News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Governor sues over mask mandate; court openings paused

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Georgia governor sues Atlanta to block mask mandate

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has filed a lawsuit seeking to block a mask mandate by the city of Atlanta. The July 16 suit says Kemp has the power to suspend mask mandates that are contrary to his directive encouraging, but not requiring, people to wear masks. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hill, the Washington Post, the lawsuit)

Some federal courts slow reopening plans

Some federal courts, especially those in hot-spot states, are slowing plans to reopen. In recent weeks, courts have extended courthouse closures, postponed jury trials and continued to require video and teleconferenced proceedings. (U.S. courts press release)

Judge requires transparent face masks for witnesses

Judge Vedica Puri of San Francisco is requiring witnesses at an upcoming criminal trial to wear transparent face masks, which would be provided by the court. The public defender had contended witnesses should wear face shields rather than masks when testifying. Puri said the transparent masks “more than suffice to protect the right to confrontation.” Witnesses will also be shielded by a plexiglass panel. (Courthouse News Service)

Oklahoma tribes reach agreement on criminal jurisdiction

The state of Oklahoma and tribal leaders are proposing federal legislation that would recognize criminal jurisdiction as it stood before the July 9 Supreme Court decision McGirt v. Oklahoma. A lawyer with expertise in tribal matters, Mike McBride III, told the Tulsa World that the law would allow the state to continue to exercise criminal jurisdiction over offenders within historic tribal boundaries, except for crimes on Indian trust or restricted lands. McGirt held that much of Tulsa and a large part of eastern central Oklahoma is an American Indian reservation, which meant that tribal members who committed crimes on the land couldn’t be prosecuted by the state. (The Tulsa World, the agreement on legislation)

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