Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

May 2016 Archives

CT Death Penalty Ban Upheld, State Death Row Is Dead

Connecticut's death row inmates got the ultimate reprieve this week as the state Supreme Court ruled again that abolition of the death penalty applies even to those who were already sentenced to execution before the ban. The state abolished the death penalty in 2012 but there was still some question regarding the execution of inmates already on death row when the ban passed.

The 11 inmates who were to be executed will be re-sentenced to life in prison and will join the general prison population, reports the Hartford Courant. The now-total repeal of the death penalty in Connecticut was met with dismay by some victims' families and with relief by death row inmates.

Feds Issue Guidance to Schools on Treatment of Transgender Students

The Department of Education last week issued guidance to public schools on protecting the civil rights of transgender students. For schools, this is about more than just making students feel safe. Their federal funding depends on compliance with the law.

The new guidance is intended to make it clear to public school educators that transgender students cannot be discriminated against and that schools don't decide gender identity. In other words, public schools must respect the gender self-identification of students, and that applies to bathroom use too.

Donald Trump Woos Classic Conservatives With SCOTUS Wish List

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is not exactly the conciliatory type, and he seems to like getting people riled up. But today Trump tried to woo conservatives by releasing a list of Supreme Court nominees that is, reports CNN, widely pleasing to people in the Republican Party.

The list contains the names of 11 conservative judges who could ostensibly replace the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, both physically and in spirit. Trump's move is viewed as an effort to relieve conservative fears that Trump will not be a reliable Republican representative.

Federal Regulators Block Staples and Office Depot Merger

A federal judge this week granted a request from trade regulators, halting a merger between office supply giants Staples and Office Depot to prevent a monopoly. This is the second time that the Federal Trade Commission has blocked consolidation of these two companies and the office suppliers announced that they will not appeal the ruling.

The blocked merger is likely to save hundreds of jobs for Staples workers in Boca Raton, Florida, reports the Florida Sun Sentinel. But not everyone responded positively to the government intervention, and stocks for both Staples and Office Depot reportedly dropped after the announcement that they are scrapping the $6 billion merger.

Over 30 years after his first murder, and six years after his arrest, Lonnie David Franklin, Jr., dubbed the Grim Sleeper serial killer was found guilty of 10 counts of murder in the slayings of nine women and one 15-year-old girl. Franklin targeted vulnerable young black women in the Los Angeles area for decades spanning the crack cocaine epidemic and killed his last known victim in 2007.

It was a 13-year gap in the middle of that span that earned Franklin the Grim Sleeper moniker, distinguishing him from other serial killers operating in the same area at the same time.

For the second time in three months, Johnson & Johnson has lost a jury trial linking use of its talcum powder-based products to cancer. In this case, a Missouri jury has awarded a woman $55 million who contracted ovarian cancer after using the company’s products for feminine hygiene.

This follows an earlier award of $72 million to a deceased woman’s family in February, and is another of thousands of pending lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.