylvania man who wanted to see the 2014 movie "Gone Girl" and asked a Cinemark theater in Pittsburgh to supply a "tactile interpreter." The theater denied his request.

The plaintiff, Paul McGann, is a movie enthusiast who reads American Sign Language through touch. He uses a method of tactile interpretation that involves placing his hands over the hands of an interpreter who uses sign language to describe the movie's action, dialogue and even the audience response.

The federal appeals court concluded Friday that tactile interpreters are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that public accommodations furnish "auxiliary aids and services" to patrons with vision, hearing and speech disabilities.


Indiana high court hearing appeal in children's fire deaths
Legal Business | 2017/09/01 08:56
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in the appeal of a man sentenced to death for setting a fire that killed his fiancee's two children.

A Clark County jury convicted 41-year-old Jeffrey Weisheit on murder and arson charges in 2013 for the 2010 deaths of 5-year-old Caleb Lynch and 8-year-old Alyssa Lynch at the family's home near Evansville.

The Supreme Court is to take up his appeal on Sept. 7. Weisheit is arguing he wasn't adequately represented by his defense attorneys during his trial.

Weisheit admitted during the trial that he stuffed a dish towel into Caleb's mouth and used duct tape to pin back the boy's arms before leaving the children alone about 1 a.m. while their mother was at work, but he denied setting the fire.



Hailey attorney named to Idaho District Court bench
Legal Business | 2017/08/12 13:08
Central Idaho attorney Ned Williamson has been named the new judge in Idaho's 5th District Court.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter selected Williamson, a Hailey resident, to replace recently retired Judge Robert Elgee in Blaine County.

The Times-News newspaper reports Williamson served as a deputy prosecutor in both Canyon and Blaine counties before opening his private law practice in 2001. Williamson was one of four candidates submitted to Otter for the judgeship.

Otter said Williamson's local experience will serve him well on the bench. Williamson said he's honored by the selection and will dedicate himself to being a fair and impartial judge.


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