National Roundup

Montana: Attorney general: Lawsuit against DirecTV settled
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — DirecTV Inc. has settled a consumer protection dispute about how it tells customers about cancellation fees and other contract terms.

The satellite television provider says it will pay $14.25 million to states to cover legal and investigation costs and fund consumer protection programs. The company will pay $185,000 to Montana plus restitution to consumers.

DirecTV agreed upon a way of clearly telling customers that they must pay a $20-per-month fee for the time remaining on a 24-month contract if they cancel it.

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said Wednesday that consumers can file a complaint with his office or DirecTV by next June to be considered for the restitution program.

Idaho: Appeals court allows academy Bible lawsuit
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit by the defunct Nampa Classical Academy against the state of Idaho can proceed.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which seeks to allow the use of the Bible in the classroom.

The appeals court ordered the case to move forward on Nov. 24.

The state had asked for the dismissal because the academy lost its status as a public charter school. The Idaho Public Charter School Commission closed the academy earlier this year, citing troubled finances.

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group of Christian lawyers, are representing the academy.

New York: NYC gun registry upheld by state’s Court of Appeals
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state’s top court has rejected a convict’s challenge to being listed in the New York City registry of gun offenders, concluding it’s an administrative matter like sex offender registration and not subject to sentencing appeals.

The unanimous Court of Appeals ruling on Thursday says the registration of Sean Smith was not actually part of his criminal sentence.

He was sentenced in 2009 to five years in prison and five years on probation after pleading guilty to gun possession in Manhattan.

Attorneys challenged the requirement that he had to register as a gun offender and report to the New York Police Department every six months for the four years after he gets out of prison.

North Dakota: Veteran charged in rampage pleads not guilty
WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — An Iraq war veteran accused of going on a suicidal rampage in North Dakota has pleaded not guilty to four charges.

Authorities say 28-year-old Brock Savelkoul led police on a high-speed chase and threatened a person in a Watford City convenience store with guns.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that Savelkoul was medically discharged from the Army last year with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury, and was recovering from a shrapnel leg wound. He left a suicide note for his family in Minot before the Sept. 21 incident.

Savelkoul earlier was ordered by the court to get treatment at Veterans Affairs facilities in Fargo and in St. Cloud, Minn. But he still faces felony charges of reckless endangerment, fleeing police and terrorizing, and a misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

North Carolina: Victims’ families sue in nursing home shootings
CARTHAGE, N.C. (AP) — The families of two of the eight people shot and killed at a North Carolina nursing home last year have sued, saying the home didn’t do enough to protect residents.

Seven residents and a nurse were killed and two others were hurt at Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage on March 29, 2009.

The lawsuit filed this week in Durham County Superior Court alleges that the suspect’s estranged wife told her supervisors that he might come for her that day, so they should have known he was likely to attack her there. It also accuses Pinelake and its owners, Peak Resources, of not providing basic protection to residents, such as locked front doors, a surveillance system, or someone working at the front desk.

A police officer shot and wounded the suspect, Robert Stewart, who faces eight counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against him if he is convicted in the trial scheduled to start July 11.

Prosecutors say Stewart went to the nursing home looking for his estranged wife. She hid from him in a closet in the Alzheimer’s ward.

The families are seeking more than $10,000, including medical and funeral expenses and damages for pain and suffering.

Their lawyer, Mark McGrath, alleges that Stewart was “fully armed and ammoed up and was able to sashay through the door. No locked check points or anything.”

He is representing the families of victims Louise DeKler, 98, and John Goldston, 78.

California: DA appears ready to retry man in double murder
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco prosecutors appear ready to retry a man whose murder conviction was overturned this week.

The District Attorney’s office on Wednesday asked a judge to set a new trial date of Jan. 28 for 40-year-old Caramad Conley.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge a day earlier ruled that Conley was wrongfully convicted in a 1989 double-murder case because the star witness against him lied on the stand.

Caramad was sentenced to two terms of life in prison without parole. He has been incarcerated since 1992.

Nebraska: Mother faces federal charge in sex-abuse case
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal charge has been filed against a Sidney woman accused of sexually abusing her son.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the 40-year-old mother faces a charge of transporting a minor for sex. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.

The woman already faces state charges of sexual assault and conspiracy. The Associated Press isn’t using her name in order to protect the privacy of the boy, who turns 10 this month.

A complaint filed in Cheyenne County District Court says the woman may have started abusing her son in January 2005 and allowed William Milligan to stay at her apartment and take part in the molestation.

Milligan is serving a life sentence for child pornography in an Indiana case. Authorities say he told investigators about the abuse.