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States brief ~ IL governor signs Safe Games legislation

[JURIST] Leading Monday's states brief, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today signed [press release] the Safe Games Illinois Act [text], which bans the rental and sale of violent and sexually explicit games to those younger than 18 years of age. The legislation, passed [JURIST report] in May, also requires retailers to label violent and sexually explicit games and to post signs that explain the ratings. Retailers who sell the games to children under 18 face a $1,000 fine and retailers who fail to properly label games or place rating explanation signs face a $500 dollar fine for the first three violations and a $1,000 dollar fine for each additional violation. The law is the first of its kind in the nation and becomes effective January 1st 2006. Visit the Illinois Safe Game website.

In other state legal news ...

  • A North Carolina Stokes County Superior Court [official website] judge Monday ordered a new trial based on new DNA evidence for a man convicted of rape and murder. The judge ordered a new trial based on a 2001 state law that says if DNA results are favorable to the defendant the judge may vacate the judgment, discharge or re-sentence a defendant, or grant a new trial. The judge determined that new DNA evidence revealing that only the Defendant's blood was on the knife and that the Defendant's sperm was not present on the victim's vaginal swab, was potentially exculpatory or able to raise a question of reasonable doubt. The Defendant, Rex Penland, was sentenced to execution for the 1992 crimes. AP has more.

  • The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled [text] today that the state Transportation Department illegally awarded private contracts on two state projects because the agency used a design-build method to award the contracts when it was only allowed to use the lowest bid method. The design-build method used by the Transportation Department [official website] asks for proposals that include the design and construction of the project and differs from traditional methods were the agency does the planning and designing and then picks the bidder based on lowest price. The decision also found that the plaintiff, a citizen watchdog with no direct links to the project, had standing to bring the lawsuit. AP has more.

  • A West Virginia judge has dismissed a libel lawsuit filed by former state Supreme Court [official website] Justice Warren McGraw against attorney George Carenbauer and West Virginia Media Holdings. McGraw's suit claimed ads ran on a West Virginia media channel, and funded by And for the Sake of Kids, were untrue. Carenbauer was the attorney for And for the Sake of Kids. McGraw's suit against Massey Energy Company [company website] CEO Don Blankenship, who provided most of the money to And for the Sake of Kids, was not dismissed. West Virginia's The State Journal has local coverage.

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