U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Coal Exec Convicted in 29 Miner Deaths

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Charleston (W.V.) Gazette:The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s appeal of his criminal mine safety conviction, the court announced Tuesday.Justices turned down Blankenship’s petition, including it on a weekly order list of more than 200 cases in which a request for a “writ of certiorari” — the type of order in which the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case — was denied without any reason given or further comment offered.In doing so, the court allowed to stand Blankenship’s conviction for conspiracy to violate federal mine safety and health standards at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 miners died in an April 5, 2010 explosion.“We are pleased with but not surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to deny the Blankenship petition,” said U.S. Attorney Carol Casto. “Now, hopefully, the families of those lost and others impacted by the UBB explosion and long history of safety violations can find some closure and begin the long and difficult process of healing.”Two years ago this month, jurors in U.S. District Court in Charleston began hearing testimony against Blankenship in the high-profile case involving charges against a coal executive who was once one of the region’s most powerful figures in a trial that focused on the rampant safety violations at Upper Big Branch in the months leading up to West Virginia’s worst coal-mining disaster in a generation.Blankenship, 67, was convicted of conspiracy to violate safety rules and then sentenced by U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger to pay a $250,000 fine and spend one year in prison, both the maximum allowed under current federal law that classifies criminal mine safety violations as misdemeanors. Blankenship completed his one-year prison sentence in early May, and is currently serving his one year of supervised release. Berger recently modified the terms of Blankenship’s supervised release so that he could report to probation officials in Las Vegas, where he now lives.Earlier this year, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond affirmed Blankenship’s conviction.Blankenship had argued on appeal that Berger incorrectly instructed the trial jury that Blankenship’s ”reckless disregard” of federal mine safety standards amounted to the criminal willfulness needed for a conviction and that Berger was wrong to deny the defense the chance for a second cross-examination of former Massey official Chris Blanchard, a major government witness. Coal industry lobby groups from West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois had warned that Blankenship’s conviction would pave the way for coal executives to be prosecuted for making “tough decisions” necessary to “operate a successful company.”More: US Supreme Court won’t hear Don Blankenship’s appeal U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Coal Exec Convicted in 29 Miner Deathslast_img read more

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Loney’s path is not easy to tell so far

first_imgVERO BEACH, Fla. – James Loney was talking, laughing and trying to be analytical after the daytime half of Wednesday’s Grapefruit League doubleheader, so there was no doubt he was alive. But the dark, orange circles ringing his irises made him look like one of the zombies from “Night of the Living Dead.” The Dodgers first-base prospect was wearing sunglass-tinted contact lenses, one of the latest innovations in optical wear. But even on a blindingly bright afternoon when the Dodgers fell 11-1 to the world champion St. Louis Cardinals before 4,525 at Holman Stadium, those uber-cool shades didn’t help Loney see any more clearly into his immediate future. “What I need to work on is (tracking) balls hit from that angle. When we take fly balls in practice, the guy hitting them is standing in the outfield with us. So one thing I want to start doing is having somebody hit me more fly balls from home plate,” said Loney, 22, the club’s first-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft. Ultimately, though, it might not matter. Loney’s spot on the team probably depends more than anything else on something far beyond his control – and far beyond anyplace his Grapefruit League statistics alone can carry him. After all, the first thing the Dodgers must have if they are to keep Loney is a roster spot to put him in. And that probably hinges on keeping only 11 pitchers, something the club likely will do because it won’t need a fifth starter until April 10. Saito returns Closer Takashi Saito, who has been limited in running but not in throwing by a strained right calf, made his spring debut, pitching a scoreless fifth inning. Loney had just played the entire game, going 3 for 3 with a walk to raise his spring average to .421 and his on-base percentage to .500. But he also had played the first five innings in right field, his first appearance there this spring but in no way his last, and he looked utterly lost in the process. Still, the ability to play multiple positions might end up being a deciding factor in whether Loney – the man who came to spring training perched more squarely on the proverbial bubble than any other Dodgers player – makes this club. center_img Cutting remark Although he had previously said the camp roster probably wouldn’t be pared down until after the final split-squad on March 15, Dodgers manager Grady Little now says that first round of cuts might come later this week. “With 58 players, it’s going to get harder to get enough work for everyone,” Little said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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