Indiana high court: Immigration status inadmissible at trial

The immigration status of a Mexican native who is suing over lost wages in a workplace injury case should not be considered at trial because it can cause unfair prejudice, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.

The state's high court reversed a lower court ruling that the immigration status of Noe Escamilla was admissible in his lawsuit against an Indianapolis construction company. Escamilla, who entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico with his parents at age 15, married a U.S. citizen and has three children who are also American citizens, his attorney has said.

"Indiana's tort trials should be about making injured parties whole — not about federal immigration policies and laws," the high court said in a 5-0 ruling written by Chief Justice Loretta Rush and issued Thursday.

Escamilla sued Shiel Sexton Co. Inc. for lost future wages after he slipped on ice in 2010 and severely injured his back while helping to lift a heavy masonry capstone at Wabash College in Crawfordsville. Court documents say a doctor found Escamilla's injury left him unable to lift more than 20 pounds, effectively ending his career as a masonry laborer.

Because Escamilla is a lawful resident of Mexico, Shiel Sexton argued that any lost wages he is able to claim should be based on the rate of pay available in Mexico, and not U.S. wages. A Montgomery County trial court ruled in Shiel Sexton's favor, finding that two witnesses who reviewed Escamilla's U.S. tax returns could not testify about his lost earnings and that his immigration status could be entered as evidence.

Court officer investigated for photographing lawyer's notes

A court security officer in Maine has been placed on leave while under investigation for sending a cellphone photo of a defense attorney's notes to a prosecutor.
 
The Kennebec Journal reports that court officials are calling the incident a serious ethical breach and violation of courtroom protocol.

Sgt. Joel Eldridge took the photo Tuesday as a judge and attorneys discussed a case involving robbery, aggravated assault and criminal mischief. Assistant District Attorney Francis Griffin told the judge he saw the photo on his phone and reported the incident to the district attorney.

Defense attorney Sherry Tash said she was told the photo showed her notes of a person's name and number. Eldridge declined comment. He's on administrative leave with pay pending an internal investigation by the Kennebec County Sheriff's Department.

Greek court rejects extradition for Turkish servicemen

Greece's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an extradition request for eight Turkish servicemen who fled their country by helicopter after a coup attempt.
 
Presiding judge Giorgos Sakkas, reading out the decision, said the servicemen were unlikely to face a fair trial if returned to Turkey.

The eight officers fought extradition in a six-month legal battle, arguing that they face mistreatment in prison if returned.

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis earlier this week had said he would respect the court decision and not make use of executive powers in the extradition case.

Lower courts issued mixed decisions on the return of the officers in a series of separate hearings.

The extradition case has further complicated ties between neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey, which remain at odds over war-divided Cyprus and boundaries in the Aegean Sea.

Hours ahead of Thursday's decision, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu said he expected the servicemen to be returned.

"Our greatest expectation is for the coup plotters to be delivered to the Turkish judicial (authorities). We shall be following the results of this case," he said. "These coup plotters should not go unpunished."

Man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend, burning body

A South Carolina man has admitted to beating his girlfriend, stuffing her body into a suitcase and then burning it in a barrel last year.
  
News outlets report 23-year-old John Coddington of Fort Mill pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder in the death of 32-year-old Tiffany Williams and was sentenced to 45 years in prison as part of a plea deal.

Coddington, who first met Williams online, admitted to beating her in their apartment in December 2015 and watching her die.

Prosecutors say days later, Coddington tried to cover up the crime by burning Williams' body in Chester County. They say he also burned her clothes and personal belongings.

Top French Court Suspends Riviera Town's Burkini Ban

France's highest administrative court struck a blow against controversial 'burkini bans' Friday, upending one town's decision to prohibit the full-body swimsuit on its beaches.

The Council of State suspended the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet, just west of Nice, saying it "seriously, and clearly illegally, breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom."

The Riviera town was one of roughly 30 municipalities to forbid beachgoers from donning the swimsuit often worn by Muslim women, reporter Jake Cigainero tells our Newscast unit.

The ruling is expected to affect those other bans, The Associated Press reports. And a lawyer representing the Human Rights League — one of the groups that challenged Villeneuve-Loubet's ban — tells the news service that the decision "is meant to set legal precedent."

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