Court Roundup

South Dakota
Chief justice says news cameras in court rule works

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson says a rule allowing news cameras and electronic recording equipment in trial courts is working as intended.
Gilbertson says news organizations have received permission to use cameras or audio recording devices in about two-thirds of the requests that have been decided so far.
The Supreme Court approved rules allowing those recording devices in circuit court hearings and trials beginning July 1, 2011.
In his State of the Judiciary speech Wednesday to the South Dakota Legislature, Gilbertson said judges and attorneys have agreed to full access by cameras and recording devices in seven cases, and judges granted audio access in 21 other cases.
He says electronic access to circuit court proceedings was denied in 18 cases.

County officials won’t say prayer before meetings

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials in one central Kentucky county have stopped saying prayers at the beginning of their meetings.
The Advocate Messenger reports Boyle County Fiscal Court members voted during Tuesday’s meeting to change their long-standing practice to a moment of silence following a complaint from a citizen, who threatened to sue over the issue.
Boyle Judge-Executive Harold McKinney told magistrates that the county’s insurance carrier would not cover them if a lawsuit was filed.
Although Magistrate Jack Hendricks said he thought the law would support the continuation of prayers during meetings, county attorney Richard Campbell disagreed.
Officials said they would conduct informal prayers before or after future meetings.
Hendricks said the decision to stop prayer “is giving in to the minority of people” instead of listening to the majority who he said approve of saying prayers at public meetings.

New York
Doctor’s aide admits guilt in painkiller case

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — An aide to a New York doctor charged with overprescribing painkillers that led to the deaths of two patients has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge.
Robert Hachemeister entered the plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.
Newsday reports Hachemeister has also agreed to testify against Dr. William Conway.
Federal prosecutors say Conway prescribed oxycodone and other controlled substances to the patients who later died.
Conway has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
The 67-year-old Hachemeister admitted in court that he and Conway supplied painkillers to patients they knew were addicted to oxycodone.
Hachemeister faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.
Conway is among a number of metropolitan area physicians accused in an ongoing federal prescription painkiller probe.

Court affirms conviction in murder-for-hire

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A state appeals court says a man accused of plotting to kill his lover’s husband was properly convicted.
Portage County prosecutors accused Carlos Cummings of conspiring with his girlfriend, Carla Glodowski, of hiring Linda Dietze to kill Carla Glodowski’s husband, James.
Dietze shot James Glodowski in a Stevens Point park in 2009. The man survived but lost an eye. Cummings was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Carla Glodowski got 10 years and Dietze got seven.
Cummings contended police continued to question him after he asked to be taken to his cell, violating his right to remain silent.
The 4th District Court of Appeals concluded in an opinion  that Cummings’ statement was unclear and upheld his conviction.

Appeals court upholds sentence in fraud case

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A federal appeals court has refused to reduce the sentence of a southwestern Illinois man serving 20 years for duping relatives and military veterans in a $2.4 million investment scam.
The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the December 2011 sentence of Edward Moskop of Belleville.
Moskop pleaded guilty in August 2011 to charges of mail fraud and money laundering.
Authorities say Moskop’s scam affected some two dozen victims who included widows, those fighting cancer and a Nazi labor camp survivor.
Moskop carried out the scheme decades after he was barred from peddling securities.

Faulkner estate settles suit over newspaper ad

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The estate of William Faulkner has settled a copyright lawsuit against Northrop Grumman Corp. and The Washington Post Co. for using a Faulkner quote in a newspaper ad by the defense contractor.
U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate in Jackson dismissed the lawsuit Dec. 12. Terms of the settlement are sealed.
The Faulkner estate sued in 2012 over use of what it said was a quote from a 1956 essay Faulkner wrote in Harper’s Magazine. The Independence Day ad in the Post used the phrase: “We must be free; not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
The same quote, but with different punctuation, was the conclusion to Faulkner’s essay criticizing the South’s response to school integration.