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A Missouri man at the heart of a state Supreme Court case that overturned what critics called modern-day debtors’ prisons is back in jail and suing the local officials who put him there.

Warrensburg resident George Richey, 65, is one of two Missouri men who sued over boarding costs for time spent in county jails, which are commonly referred to as board bills.

Richey spent 65 days in jail in 2016 for not paying past board bills. Supreme Court judges last year unanimously sided with him, writing in an opinion that while inmates are responsible for those costs, “if such responsibilities fall delinquent, the debts cannot be taxed as court costs and the failure to pay that debt cannot result in another incarceration.”

The nonprofit legal defense organization ArchCity Defenders on Tuesday sued St. Clair County and Associate Circuit County Judge Jerry Rellihan on behalf of Richey for the harm caused by his unlawful imprisonment.

Richey’s lawyers wrote in a Tuesday court filing that the time he spent in jail meant he lost “his home, all of his personal belongings, and lived in constant fear of arrest for the past four years.”

“I have the clothes on my back, but that’s it. This has caused me to lose everything,” Richey said in a statement. “I’m not the only one these counties are picking on, and I’m taking a stand because these crooked practices can’t continue.”

Associated Press requests for comment to St. Clair County officials were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Richey’s lawyers also argued that the judge retaliated against him for taking his board bill case to the Supreme Court.

Three months after the high court’s ruling, Rellihan sentenced Richey to more than two years in county jail for probation violations and misdemeanor counts of assault, trespassing and disturbing the peace.



The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that drivers must use their signal every time they turn or change lanes on a roadway.

Thursday’s ruling reverses a Court of Appeals ruling that said a signal is required only when public safety is affected. The high court ruled that the plain language of the law requires drivers “to ensure turns and lane changes are done safely and with an appropriate turn signal."

The ruling was issued in the case of David Brown, who was arrested for driving under the influence in Kennewick in March 2015. State patrol officers pulled him over after he briefly turned on his left turn signal while approaching a light in a designated left turn lane but turned it off and did not reactivate it while at the light or making the turn. He was arrested after his breath test showed .26 breath alcohol content, more than triple the legal limit.

Brown had argued that the evidence of the breath test should be suppressed because the underlying traffic stop was without cause, and a lower court agreed and dismissed the case. The only issue before the Supreme Court was whether Brown violated traffic laws. The case now goes back to the lower courts to proceed in accordance with the high court's guidance on the initial stop.





The Kansas Supreme Court will have a new member and a new chief justice next week.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly plans to have a Monday morning news conference to name a replacement for former Justice Lee Johnson, who retired in September.

And Justice Marla Luckert is set to become the state court system's top official Tuesday when current Chief Justice Lawton Nuss retires.

Kelly's appointment Monday will be her first to the seven-member court, and she'll fill a second spot by mid-March because of Nuss' retirement.

The finalists for Kelly's first appointment are Shawnee County District Judge Evelyn Wilson, state Assistant Solicitor General Steven Obermeier and Deputy Kansas Attorney General Dennis Depew.

Johnson left the court after 12 1/2 years. Nuss is stepping down after serving on the court since 2002 and as chief justice since 2010.

Luckert is Nuss' replacement as chief justice because she's the next justice on the seven-member court with the most seniority.



A federal appeals court has expanded a lawsuit by minor league baseball players alleging they are being paid less than minimum wage.

Players sued major league teams in February 2014, claiming most earn less than $7,500 annually in violation of several laws. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero granted class-action status to a California class of players in March 2017, but denied the status to Arizona and Florida classes.

In a 2-1 decision Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said class action status should be given to the Arizona and Florida classes, too, and sent the case back to U.S. District Court for additional proceedings.

Circuit Judges Richard A. Paez and Michael R. Murphy, both appointed by President Bill Clinton, voted to expand the classes in a decision written by Paez. Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, appointed by President George W. Bush, dissented and said the District Court erred in granting class-action status to the California class without completing an analysis of California’s choice-of-law rules.



The Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration to tap billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to build sections of a border wall with Mexico.

The court’s five conservative justices gave the administration the green light on Friday to begin work on four contracts it has awarded using Defense Department money. Funding for the projects had been frozen by lower courts while a lawsuit over the money proceeded. The court’s four liberal justices wouldn’t have allowed construction to start.

The justices’ decision to lift the freeze on the money allows President Donald Trump to make progress on a major 2016 campaign promise heading into his race for a second term. Trump tweeted after the announcement: “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

The Supreme Court’s action reverses the decision of a trial court, which initially froze the funds in May, and an appeals court, which kept that freeze in place earlier this month. The freeze had prevented the government from tapping approximately $2.5 billion in Defense Department money to replace existing sections of barrier in Arizona, California and New Mexico with more robust fencing.

The case the Supreme Court ruled in began after the 35-day partial government shutdown that started in December of last year. Trump ended the shutdown in February after Congress gave him approximately $1.4 billion in border wall funding. But the amount was far less than the $5.7 billion he was seeking, and Trump then declared a national emergency to take cash from other government accounts to use to construct sections of wall.

The money Trump identified includes $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion in Defense Department money and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund.


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