States brief ~ NY Court of Appeals orders anti-war protestors' records resealed

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's states brief, the New York Court of Appeals ruled [PDF text] today that the prior dismissed charges against four anti-war protesters are to be resealed and not used against the protesters in determining their sentences for later convictions. The state's highest court reversed a lower court decision that allowed the records to be unsealed by finding that the few exceptions created by the state legislature for allowing the opening of sealed records "strongly suggest" records are allowed to be unsealed for criminal investigations, but not to increase sentences. The four were convicted of disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration as a result of a 2003 demonstration. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Supreme Court of Texas heard oral arguments [audio] today on the constitutionality of the state's school funding system. The case is on appeal from a 2004 decision by District Judge John Dietz, who found the school funding system unconstitutional because it does not provide equal opportunity for education. State attorneys argued that it is the state legislature's responsibility to determine school funding policy and that the current system meets the minimal requirements of the Constitution [text], while attorneys for over 300 school districts argued that Texas does not spend enough money on schools to provide a "general diffusion of knowledge." Judge Dietz's imposed deadline of stopping school funding on October 1 if the violations are not corrected is on hold because of the appeal. The Texas House is currently debating a bill that would change the way the state finances education through taxes. View Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's press release. AP has more.

  • The West Virginia Supreme Court has struck down [decision text] the state's personnel policy barring state employees who receive temporary total disability benefits through workers' compensation from earning time toward their seniority and annual leave while on disability. The court found the practice discriminates because it allows workers on sick leave to accrue such time. In addition, the ruling upheld the government's policy of barring workers on temporary total disability from accruing sick leave time and receiving holiday pay. The policies are promulgated by the West Virginia Division of Personnel [official website]. AP has more.

  • A Michigan court of appeals has ruled [PDF text] that the Detroit Area Regional Transportation Authority [official website] was created illegally and is void. The court found that the leaders who created the authority in 2003, including Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick [official website], Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and Macomb County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nancy White, did not have the power to make the deal. DARTA was designed to be a single authority to look at public transportation in the region. The Detroit Free Press has local coverage.


 

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