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JUDGE DISMISSES ZIMMERMAN LAWSUIT AGAINST NBC A judge in central Florida has dismissed the defamation lawsuit filed by George Zimmerman against NBC and three reporters. The judge said the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer failed to show that the network acted with malice. Zimmerman was acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of Miami teenager Trayvon Martin. In the lawsuit, he said NBCs editing of a story made it sound as if Zimmerman voluntarily told an operator that Martin was black. He was actually responding to a dispatchers question.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SWEARS IN NEW CHIEF JUSTICE Floridas high court has made history by swearing in Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, the first Cuban-American to serve as chief of the states supreme court. He became the 56th chief justice in a ceremony Monday afternoon in Tallahassee.
JUDGE RETURNS TO BENCH AFTER ALTERCATION A Florida judge accused of punching an assistant public defender during an altercation outside the courtroom has issued a public apology as he prepares to return to the bench after a leave of absence. Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy wrote an open letter to the public Sunday saying his actions may have tarnished the reputation of the entire judiciary.
NEW LAWS BECOME EFFECTIVE AT MIDNIGHT Nearly 160 new state laws will go into effect Tuesday. They include laws that will better track sexual offenders, allow children of immigrants in the country illegally to get in-state tuition at state universities, ban e-cigarette sales to minors, allow local school boards to choose which textbooks are used in their classrooms and redefine the states ban on late-term abortions. The most important law taking effect will be the states $77 billion budget, which includes more money for child welfare programs and projects to battle water pollution. It also boosted money for colleges and universities but without raising student tuition rates.
AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY WILL PURSUE FEDERAL LAWSUIT OVER MANDATE ON CONTRACEPTIVES University officials say theyre thrilled by a Supreme Court ruling Monday against a requirement to provide health care that includes contraceptives, and theyll push forward with a lawsuit against the government over the mandate. The ruling applies to for-profit companies, not the university, but Ave Maria President Jim Towey said he hopes the ruling prompts the government to create the exemption that should have been provided from day one for faith-based groups.