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•  Ethics - Legal News


A University of Wisconsin-Madison student who once served prison time for setting fires at two predominantly black churches is recruiting on campus for a local chapter of a national pro-white party, enraging students searching for ways to improve race relations.

Daniel Dropik, 33, said frustration over the Black Lives Matter movement's presence on campus and university courses examining white and male privilege led him to start a local chapter of the American Freedom Party. The American Freedom Party is a political party with deep ties to white supremacism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

Dropik's recruiting comes as minorities have been pushing UW-Madison leaders to better protect them following several incidents targeting black and Jewish students last spring.

In 2005, Dropik was convicted in federal court of racially-motivated arsons at two predominantly black churches in Milwaukee and Lansing, Michigan. According to court documents, Dropik told investigators he believed a black person had stolen his backpack in a Milwaukee bus terminal and black men beat him up during




India's top court has ruled that election candidates cannot use religion or caste to seek votes, describing them as corrupt practices under electoral laws.

India has a Hindu-nationalist government, and most political parties select candidates in various districts based on caste and religious considerations.

The ruling on Monday is considered significant as it comes months before elections in Uttar Pradesh state where dominant campaign issues are caste affiliations and the building of a Hindu temple in place of a 16th century mosque demolished by Hindu hardliners.

Legislature elections are also due in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur states.

Hindus constitute nearly 80 percent of India's 1.25 billion people, while Muslims comprise 14.2 percent and the remaining 6 percent adhere to other religions, such as Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Supreme Court stays execution of Alabama inmate

•  Ethics     updated  2016/11/14 08:38


The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday night stayed the execution of an Alabama man convicted of the 1982 shooting death of a woman's husband in a murder-for-hire arrangement.

Five justices voted to stay the execution of Tommy Arthur as the high court considers whether to take up his challenge to Alabama's death penalty procedure. Arthur, 74, was scheduled to be executed Thursday by lethal injection at a south Alabama prison.

"We are greatly relieved by the Supreme Court's decision granting a stay and now hope for the opportunity to present the merits of Mr. Arthur's claims to the Court," Arthur's attorney Suhana Han said in a statement.

This is the seventh time that Arthur, who has waged a lengthy legal battle over his conviction and the constitutionality of the death penalty, has received a reprieve from an execution date, a track record that has frustrated the state attorney general's office and victims' advocacy groups.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Thursday that he did not think the case merited a stay, but voted to grant it as a courtesy to the four justices who wanted to "more fully consider the suitability of this case for review." The execution stay will expire if the court does not take up Arthur's case.

The attorney general's office had unsuccessfully urged the court to let the execution go forward and expressed disappointment at the decision.


Court rules man treated for mental illness can have a gun

•  Ethics     updated  2016/09/17 14:03


A Michigan man who can't buy a gun because he was briefly treated for mental health problems in the 1980s has won a key decision from a federal appeals court, which says the burden is on the government to justify a lifetime ban against him.

The Second Amendment case was significant enough for 16 judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to participate. Cases usually are heard only by three-judge panels.

Clifford Tyler, 74, of Hillsdale said his constitutional right to bear arms is violated by a federal law that prohibits gun ownership if someone has been admitted to a mental hospital.

In 1985, Tyler's wife ran away with another man, depleted his finances and filed for divorce. He was deeply upset, and his daughters feared he was a danger to himself.

Tyler was ordered to a hospital for at least two weeks. He subsequently recovered, continued working for another two decades and remarried in 1999.

"There is no indication of the continued risk presented by people who were involuntarily committed many years ago and who have no history of intervening mental illness, criminal activity or substance abuse," Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote in the lead opinion.

The court on Thursday sent the case back to the federal court in Grand Rapids where the government must argue the merits of a lifetime ban or the risks of Tyler having a gun.

Gibbons suggests Tyler should prevail, based on his years of good mental health.




Louisiana’s Supreme Court is considering whether recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings about juveniles convicted of murder mean a juvenile robber’s 99-year sentence is unconstitutional.

Alden Morgan is now 35. He was 17 years old when he held up a couple with their baby daughter.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that several justices noted that his punishment is much higher than the nation’s highest court would have allowed for second-degree murder.

The U.S. Supreme Court has found it unconstitutional to execute juveniles, to give them life sentences for most crimes, and — except in rare cases — to deny them a chance at parole for most killings.

Morgan’s case appears to be the first time that Louisiana’s high court has considered how those rulings may affect sentences for lesser offenses.




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