National Roundup

State says sperm donor must pay child support

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A sperm donor in Kansas is fighting a state effort to force him to pay child support for a child conceived through artificial insemination by a lesbian couple.
William Marotta, 46, of Topeka said he is “a little scared about where this is going to go, primarily for financial reasons,” The Topeka Capital-Journal ( reported Monday.
When he donated sperm to Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner in 2009, Marotta relinquished all parental rights, including financial responsibility to the child. When Bauer and Schreiner filed for state assistance this year, the state demanded the donor’s name so it could collect child support for the now 3-year-old girl. Bauer and Schreiner broke up in 2010 but co-parent their eight children, who range in age from 3 months to 25 years.
Though his attorneys, Benoit Swinnen and Hannah Schroller, are charging him reduced rates, Marotta said he expects the legal fees to eventually be more than he can afford. He is predominantly a mechanic but said he is currently working in a different field. He and his wife, Kimberly, have no biological children but care for foster children.
“I’ve already paid more than 10 percent of my yearly salary, and I don’t know many folks who are willing to give up more than 10 percent of their yearly income,” he said.
The state contends the agreement between Marotta and the women is not valid because Kansas law requires a licensed physician to perform artificial insemination.
“Speaking generally, all individuals who apply for taxpayer-funded benefits through DCF are asked to cooperate with child support enforcement efforts,” Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said in a statement. “If a sperm donor makes his contribution through a licensed physician and a child is conceived, the donor is held harmless under state statue. In cases where the parties do not go through a physician or a clinic, there remains the question of who actually is the father of a child or children.
“DCF is required by statute to establish paternity and then pursue child support from the non-custodial parent,” she wrote.
A hearing on a motion by Marotta’s attorneys to dismiss the case is scheduled for Jan. 8 in Shawnee County District Court.
Bauer and Schreiner have said they fully support Marotta’s efforts to fight the state’s request. When Bauer was diagnosed in March with what she calls “a significant illness” that prevents her from working, Schreiner sought health insurance for their daughter from the state. The DCF told Schreiner if she didn’t provide the sperm donor’s name, it would deny any health benefits because she was withholding information.
Marotta said Monday he doesn’t resent Schreiner for giving the state his name.
“I resent the fact that Jennifer was pressured into doing that in the first place,” he said. “That was wrong — wrong by the state.”

F. Lee Bailey bid to practice law in Maine rebuffed

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — F. Lee Bailey, the attorney who represented O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst, has been denied his request to practice law in Maine.
The 79-year-old Bailey passed the Maine bar exam last winter. He was previously licensed in Massachusetts and Florida but was disbarred in those states for mishandling $6 million worth of stock for a client.
In a 5-4 decision, the Maine Board of Bar Examiners wrote that Bailey hadn’t demonstrated by “clear and convincing evidence that he possesses the requisite honesty and integrity” to practice law in Maine. The four dissenting board members recommended that he be allowed to practice in Maine.
The board’s decision, dated Nov. 30, was first reported Monday night by the Sun Journal of Lewiston.
Bailey has a home in Maine. A phone listing for him could not be found.

South Dakota
Woman’s alleged confession going before high court

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a judge’s decision to toss out an alleged confession in the killing three years ago of a Mitchell teenager.
Prosecutors say Maricela Diaz waived her right to remain silent when she was questioned about the November 2009 death of Jasmine Guevara, 16. However, Judge Tim Bjorkman ruled last August that police failed to properly inform Diaz of her rights and barred prosecutors from using any statements Diaz made to police after her Nov. 11, 2009, arrest.
Diaz was 15 years old at the time but is being tried as an adult. She is now 18.
Prosecutors earlier asked the state Supreme Court to overturn Bjorkman’s ruling, saying “the inappropriate suppression of (her) statements significantly damages the state’s case.”
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, The Daily Republic reported. Justices will issue a decision after attorneys on both sides submit briefs. All other proceedings in the case have been put on hold.
Diaz’s boyfriend, Alexander Salgado, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case in August 2010 and is serving life in prison. His plea saved him from the possibility of facing the death penalty.
Authorities allege that Diaz, who has a child with Salgado, had become jealous of a developing relationship between Salgado and Guevara. They say Diaz and Salgado lured Guevara to a rural area near Mitchell, stabbed her, put her in the trunk of a car and set it on fire. An autopsy determined that the fire killed Guevara.
Diaz faces several charges including first-degree murder. She could face life in prison if convicted. She cannot be sentenced to death because of her age at the time of the crime.
Both Salgado and Diaz are Mexican nationals who are in the U.S. illegally.

New Jersey
Trial for Trenton mayor postponed until summer

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The trial of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack on corruption charges has been pushed back until summer.
Federal court documents show a judge has signed a continuance order until June. His trial was originally scheduled to begin in February.
Mack was indicted on corruption charges in December but has vowed to remain in office. His brother and a close associate have also been indicted.
Mack has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to what prosecutors say was a scheme to accept $119,000 in bribes in exchange for using his influence over the development of a parking garage on city-owned land.
Meanwhile, the Trenton City Council will consider a measure this week that would reduce Mack’s salary from $126,460 to $65,000.
An earlier attempt to reduce Mack’s salary failed.