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•  Continuing Education - Legal News


A court will decide the best option to clean up a former manufacturing plant where tons of mercury had been dumped into Maine's Penobscot River decades ago.

Maine's highest court ruled in 2014 that the cleanup of the former HoltraChem Manufacturing Co. plant must be paid for by Mallinckrodt US LLC, the last vestige of the long-closed plant's former owners. Mallinckrodt US LLC is a subsidiary of medical device giant Medtronic.

Engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler is drawing up a set of options for how the site could be cleaned up. A spokeswoman for the firm says the recommendations must be submitted by March of next year.

The HoltraChem site was located in Orrington, about two hours north of Portland. Environmental groups have been calling for the site to be cleaned up for many years.



Bangladesh's High Court on Sunday confirmed the death penalty for two people tied to a banned Islamist militant group for the killing of an atheist blogger critical of radical Islam.

The court also upheld jail sentences for six others after appeals were filed challenging the verdicts handed down by a trial court in 2015.

Sunday's decision involves the killing of Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death in 2013. Haider had campaigned for banning the Jamaat-e-Islami party, which opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971.

One of the defendants was Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, the leader of the Ansarullah Bangla Team, and the rest were university students inspired by his sermons.

During the trial, the students said that Rahmani incited them to kill Haider in sermons in which he said all atheist bloggers should be killed to protect Islam.

The two North South University students who received the death sentences included Faisal bin Nayeem, who the court said hacked Haider with meat cleavers in front of his house in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. Another was tried in absentia. The others received prison sentences ranging from three years to life. Rahmani was sentenced to five years.



A woman accused of holding her 4-year-old stepson in a scalding bath, covering his burns and not getting him medical care before he died was sentenced to at least 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder and other charges on Thursday.

A Warren County judge sentenced Anna Ritchie to 18 years to life in prison after she changed her plea from not guilty.

Ritchie was arrested after the March death of Austin Cooper. A detective said Ritchie told police that she put Austin's legs in extra-hot water as punishment because he didn't like baths and that she tried to hide his burns.

Her attorneys had tried unsuccessfully to have evidence from her interview with Franklin police detectives excluded from the case.

County Prosecutor David Fornshell alleged that Ritchie held Austin in extra-hot water for 20 to 25 minutes as he struggled, then put him to bed wearing pajamas and socks to cover his bleeding feet and burned skin, his arms cut where her fingernails had grasped him. His father found him dead in his crib more than 16 hours later, Fornshell said.




Presidential candidate Scott Walker won a major legal victory Thursday when Wisconsin's Supreme Court ended a secret investigation into whether the Republican's gubernatorial campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups during the 2012 recall election.
 
No one has been charged in the so-called John Doe probe, Wisconsin's version of a grand jury investigation in which information is tightly controlled, but questions about the investigation have dogged Walker for months.

Barring an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling makes Walker's campaign that much smoother as he courts voters in early primary states.

"Today's ruling confirmed no laws were broken, a ruling that was previously stated by both a state and federal judge," said Walker's spokeswoman Ashlee Strong. "It is time to move past this unwarranted investigation that has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The case centers on political activity conducted by Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative organizations during the 2012 recall, which was spurred by Democrats' anger over a Walker-authored law that effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers.

The justices cited free speech in effectively tossing out the case, ruling state election law is overbroad and vague in defining what amounts to "political purposes."

Justice Michael Gableman, part of the court's conservative majority, praised the groups for challenging the investigation.

"It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution," Gableman wrote in the majority opinion.



A state appellate court has ruled that California water officials cannot go onto private property for soil testing and other studies related to construction of two massive tunnels that would siphon water from the Sacramento River.

Nancy Vogel of the state's Department of Water Resources said Friday that officials anticipated the ruling and work won't be delayed.

The decision handed down Thursday by the state's 3rd District Court of Appeal says an intrusion on private property without permission violates the California Constitution.

If built, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan — estimated to cost billions of dollars — would send fresh water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Central and Southern California.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed against the state by more than 150 property owners in Sacramento, San Joaquin, Yolo, Solano and Contra Costa counties.

The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in a 44-page decision with the majority opinion saying the state must adhere to eminent domain laws, which give property owners the right to a jury trial to determine a fair payment for taking away their land.

Acts such as testing soil, observing or trapping animals either by driving onto property, using boats or going on foot amount to "taking" and trigger the need for eminent domain proceedings, the majority opinion said.



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