In a move that may prompt a new meaning to the phrase "monkey trial," a New York appeals court has set the date for arguments in a lawsuit where the plaintiff is a chimpanzee.
The Nonhuman Rights Project will get to argue its case on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee in New York state who supporters argue is being unlawfully held against his will.
Oral arguments in the lawsuit, which seeks to established legal rights for an animal, will be heard Wednesday, October 8 before the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department. more >>
On Wednesday morning the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined a request for an en banc hearing in a case holding that school officials could censor students who peacefully wore American flag clothing because those students were violently threatened by anti-American classmates. In other words, the court upheld a classic "heckler's veto," and in so doing empowered violent bullies and undermined decades of free-speech jurisprudence.
The facts of Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District are relatively simple: On Cinco de Mayo, anti-American students threatened a small group of their fellow students who chose to wear American flag–themed clothing. Rather than discipline the bullies, the school gave the kids who wore the flags a choice, turn their shirts inside-out, or go home. Two students chose to go home.
Under traditional constitutional principles, this is an easy case. Your free-speech rights do not depend on a listeners' subjective response, and they are certainly not conditioned on a listeners' willingness to break the law. Otherwise, free speech means nothing — bullies would be empowered to shut down speech whenever and wherever they wish. more >>
Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and deactivated from all team activities.
Dwyer was taken into custody on Wednesday, Sept. 17 and charged with one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count of aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, and one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency. He was able to pay the $25,000 cash bond early Thursday morning and ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and not have any contact with the victims, a 27-year-old female and an 18-month-old child.
The NFL star admitted to incidents that took place at his home in July. Neighbors reportedly heard a fight and called the police who arrived at the home but did not make any arrest because Dwyer hid in the bathroom and the woman involved in the incident said no one else was home. more >>
The State of Texas is set to execute a woman charged with murdering her girlfriend's son 10 years ago.
Lisa Ann Coleman was charged with capital murder for the death of nine-year-old Davontae Williams, who was found beaten bound, with more than 250 scars on his emaciated body in 2004. Coleman lived with her girlfriend, Marcella Williams, at the time and she took a plea deal in order to avoid the death penalty; she is now serving a life sentence. Coleman did not take a plea, and prosecutors brought the death penalty against her, hoping to achieve some justice for Davontae.
"Davontae died of malnutrition, a slow and cruel process," assistant Tarrant County district attorney told CBS News. "There was not an inch of his body that had not been bruised or scarred or injured. The jury assessed the appropriate punishment. Court testimony during Coleman's trial showed that she had a leading parental role and was the decision-maker on how Davontae should be treated." more >>
NFL star Adrian Peterson has been indefinitely banned from the game and attending or participating in any Vikings games; Peterson has also lost endorsements from several sponsors.
The Vikings originally allowed Peterson to participate in games and practices while his child abuse case in Texas continued. However, the team came under intense scrutiny for that decision by fans and sponsors, who threatened to pull support for the entire franchise if Peterson was allowed to continue playing. Now, though, the Vikings have changed their minds and decided to bench Peterson indefinitely while the case continues.
"While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and Adrian," Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement. "We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community." more >>
Robin Thicke admitted to being "high and drunk" for much of 2013, according to reports. The R&B singer told lawyers that he wasn't at all sober when he and Pharrell Williams first came up with "Blurred Lines" — the hit song landed Thicke in court with Marvin Gaye's estate, who claim that he ripped off Gaye's "Got to Give It Up."
Robin Thicke told the attorneys that he was high every day in a deposition made public Monday and that Williams "geniused the whole thing." In his eyes, because he was high all the time, he isn't responsible to any similarities between last year's summer hit and Gaye's iconic 1977 hit.
"I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio," Thicke said in the deposition. "I walked in and he [Pharrell Williams] started singing me some ideas he had and the song happened very quickly. I jumped right into the booth and started singing whatever he said." more >>