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The fate of Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls is in limbo. The 56 year old is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
On Friday, a federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled 7-3 against death row inmates arguing that the state's use of an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy to make the lethal injection drug pentobarbital without disclosing the name of the pharmacy was unconstitutional.
Then on Monday, a federal judge in Kansas City denied Smulls request for a 60 day stay of execution so he can continue to appeal Missouri's execution method. His attorneys claim denying the stay violates his "due process" rights and they've appealed again.
Smulls has also asked Governor Jay Nixon for clemancy. A spokesman says the governor hasn't reached a decision yet.
Smulls was convicted of killing a Chesterfield jeweler during a 1992 robbery.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court has cleared the way for companies in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa to resume domestic horse slaughter.
In an order Friday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver removed an emergency injunction that had blocked the plants from opening.
The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups appealed after a federal judge in Albuquerque rejected their lawsuit alleging the Department of Agriculture failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued permits for the slaughterhouses.
An attorney for Valley Meat Company of Roswell, New Mexico and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Missouri says by lifting the stay, the appellate court is saying it's unlikely the protection groups would win their appeal.
Still, attorney Blair Dunn says it could be months before the court makes a final ruling on the animal protection groups' appeal.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed to a state appeals court an attorney whose practice focused on workers' compensation law.
Phil Hess, of Sunset Hills, was named Thursday to the Missouri Court of Appeals' Eastern District. Hess has practiced law in St. Louis for more than 30 years and was the president of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys from 2011 to 2012.
Under Missouri's judicial selection process, a state commission selects three nominees for vacancies on appellate courts. The governor appoints one who later appears on the ballot for a retention vote.
Hess is replacing Judge Kathianne Knaup Crane, who retired in August. The other finalists were James Dowd and Michael David, who is a circuit judge in St. Louis.
Prosecutors have 15 days to decide whether to retry a man convicted in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.
A state appeals court panel Tuesday overturned Ryan Ferguson's 2005 conviction. The court ruled 3-0 that he didn't get a fair trial because prosecutors withheld evidence from Ferguson's defense team.
The case had garnered national attention because Ferguson's friend Chuck Erickson had testified that he had remembered in a dream that he and Ferguson had been involved in Heitholt's death after a night of heavy partying.
Erickson is serving a 25 year sentence as part of a plea agreement, but later recanted his testimony. So did a security guard who had testified that he saw Erickson and Ferguson at the newspaper offices the night Heitholt was robbed, beaten and strangled to death.
Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she has petitioned for her client's release on bail while prosecutors decide whether or not to retry him.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A year ago, lawyers for BP and Gulf Coast residents and businesses took turns urging a federal judge to approve their settlement for compensating victims of the company's massive 2010 oil spill.
On Monday, the one-time allies will be at odds. Several months after U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier approved the deal, BP started complaining that the judge and court-appointed claims administrator misinterpreted the settlement. BP is worried it could be forced to pay billions of dollars for bogus or inflated claims by businesses.
Plaintiffs' attorneys who brokered the deal disagree. They want the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the class-action settlement.
As of Friday, payments have been made to more than 38,000 people and businesses for an estimated $3.7 billion.
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled that immigration officials wrongly denied U.S. citizenship to a man who spent more than two decades trying to prove he was an American.
The case revealed a 1978 legal error that has resulted in an untold number of people being turned down for citizenship they were entitled to receive.
Sigifredo Saldana Iracheta was born to an unmarried American father and a Mexican mother in 1964 just south of the Texas border. He was deported at least four times. At one point, he was detained for nearly two years as he sought permission to join his family in the U.S.
For decades, the government has cited Article 314 of the Mexican Constitution, which supposedly deals with out-of-wedlock births. But the constitution has no such article.
CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago federal appeals court isn't letting Illinoisans immediately tote firearms in public under the state's fledging concealed-carry law, but says it will give the matter a speedy review.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week turned down the emergency injunction request by gun-rights advocates who wanted Illinois gun owners to be able carry concealed weapons now instead of waiting months for the permitting process to be set up.
Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association say the wait is unreasonable and unconstitutional.
The 7th Circuit will hear the case, but hasn't scheduled arguments.
The Illinois Legislature passed the last-in-the-nation concealed carry law July 9 against the governor's objections. Illinois State Police have 180 days to set up the process and another 90 days to process applications.
St. Louis City can continue to issue tickets through the red light camera system.
An appeals court ruled that the system is constitutional. This overturns a ruling issued last year. The court said red light cameras allow the city to regular traffic safety and that is a power given to the police department. The ruling acknowledged that the tickets give the city a financial benefit, but that does not detract from the increase in public safety.
The city says there has been an 80 percent reduction in citations at some intersections since the cameras were first installed.
In 2011, the Eastern District Court of Appeals had ruled that municipalities can use cameras to ticket red-light runners if the citation is against the vehicle, like a parking ticket, and not the driver. The ticket also must be treated as a civil matter, instead of being a criminal charge. That decision dealt specifically with Creve Coeur’s red-light ordinance.
On Wednesday, the court heard new arguments on Creve Coeur's rules and also ordinances in Florissant and the City of St. Louis. The latter two are similar in structure.
Last year, one circuit court struck down the St. Louis law, but another upheld the one in Florissant. The mixed rulings have drivers unclear about whether they should pay red light camera tickets.
The appeals court ruling on these cases is expected to clarify the matter.