Appellate court overturns high-speed rail rulings

A state appellate court on Thursday overturned two lower court rulings that had stalled funding for California's $68 billion bullet train, handing a big win to Gov. Jerry Brown's signature project and allowing the state to resume selling bonds to pay for it.

The court overturned rulings by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny last year in which he said the high-speed rail project no longer complies with the promises made to voters in 2008 when they approved selling nearly $10 billion in bonds. In siding with Kings County and Central Valley landowners, Kenny invalidated the sale of $8.6 billion in state bonds and ordered the California High-Speed Rail Authority to write a new funding plan.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs had argued that the state failed to identify all the funding for the first full segment of the rail line in the Central Valley, a cost of about $26 billion, and instead had found just $6 billion to pay for construction. They also argued the state did not have all the necessary environmental clearances as voters were promised.

Lawyer says LA police shot women without warning

A lawyer says two women delivering newspapers had no warning before they were mistakenly shot by Los Angeles police officers searching for triple murder suspect Christopher Dorner. Investigators say 47-year-old Maggie Carranza and her 71-year-old mother Emma Hernandez were in a Toyota Tundra pickup truck similar to Dorner's vehicle. They were delivering newspapers in Torrance when LAPD officers guarding a target named in Dorner's manifesto peppered the pickup with bullets, wounding the women, before dawn on Thursday. Police Chief Charlie Beck says the pickup's headlights weren't on and it was a case of mistaken identity. The women's attorney, Glen Jonas, tells KCBS-TV there were no warnings and no orders. Just gunshots. Carranza had minor hand injuries. Hernandez is hospitalized with a gunshot wound in the back.

Law firm: Phoenix lawyer dies from shooting wounds

A lawyer wounded by a gunman in a Phoenix office shooting this week has died, the second of three people hit by gunfire in the attack, the publicist for his law firm said Friday. Mark Hummels, 43, had been on life support at a Phoenix hospital after Wednesday morning's shooting that killed a company's chief executive and left a woman with non-life threatening injuries. Colleagues of Hummels described him as a smart, competent and decent man who was a rising star in his profession and dedicated to his wife, 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. The gunman — Arthur Douglas Harmon, 70 — was found dead early Thursday in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Harmon opened fire at the end of a mediation session at a north-central Phoenix office building over a lawsuit he filed last April. Steve Singer, 48, a father of two and CEO of Scottsdale-based Fusion Contact Centers LLC, died hours after the shooting. Harmon targeted Singer and Hummels and "it was not a random shooting," police said. A 32-year-old woman not involved in the mediation was caught in the gunfire near the building entrance and suffered a gunshot wound to her left hand.

Alabama terror suspects pleads not guilty

A Mobile man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of providing support to international terrorists. U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Nelson set a tentative trial date of March 3 for Randy Lamar Rasheed Wilson, 25. But everyone involved in the case, including the judge, said the trial will likely be delayed because the charges are so unusual and the evidence so vast and complicated. "This is obviously the first one of these cases I've handled and maybe the first we've had here in this district," Nelson said. Federal agents arrested Wilson earlier this month as he was boarding a plane with his young family headed to Morocco. Prosecutors allege Wilson planned to travel from Morocco to another African country and support fellow Muslims in waging terrorist activity. The same day, agents arrested Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair, a 25-year-old Egyptian native and former business partner of Wilson's. The government alleges the two men plotted with others to travel overseas and join international terrorists. The government also alleges Wilson was influenced by his friendship with fellow Mobile-area native Omar Hammami. Hammami grew up in Alabama and was raised Muslim. He later moved to Somalia and became a leading figure in the group al-Shabab. Hammami is on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.

Mont. can pursue ex-billionaire bankruptcy

Montana's bid to force ultra-luxury resort founder Tim Blixseth into bankruptcy and make him come up with up $57 million in purported back taxes has been resurrected by an appeals court ruling in the case. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a lower court Monday and said Nevada is the proper venue for the case. Blixseth, a one-time billionaire who lives in Washington state, is believed to have most of his assets in a Nevada-based trust. On Tuesday, he promised an appeal. The appellate ruling comes after a Dec. 5 order that Blixseth pay $41 million to creditors from the Yellowstone Club, the private ski resort he founded near Big Sky. Beginning in 2005, Blixseth diverted most of a $375 million loan to the club to himself and then-wife Edra Blixseth. They used the money to buy up luxury estates around the world, a pair of jets, cars, furniture, art and jewelry. When the resort started to founder, Tim Blixseth turned it over to Edra Blixseth during their 2008 divorce and took most of their remaining assets. The Yellowstone Club went bankrupt months later. It was later sold and is now under new ownership. Montana tax authorities contend the money Blixseth got out of the 2005 loan, from banking giant Credit Suisse, was taxable. They've tried for more than two years to get him to pay up. A separate proceeding to get the money is pending before the Montana Tax Appeals Board.

Subcategories

© Legal Suntimes - All Rights Reserved.

 

Professional Law firm website designs. Find the best legal web designers here and at legal websites.