News Roundup

needle and gavel

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COVID-19 claim doesn’t stop execution of drug trafficker

Drug trafficker Cory Johnson was executed Thursday for his role in the slayings of seven people after the U.S. Supreme Court refused a delay request. Johnson’s lawyers had contended that he was intellectually disabled, and he was barred from execution. They also contended that he risked pain during the execution because of lung damage from COVID-19. The ABA had asked the government to delay the execution of Johnson and two other federal inmates this week because they would create a substantial risk of COVID-19 transmission at the prison carrying out the executions and in the surrounding community. Government filings spelled Johnson’s name “Cory,” but his lawyers say he spelled it “Corey.” (SCOTUSblog, the Associated Press)

Former Michigan governor among 9 charged in Flint water crisis

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder pleaded not guilty Thursday to two misdemeanor charges of willful neglect of duty for allegedly failing to protect the residents of Flint, Michigan, from increased levels of lead in their water. Snyder was among nine defendants charged with crimes stemming from the lead contamination, including two former health officials charged with involuntary manslaughter. That charge stems from the deaths of nine people who contracted Legionnaires’ disease from bacteria in contaminated water. (The Detroit Free Press, Reuters, the New York Times)

Toyota will pay $180M civil penalty for reporting failures

The Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay a $180 million civil penalty to resolve the federal government’s lawsuit alleging violations of reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act. The amount is the largest civil penalty ever paid for such a violation. (Department of Justice Jan. 14 press release, the New York Times, the New York Law Journal)