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The Brief: You have your next state budget, Texas | The Texas Tribune

The Brief: You have your next state budget, Texas | The Texas Tribune: Two weeks after the Texas Legislature adjourned from its 85th regular session, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s 2018-19 budget — a $217 billion document state lawmakers agreed on last month — but vetoed around $120 million in funding for various programs. Source: TTLA E-Clips The Brief: You have your next state budget, Texas | The Texas Tribune

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High court won't hear appeal from former Qwest CEO

The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from former Qwest Communications International Inc. CEO Joseph Nacchio seeking an $18 million tax refund on money he gained from illegal stock sales. The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that said the money was not tax deductible. Nacchio was convicted in 2007 of selling $52 million in stock of Denver-based Qwest based on inside information. He was ordered to forfeit $44 million and to pay a $19 million fine. He also was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison. Nacchio claimed the $44 million he forfeited was deductible as a business expense or loss and that he should get a refund. A federal judge agreed, but a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., overturned that ruling. Source: Legal News Post High court won't hear appeal from former Qwest CEO

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Court: Ignorance about allergy medicine crime no excuse

Just because a man previously convicted of methamphetamine-related crimes didn’t know it was now illegal for him to buy over-the-counter allergy medicine given his criminal history doesn’t mean his rights were violated, a divided North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday. A majority of the seven justices reversed a lower appeals court decision overturning the conviction of Austin Lynn Miller for buying one box of capsules at a Walmart in Boone in early 2014, barely a month after an expanded purchase prohibition law took effect. Miller was barred from buying anything beyond minuscule amounts of the medicine because it contained pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make meth, due to his 2012 convictions on possession of meth and keeping a car or house to sell controlled substances. A jury convicted Miller for possessing the allergy medicine. He received a suspended sentence with probation. State law already required the nonprescription medicine to be kept behind the counter and mandated electronic record keeping to monitor whether a meth lab was buying up the drugs. Often purchasers follow screen prompts saying they understand buying the medicines in large quantities or too frequently is illegal. Miller’s lawyer argued his client’s due process rights were violated because he had no knowledge the purchasing law had changed in December 2013 and that he didn’t intend to violate the law. There were no signs in pharmacies about the changes, either, the attorney said. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in March 2016 the law was unconstitutional as it applied to a convicted felon like Miller who failed to receive notice from the state that their “otherwise lawful conduct is criminalized” unless there’s other proof the person knew about the law. State attorneys argued that Miller’s ignorance of the law was no excuse and that it was his intentional action of purchasing the medicine that led to the crime. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Sam Ervin IV sided with the state and rejected Miller’s arguments that the retail purchase was an innocuous act that raised no alarms about whether he was breaking the law. Source: Legal News Post Court: Ignorance about allergy medicine crime no excuse

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The Latest: Suspect in 36 fire deaths appears in court

A man who leased the Oakland warehouse where 36 people died in a massive fire appeared briefly in court on charges of involuntary manslaughter. Derick Almena had been expected to enter a plea Thursday but his attorney asked to delay the arraignment. A judge ordered the 47-year-old Almena to return June 15 when co-defendant Max Harris is expected to make his first appearance on the same charges. Officials say the warehouse was illegally turned into living spaces and an unpermitted concert was held there on the night of the fire in December. Almena’s attorney Jeffrey Krasnoff said his client is being used as a scapegoat and plans to fight the charges. Harris doesn’t have an attorney yet. Source: Legal News Post The Latest: Suspect in 36 fire deaths appears in court

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