Dozens of inmates awarded life sentences in the 70s are awaiting the decision on their fate as the Supreme Court of North Carolina is set to decide whether or not the inmates with life sentences deserve credit for good behaviour, thereby reducing their span of imprisonment.
It is unclear when the final verdict would be delivered but the seven Supreme Court justices who are hearing the case do not seem very impressed by the arguments against credits for good behaviour to those imprisoned for life.
The Department of Correction has argued that the inmates who have been sentenced to life cannot claim the rights to the credits for good behaviour and that the secretary of the department was within his rights to decide who gets the credits.
Opposing the argument, the attorneys for the inmates argue that when their clients were sentenced, the regulations in force guaranteed the benefit of the credits and the secretary has no right to make a choice as to who gets the credits and who doesn't because there was no discretion vested in him in this regard.
"You cannot treat [the law] like the buffet line at the Golden Corral, taking what you like and leaving the rest," one of the attorneys for the inmates is reported to have argued.
Another associated issue was whether or not the life sentences awarded in the 1970s were for a period of 80 years. The State Attorney General's Office had said before the same judges in September that if the court was to decide that life imprisonment meant imprisonment for 80 years, the State would be compelled to apply the rule of credits for good behaviour, which could reduce the life term to as much as half. In October, the Supreme Court declined to interfere with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that held life sentences to mean 80-year imprisonment.
Under the advice of the attorneys at Attorney General's Office, prison officials were about to release 20 inmates, but Governor Bev Perdue blocked the release followed by the preparation of legal arguments by a team of lawyers at Attorney General's Office to bar such release.
The move was challenged and Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand ordered the release. The order is now under challenge before the Supreme Court.
US Supreme Court to decide if Ballot Petitions are Political Speech
The US Supreme Court would decide whether or not it is rightful for the people who sign petitions for ballot measures to demand that their identities be kept confidential. It is last year's much debated Referendum 71 that led to the case.
The Supreme Court has posted the matter for April 28 for hearing. The Supreme Court had decided to hear the case in January this year.
The central issue in the case is the status of ballot petitions as political speech protected by the First Amendment, for if it is subject to the protection of the Amendment, it would be open to question whether or not a portion of the State's Public Records Act violates the First Amendment rights of the signers by allowing the disclosure of their identities.
It is easy to foresee that a decision on such a crucial issue would have far-reaching legal ramifications.
5 Men sentenced for plotting Terror Attack in Australia
Five Muslim men between the age of 25 and 44 were sentenced to prison terms of 23 to 28 years by an Australian court after having been found guilty of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism. All four men had been convicted of the crime in October.
The convicted were found to have stocked a good dangerous weapons, chemicals and ammunition with the intention of waging Islamist Jihad against the Australian government.
It took almost a year for the jury trial to conclude. The trial was held under heavy security in Parramatta , a western suburb of Sydney , and the jury took a month deliberating before the final verdict was delivered.
After thorough investigation and high level surveillance that involved wiretapping and home searches and which lasted for months, the suspects were finally apprehended in 2005. During the searches the police found guides to make bombs and a good deal of radical Islamist literature that advocated martyrdom and mass killing for jihad .
The convicted were driven by "intolerant, inflexible religious conviction," Justice Anthony Whealy of the Supreme Court of the State of New South Wales is reported to have opined. The judge was also reported to have noted that the literature seized from the custody of the convicted glorified Osama Bin Laden.
Zardari ends conflict with Supreme Court over Appointments
Asif Ali Zardari, the President of Pakistan, has managed to end a standoff with the judiciary with the appointment of 34 new judges to different courts in Pakistan in due consultation with the judiciary.
The controversy erupted when the Supreme Court of Pakistan blocked Zardari's attempt to appoint two new judges on the ground that the Court was not consulted prior to the appointments. The controversy continued for a week with the lawyers divided into two groups on the issue.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had maintained that the President had violated the Constitution by not consulting the Court before making the appointments. The President had responded by denying that he acted in violation of the Constitution.
However, the appointments now made have been made after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.