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November 2014 Archives

Ferguson Grand Jury Transcript: Darren Wilson's Testimony

Transcripts of the Ferguson grand jury hearings have been released to the public following the announcement that Darren Wilson would not be indicted on any criminal charges for the shooting death of Michael Brown.

This is somewhat unusual, as grand jury proceedings are typically held in secret, and when no indictment is reached, the public isn't privy to what testimony was heard. However, as CNN reports, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch agreed to release thousands of pages that were the basis of the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson for Brown's killing.

Part of that record is the grand jury testimony of Darren Wilson, contained in the document below.

Ex-Massey CEO Indicted in Mine Explosion That Killed 29

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted Thursday for allegedly conspiring to violate mine safety laws. The charges come after a grand jury investigation into the Upper Big Branch mine explosion which killed 29 miners in 2010.

Massey Energy owned the Upper Big Branch mine near Montcoal, West Virginia. According to NPR, prosecutors have accused Blakenship of lying to federal regulators about the safety of the mine and its workers. If convicted of the charges contained in Thursday's indictment, the ex-CEO could face up to 31 years in prison.

What does the 43-page indictment assert about Blankenship's involvement in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster and the 29 miners' deaths?

Alleged Cop Killer Eric Frein Charged With Terrorism, Murder

Accused cop killer Eric Frein now faces two terrorism charges on accompanying allegations that he killed a Pennsylvania state trooper as part of a "revolution."

Prosecutors added these new criminal charges Thursday, joining several other charges relating to the shooting death of one police officer and the severe wounding of another by Frein. NBC News reports that the terror allegations arose after investigators uncovered a suspicious letter on Frein's hard drive; the letter allegedly stated that "only passing through the crucible for another revolution can get us back to the liberties we once had."

How does this letter and other allegations explain the charges against Frein?

Gay Marriage Can Begin in Kan.: U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order allowing gay marriage to begin in Kansas, despite attempts to appeal the issue in federal court.

In a one-page order released Wednesday, the High Court noted the emergency stay that was granted by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday was now lifted, meaning the state can no longer continue to enforce its prohibition on same-sex marriage. The initial halt on gay marriage in Kansas came after federal Judge Daniel Crabtree last Wednesday found the state's ban to be unconstitutional.

Now, only a week after Crabtree's ruling, the Supreme Court's terse order has allowed gay marriages to begin. What else does this brief Supreme Court order tell us?

6th Circuit Upholds Gay Marriage Bans in Ky., Mich., Ohio, Tenn.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld gay marriage bans in the four states in its jurisdiction: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

In a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel decided that these bans did not violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples in those states, becoming the sole circuit court to uphold prohibitions on gay marriage. The sole dissenter, Judge Martha Daughtrey, called the majority decision "a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism" that avoided the real constitutional question.

This ruling is certainly not the end of the gay marriage issue in these states, as the issue may soon be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.