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Court: Stress no grounds for rescinding guilty pleas
Attorney Blogs | 2017/11/26 09:19
An appeals court in Chicago says a lower court in Indiana was right to refuse to permit a couple to rescind their guilty pleas in a tax case on grounds their prosecution caused them severe stress.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said stress was common to anyone facing prosecution and wasn't sufficient reason to take back pleas. It added that neither George nor Barbara Gasich could claim they were under some "Napoleonic delusions" when they chose to plead guilty.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports the Gasiches were indicted in 2014 for making fraudulent claims. Prosecutors said they'd asked for $475,000 in refunds when they owed the IRS far more than that.

The Gasiches were formerly from St. John, Indiana, but lived in Florida when they were arrested.



Court: Colorado county wrongly OK’d asphalt plant near homes
Attorney Blogs | 2017/11/25 05:19
A Colorado court has overturned Weld County’s approval of a $20 million concrete and asphalt plant currently under construction, saying the county had evidence the plant would violate noise standards.

The Greeley Tribune reports the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday the county commissioners improperly approved the Martin Marietta Materials plant near a residential neighborhood.

The site is also near an organic farm and a planned wedding venue along U.S. 34 between Greeley and Loveland.

Officials for Martin Marietta and Weld County said they were reviewing the decision before deciding their next steps. County commissioners approved the plant in August 2015 and neighbors filed suit a month later.

Construction began in October of 2015, and Martin Marietta regional vice president David Hagerman says the plant is nearly complete.


Spooked businesses shift headquarters out of Catalonia
Attorney Blogs | 2017/10/03 22:40
As separatists in Catalonia jockeyed Friday to elude court rulings and find ways to deliver on their promise to declare independence, business giants hit back with plans to relocate their headquarters elsewhere in Spain amid the increasing political uncertainty.

Caixabank, Spain's third lender in global assets, said Friday that it was moving from Barcelona to the eastern city of Valencia, "given the current situation in Catalonia." It said it wants to remain in the eurozone and under the supervision of the European Central Bank — two things that would not happen if Catalonia did manage to secede.

The region's separatist government has vowed to use a pro-independence victory in a disputed referendum last weekend to go ahead with secession, while calling for Spain's central government to accept a dialogue.

But the government of Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected any negotiations unless the separatists drop their secession bid. Rajoy urged Puigdemont to cancel plans for declaring independence in order to avoid "greater evils."

"In order to dialogue, you must stay within the legal framework," Spanish cabinet spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told reporters Friday, blaming the secessionists for breaking Spain's constitutional order.

"Coexistence is broken" in Catalonia, he said, warning Catalans that a parliamentary declaration of independence "is not enough" and that the international community needs to recognize independent nations.


Challenge to $225M Exxon settlement to be heard in court
Attorney Blogs | 2017/09/10 22:46
Environmental groups arguing New Jersey's $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil short-changed taxpayers are getting their day in appeals court.

The Appellate Court is set to hear arguments on Monday in Trenton.

New Jersey sued Exxon Mobil for natural resources damages at sites across the state in 2004.

A New Jersey judge approved the deal between Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration and the petroleum company in 2015.

The idea was to hold the company responsible for cleaning up polluted areas, including two oil refineries in Bayonne and Linden and other sites and retail gas stations and to compensate the public for the alleged harm to groundwater and other resources.

Environmental groups say the state settled for pennies on the dollar after earlier estimating the cost at $8.9 billion.



Military parts dealer guilty in plot to steal Army equipment
Attorney Blogs | 2017/09/04 21:51
A military equipment dealer was convicted Thursday of scheming with soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to steal sensitive material for sale to buyers in Russia, China and Mexico.

John Roberts, of Clarksville, Tennessee, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal and sell government property, two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act and 10 counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors said he faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy and up to 20 years for each count of arms export violations and wire fraud.

More than $1 million in weapons parts, body armor, helmets, gun sights and other equipment was stolen and sold in a vast black market, prosecutors said. Six soldiers and another civilian pleaded guilty. One testified that Roberts was given a tour of the base to see items to be stolen. Eventually, they brought equipment back from Afghanistan and sold it by the truckload.


Court: DirecTV owes $15M to South Carolina in tax dispute
Attorney Blogs | 2017/09/03 04:51
A court has ruled that pay-television giant DirecTV owes South Carolina nearly $15 million because of the way the company calculates its tax bill in the state.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the South Carolina Court of Appeals found that DirecTV revised its returns to the Department of Revenue in a way that understated how much money it collected from customers in the state over several years. The decision issued Thursday upholds a lower court ruling from June 2015.

Taxes on more than $2 billion in South Carolina subscriber fees are at stake.

The California-based company, which was acquired by AT&T in 2015, could pay the money or appeal to the S.C. Supreme Court. A DirecTV spokeswoman says the company is reviewing the court decision.


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