High court won't stop Texas voting map

The Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use congressional districts that were drawn by a lower federal court for the November election. The court declined without comment Wednesday a request from a Latino rights group to block use of those districts. The groups said the districts discriminate against minorities. The court-drawn map is intended for use only in this year's election. The League of United Latin American Citizens said the map has the same flaws identified by federal judges in Washington who last month rejected political boundaries drawn by Texas lawmakers as discriminatory. The interim congressional map was used in Texas' primaries in May and was devised to let the state hold elections while courts considered challenges to redistricting plans adopted by the Legislature following the 2010 census.

MacDonald goes to court in 'Fatal Vision' case

Jeffrey MacDonald, a clean-cut Green Beret and doctor convicted of killing of his pregnant wife and their two daughters, is getting another chance to try proving his innocence — more than four decades after the nation was gripped by his tales of Charles Manson-like hippies doped up on acid slaughtering his family. The case now hinges on something that wasn't available when he was first put on trial: DNA evidence. A federal judge planned to hold a hearing Monday to consider new DNA evidence and witness testimony that MacDonald and his supporters say will finally clear him of a crime that became the basis of Joe McGinniss' best-selling book "Fatal Vision" and a made-for-TV drama. It's the latest twist in a case that has been the subject of military and civilian courts, intense legal wrangling and shifting alliances.

Case dropped against NY lawyer in alleged attack

Charges have been dropped against a prominent New York lawyer who was accused of attacking a woman in a Connecticut restaurant. The Advocate of Stamford reports that Albert J. Pirro's lawyer said the state indicated it would not prosecute. Charges were dropped in Stamford Superior Court on Tuesday. A spokesman for the state's attorney's office did not immediately return a call Wednesday. Police say Pirro grabbed and shook a woman in a Greenwich restaurant last June. He was charged with unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct. Pirro, a Republican fundraiser, is the estranged husband of Jeanine Pirro, a former Westchester District Attorney who is now a legal analyst with Fox News. Albert Pirro spent 17 months in prison after being convicted of fraud, tax evasion and other charges in 2000.

Outgoing NC Sen. Stevens resigns, joins law firm

A state senator has resigned from the North Carolina General Assembly and is joining a Raleigh law firm to help clients on economic development, regulatory and other government policy issues. Five-term Republican Sen. Richard Stevens of Cary resigned effective last Friday, and the Smith Anderson law firm announced his hiring Monday. Stevens already had announced in February he wasn't seeking re-election this fall. He served in the budget-adjusting session that ended in early July. Stevens is a former Wake County manager who once served as the trustee board chairman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It's unclear whether Wake County Republican leaders will choose someone to serve out the remaining four months of Stevens' term, since there are no plans for the Legislature to reconvene this year.

Pa. high court revisits juvenile life sentences

Pennsylvania's highest court is weighing how to resentence prisoners who were given automatic life sentences as juveniles. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlaws mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles. There are nearly 500 juvenile lifers in Pennsylvania, half from Philadelphia. The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday morning in a pair of representative cases. The defendants are Ian Cunningham, serving life for a second-degree murder conviction in Philadelphia, and Qu'Eed Batts, convicted of first-degree murder in Northampton County. Cunningham's case concerns lifers who have exhausted direct appeals but want to invoke the Supreme Court decision in new filings. In the Batts case, lawyers will debate what term is appropriate for those sentenced to life without parole.

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