National Roundup

New Jersey
Court tosses DeLorean widow's 'Back to the Future' ­lawsuit

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A federal court in New Jersey has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the widow of automaker John DeLorean over royalties stemming from the "Back to the Future" movies.

Sally DeLorean claimed a Texas company using the DeLorean name had illegally accepted royalties from Universal for the promotional use of images of the iconic car.

A judge ruled Friday that a 2015 settlement agreement in a separate lawsuit over trademarks prohibited her from suing for the royalties.

Attorneys for the two sides didn't respond to requests for comment Monday.

The sleek, angular car with gull-wing doors known simply as "the DeLorean" was featured in the movie franchise starring Michael J. Fox about a kid who travels back in time to engineer his parents' meeting.

State eyeing ­constitutional amendment on abortion

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama voters will decide whether to add anti-abortion language into the state constitution that would have the state recognize the "rights of unborn children" - language that could restrict abortion if the Supreme Court ever gives states more power to curtail access.

The language does not limit access to abortion as long as Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a right to abortion, remains in place, but would become the state's top legal guidance if Roe is altered or overturned.

Alabama is one of three states - along with West Virginia and Oregon - voting on abortion-related measures. The votes come at a time when the addition of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has stoked both hopes and anxieties that the court will be more open to abortion restrictions.

Opponents argue the Alabama proposal would clear the way to ban all abortions in the state if Roe is reversed.

Proponents say the amendment is a statement of what Alabama voters believe, and have accused opponents of exaggerating the implications.

Eric Johnston, director of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, said even if Roe is overturned, the constitutional language does not restrict abortion by itself. He said lawmakers would have to come back and approve criminal statutes to spell out what is and isn't legal.

Alabama has a decades-old existing statute on the book that predates Roe that makes it a crime to induce, or help induce, an abortion unless necessary to preserve a mother's life or health.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, argued it could go further in restricting abortion because "the breadth of the language appears to enshrine that there could be no abortion in Alabama."

The GOP-controlled Legislature approved the measure in the 2017 legislative session to put on the ballot during this year's general election when they are also up for election. The proposal could be a turnout driver during elections for statewide, congressional and legislative offices.

Planned Parenthood has given nearly $800,000 to Alabama for Healthy Families, a group formed with other advocates of abortion rights, to fight the amendment.

Murder charge dropped after judge rules man incompetent

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) - A second-degree murder charge has been dropped against a man accused of killing his landlord after a judge found the man not competent to stand trial.

Skagit County Superior Court Judge Dave Needy's decision to drop the charge against Justin Morgan Daly came after a psychologist released a report on whether Daly was exaggerating his mental illness.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports Needy signed the order Thursday.

Daly is accused of bludgeoning his landlord with a baseball bat and cutting the man's head with a chain saw in 2012.

A psychologist-forensic evaluator said Daly refused to leave his cell for his evaluation, so testing wasn't completed.

Court documents said Needy used previous reports to rule on Daly's competency.

Daly will now be evaluated for civil commitment to a psychiatric hospital, as was done in 2016 when his case was first dismissed for competency reasons.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin in ­Chicago dies

CHICAGO (AP) - The chief judge of the Chicago-based federal court says U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin has died. He was 63.

A statement from Chief Judge Ruben Castillo says Martin died Thursday. It doesn't provide a cause of death.

Martin became a magistrate judge in the northern Illinois district in 2012. He previously worked for 28 years as an attorney for the Federal Defender Program.

Castillo described Martin as "an excellent jurist" with "a wonderful sense of humor and a refreshingly down-to-earth demeanor." He added "Martin will be remembered for his compassion "

Castillo also noted Martin was an active volunteer with Muscular Dystrophy Association of America and Association of Horizon. He received his undergraduate degree from DePaul University in 1981, earning a law degree from Chicago-Kent Law School in 1985.

Analysis: State's high court ­candidates raised nearly $900K

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A government watchdog's analysis finds candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court have raised nearly $900,000 this year.

The review of campaign contributions by Common Cause Ohio looked at the court's two November races, which include an open seat and an appointed incumbent's first high court election.

Catherine Turcer is Common Cause Ohio's executive director. She says the court should strengthen rules allowing justices to take themselves off cases that involve contributors.

The group's review found that Republican incumbent Justice Mary DeGenaro, appointed by Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) earlier this year, raised $269,223 since January, compared to $129,212 raised by her Democratic challenger, appeals court Judge Melody Stewart.

In the court's open race, GOP Judge Craig Baldwin has raised $251,803, compared to $234,462 raised by his Democratic opponent, Judge Michael Donnelly.

Published: Tue, Oct 16, 2018