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3 hurt in court shooting leave hospital; gunman identified
Court Watch | 2018/09/21 07:18

The wife of a gunman killed after he opened fire at a Pennsylvania municipal building Wednesday said in a social media post that she was OK but did not say whether she had been injured in the shooting.

Crystal Dowdell, 39, posted on her Facebook account that she was fine late Wednesday and that police had taken her phone as evidence. Pennsylvania state police confirmed Thursday that Patrick Dowdell, 61, was the deceased gunman.

Dowdell entered the Masontown Borough building about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh after 2 p.m. Wednesday with a handgun drawn and began firing into the crowded complex’s lobby. He wounded a police officer, who was treated and released for injuries to his hand, before wounding three civilians.

Authorities would not say whether any of the victims were Dowdell’s intended target or related to the domestic violence charges he was scheduled to appear in court to face Wednesday.

The three were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia. A spokeswoman said Thursday the two men, ages 35 and 47, and a 39-year-old woman were all released Wednesday night.


Guatemala court orders UN anti-graft chief be readmitted
Court Watch | 2018/09/16 08:05

Guatemala's Constitutional Court has ordered President Jimmy Morales to allow the head of a U.N.-backed anti-corruption commission to return to the country.

Ivan Velasquez is the head of the commission known as CICIG for its initials in Spanish. It has led a number of high-profile graft investigations, including one that is pending against Morales.

Earlier this month the president announced that he would not renew CICIG's mandate for another two-year term, effectively giving it a year to wind down and end its activities.

He later said that Velasquez, who was traveling in Washington, would be barred from re-entering the Central American nation. Morales called Velasquez "a person who attacks order and public security in the country."



Court: British surveillance violates European law
Court Watch | 2018/09/11 08:07

Europe's human rights court handed a partial victory Thursday to civil rights groups that challenged the legality of mass surveillance and intelligence-sharing practices exposed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that some aspects of British surveillance regimes violated provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights that are meant to safeguard Europeans' rights to privacy.

Specifically, the court said there wasn't enough independent scrutiny of processes used by British intelligence services to sift through data and communications intercepted in bulk.

The ruling cited a "lack of oversight of the entire selection process" and "the absence of any real safeguards."

The court's seven judges also voted 6-1 that Britain's regime for getting data from communications service providers also violated the human rights convention, including its provisions on privacy and on freedom of expression.

But the ruling wasn't all bad for British spies. The court said it is "satisfied" that British intelligence services take their human rights convention obligations seriously "and are not abusing their powers."

The court also gave a green light to procedures British security services use to get intelligence from foreign spy agencies, saying the intelligence-sharing regime doesn't violate the convention's privacy provisions.


The Latest: Authorities: Officer arrested for manslaughter
Court Watch | 2018/09/10 05:07

The Texas Department of Public Safety says a white Dallas police officer has been arrested on a manslaughter warrant in the shooting of a black man at his apartment.

The department said in a news release Sunday night that Officer Amber Guyger was booked into the Kaufman County Jail and that the investigation is ongoing. It said no additional information is available at this time. The 30-year-old Guyger killed 26-year-old Botham Jean on Thursday.

Police say Guyger shot and killed Jean after returning in uniform to the South Side Flats, where they both had apartments, following her shift. She reported the shooting to dispatchers and she told officers who responded that she had mistaken Jean's apartment for her own.

The lawyer for the family of a 26-year-old man who was shot and killed by a Dallas police officer who said she mistook his apartment for hers is calling for her to be charged.

S. Lee Merritt, who is representing the family of 26-year-old Botham Jean, said Saturday that the family isn't calling on the authorities to jump to conclusions or to deny Officer Amber Guyger her right to due process.

But he says they want Guyger "to be treated like every other citizen, and where there is evidence that they've committed a crime, that there's a warrant to be issued and an arrest to be made."

Online records show that Guyger hadn't been charged as of Sunday morning.



Indiana high court to consider city rental registration fee
Court Watch | 2018/09/08 09:07

The Indiana Supreme Court is preparing to review the constitutionality of a 2015 state law targeting the city of Hammond's rental registration revenue.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that the state's high court will hear oral arguments Thursday about a law limiting housing rental registration fees to $5 per unit per year. The law exempts Bloomington and West Lafayette due to their unique rental market as college towns, but applies to Hammond, which charges rental registration fees of $80 per unit.

The state Court of Appeals struck down the law in February, concluding that lawmakers violated the constitutional ban on special laws "relating to fees or salaries" by allowing only the two college towns to charge a rental registration fee distinct from what applies across the rest of Indiana.



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