National Roundup

Facebook photo leads to mistrial in murder case

MIAMI (AP) — A lawyer posted a photo of her client’s leopard-print underwear on her Facebook page, prompting a South Florida judge to declare a mistrial in a murder case.
The Miami Herald reports that public defender Anya Cintron Stern was fired Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, Stern snapped a photo of the underwear with her cell phone as corrections officers inspected a bag of clothing Fermin Recaide’s family had brought for him to wear to the trial. Officials say the caption suggested the family believed it was “proper attire for trial.”
But someone saw the photo and reported it to the judge, who declared a mistrial. Recaide is accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend in 2010.
The judge must now assign a new lawyer and set a new trial date.

New York
Lawsuit: NY’s Indian Point nuke plant unsecure

BUCHANAN, N.Y. (AP) — A security lieutenant at New York’s Indian Point nuclear power complex has filed a lawsuit claiming the plant is unsecure, and that staffers regularly watch DVDs, play video games and sleep on the job.
The $1.5 billion lawsuit was filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court by Clifton Travis Jr. It names as defendants the plant owner, Entergy, and three managers. Travis still works at the plant, but says he’s been marginalized over his security criticism.
The suit also claims the plant, about 50 miles north of New York City, also routinely fails anti-terrorism drills.
The company says it hadn’t yet been served with the suit.
Spokesman Jim Steets says Entergy invested more than $100 million in the last 10 years on security and the federal government has deemed it secure.

Man sentenced to 400 years for raping neighbors

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A registered sex offender has been sentenced to more than 400 years in prison for kidnapping and raping two neighbors at knifepoint in his San Diego County apartment last year.
Superior Court Judge Richard Mills called 34-year-old Jeremy Stutzman a sexual sadist during a hearing Wednesday.
A jury found Stutzman guilty in April of several felony charges including rape, sexual battery, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and carjacking.
During trial, a 20-year-old woman and her 19-year-old roommate said Stutzman threatened them with a hunting knife last Memorial Day. They said he tied, blindfolded and gagged them, forced them to commit sexual acts and to model lingerie.
Stutzman, who had a previous sexual assault conviction, claimed the sex was consensual.

New York
Revlon mogul, NY art dealer file dueling lawsuits

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire Ronald Perelman and a top New York City art dealer have traded lawsuits over several artworks including a sculpture of Popeye by Jeff Koons.
The Revlon mogul and Larry Gagosian (gah-GOH’-zee-ahn) filed the dueling lawsuits within hours of each other in Manhattan State Supreme Court.
According to the Daily News, Gagosian claimed Perelman refused to pay the agreed upon price for artworks he ordered. The lawsuit says Perelman instead insisted that the gallery accept other artworks in Perelman’s collection as payment.
Perelman’s suit says Gagosian didn’t inform him of a secret deal with Koons that would have guaranteed the art dealer substantial profits. He claimed that deal hurt his ability to resell “Popeye” at a substantial profit.

Environmenta group sues over logging project

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho environmental group is among plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to stop a logging project on the Nez Perce National Forest.
Friends of the Clearwater along with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said Wednesday they’d filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court to halt the 2,600-acre Little Slate timber sale.
The groups argue the Forest Service’s proposal would destroy habitat for species including Canada lynx, northern goshawks and bull trout.
Earlier this summer, the groups announced they would try to block the project, on grounds that the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are violating both the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
The forest has said the project would yield timber products, reduce fuels, help restore watersheds and manage roads.

Man sentenced  in negligent homicide case

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — State District Judge Kent Savoie has sentenced Devin Blake Badon after he entered a guilty plea earlier this year to negligent homicide.
The American Press reports Savoie sentenced Badon to five years in prison but suspended two of the years in the drive-by shooting death of Stephin Bergeron on April 13, 2011.
Badon, who has been in jail 518 days, was credited for time served. Badon was placed on probation for five years, ordered to speak to 30 organizations and buy a headstone for Bergeron’s grave and pay court costs.
Prosecutors said that Badon had someone buy bullets and drove David Fontenot to pick up a murder weapon, but that it was Fontenot who actually pulled the trigger.
Fontenot’s second-degree murder trial is scheduled for Nov. 13.

Lawsuit over benefits may end after 43 yrs.

CLEVELAND (AP) — A lawsuit in Ohio over benefits for railroad workers may be coming to an end after 43 years.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that a federal judge awarded $14.7 million last month to a group of Cleveland railroad workers in the dispute. The case involving the former Penn Central Railroad has gone on for so long that only two of the 32 original people who sued are alive.
Court records indicate the estates of the others are expected to receive awards from the case.
Court records also said that if Penn Central paid the workers in 1968, it would have cost the company $564,820. With the compounding interest, the amount has reached $14.7 million.
Attorneys for the former railroad company could still appeal the decision.