American Scene: Unexpected shutdown reported at nuclear plant

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Court: Slaves’ descendants can sue Cherokee chief

OKLAHOMA CITY — Descendants of slaves owned by members of the Cherokee Nation can sue the current chief in an attempt to restore their tribal memberships, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a lower court’s ruling that the case could not proceed because the tribe was not a defendant in the case and couldn’t be compelled to abide by the court’s ruling.

“Applying the precedents that permit suits against government officials in their capacities, we conclude that this suit may proceed against the principal chief in his official capacity, without the Cherokee Nation itself as a party,” the court wrote.

WEST VIRGINIA

Conviction upheld in mine explosion

MORGANTOWN — A federal appeals court Friday upheld the conviction of an ex-security chief who lied to investigators and ordered a subordinate to destroy documents after the 2010 explosion that killed 29 coal miners at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine.

Hughie Elbert Stover claimed there was no evidence he knowingly lied when he told investigators that miners were not alerted whenever inspectors arrived, but a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond disagreed.

The panel hinted at its ruling during a 20-minute oral argument in September, when it challenged Stover’s attorney, William Wilmoth. The judges pointed to witnesses at trial and suggested there was an abundance of circumstantial evidence.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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