More Supreme Court actions

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In other action Tuesday, the Supreme Court:

-- Put off a decision on whether to review a court's ruling that California must release thousands of prisoners because of overcrowding. The justices noted that the most recent decision about California's plan is not before them and said a stay of the plan to eventually release 40,000 prisoners remains in effect.

-- Denied an attempt by other Great Lakes states to force Illinois to stop the flow of water from its rivers into Lake Michigan, part of an effort to prevent the spread of the invasive Asian carp. The court noted that it had ruled only on the request for a preliminary injunction. Scientists said Tuesday that they had identified Asian carp DNA in waters near Lake Michigan.

-- Sent back a ruling that overturned the death sentence of black political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Abu-Jamal has challenged what he calls a racist justice system for years; the Supreme Court has upheld his conviction. The justices ordered the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia to review its decision overturning the death sentence in light of a case the Supreme Court decided last week about how juries should consider mitigating evidence in the penalty phase.

-- Robert Barnes

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