SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court has refused to stop gay marriages in the state.
In a brief ruling Wednesday, the high court tossed out a legal challenge by supporters of Proposition 8, the ballot measure passed by voters that banned same-sex marriages in California.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June left in place a trial judge's order striking down the ballot measure as unconstitutional. On June 28, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Prop 8 supporters had asked the state Supreme Court to stop the weddings, arguing that the federal court action applied narrowly and only to the two couples who filed the federal lawsuit challenging the ban.
With little comment, a unanimous state Supreme Court allowed gay marriages to continue.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - An Illinois appeals court has thrown out 31 convictions involving a woman who drunkenly caused a 2009 wreck that killed four people, although the panel let stand a 20-year prison sentence the woman said was excessive.
On Wednesday, the Mount Vernon, Ill.-based 5th District Appellate Court threw out all but one of Melissa Weiser's 32 convictions for felony aggravated driving under the influence, ruling them redundant even though the former East Carondolet woman pleaded guilty to the charges.
The 31-year-old unsuccessfully pressed to have her 20-year prison sentence reduced in connection with the Clinton County wreck that killed her fiance and three occupants of the another vehicle on Memorial Day weekend in 2009.
Weiser admitted she had been drinking and had smoked marijuana before the accident.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Seven defendants accused in a pre-arranged funeral scam have been offered plea deals that would allow them to avoid potential life sentences.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlined the plea offers on Friday. The deal would require five to 10 years in prison in exchange for guilty pleas. The case is being handled in federal court in St. Louis.
U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan cited the high cost of trials that could last three months.
Prosecutors say now-defunct National Prearranged Services Inc. operated like a Ponzi scheme before it was shut down in 2008. Customers were allegedly bilked of up to $600 million.
One former employee, 69-year-old Sharon Nekol Province, pleaded guilty earlier this month. Sentencing is November 7th.