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Scandal, sodas, murder, fracking, cyber-bullying fill NY high court docket

New York City’s ban on sugary drinks, natural-gas drilling, a political scandal, “cyber bullying” and a brutal 1998 Suffolk County murder are part of a busy docket for the state’s top court next week.

The Court of Appeals will hear cases including:

- New York City’s attempt to reinstate a ban on large sodas and sugary drinks, defined as greater than 16 ounces. Lower courts struck down the ban, implemented by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Current Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken up his predecessor’s cause, asking the high court to consider reinstatement.

- An Albany County case that tests whether laws to combat cyber bullying are unconstitutional because they restrict free speech.

- An appeal by Mark Garrett, a Wyandanch man convicted of murdering a 14-year-old pregnant girl and dumping her body in his mother’s back yard in 1998. Garrett claims Suffolk County prosecutors illegally suppressed evidence that could have helped him at trial.

 - An attempt by two central New York towns to pre-empt state oil and gas laws by imposing local zoning ordinances to ban a natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

- An appeal by John F. Haggerty Jr., a Republican political operative who was convicted of bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 re-election campaign. Bloomberg gave $1.2 million to the Independence Party, with the understanding that the minor party would use $1.1 million for field operations. A jury convicted Haggerty of pocketing $750,000 of the money. He claims lower courts violated rules about testimony and evidence.

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