National Roundup

Deputy charged with sexually assaulting female inmate

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy with a history of involvement in fatal incidents has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate in his custody.

Fairfax City Police say 45-year-old Patrick D. McPartlin of Warrenton was arrested Tuesday and charged with object sexual penetration.

Police say McPartlin was taking a female inmate from the Fairfax County jail to the Lou­doun County jail when the assault occurred in the county-owned vehicle issued to McPartlin.

Online court records do not list an attorney for McPartlin, who is being held without bond.

McPartlin has worked at the sheriff’s office for more than 20 years. In 2016, he fatally shot a hospital patient who was having a mental episode and wielding a metal sign post outside Inova Fairfax Hospital.

He was also part of a team of deputies in 2015 that used multiple shots from a stun gun to restrain another mentally ill inmate. Natasha McKenna died after receiving four Taser shots during a 15-minute struggle.

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment, referring questions to Fairfax City Police.

Former TV weatherman seeks to avoid prison for porn

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio television weatherman who pleaded guilty to child pornography-related charges shouldn’t go to prison because he never created any images or harmed any children, his defense attorney argued in a court filing.

Mike Davis, 60, pleaded guilty in late January to three counts of pandering sexually oriented material and one count of possession of sexually oriented material involving a minor. Authorities say he downloaded 16,000 images over seven years.

Attorney Terry Sherman wrote in the filing that Davis, a longtime meteorologist for WBNS-TV in Columbus, has take responsibility and is receiving counseling and therapy, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The judge in the case should sentence Davis to probation and treatment at a community-based corrections facility, Sherman wrote.

“Mr. Davis has ruined a reputation that took him a lifetime to build, and has foreclosed any future ability to obtain employment in the media or in related professional areas,” Sherman wrote. “Now, he is too ashamed to even show his face in public.”

Davis was fired after his arrest in September.

Davis’ scheduled sentencing on March 25 is in doubt because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told the newspaper his office will seek a prison sentence.

New Jersey
Sex offenders lose in attempt to remove names from registry

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Supreme Court this week rejected an attempt by two sex offenders to have their names removed from a public registry.

Two offenders identified only as H.D. and J.M. pleaded guilty to sexual offenses in the 1990s and guilty in 2001 to other offenses, one for computer-related theft and one for failure to register as a sex offender, and were sentenced to probation.

State law imposes lifetime registration requirements on offenders but allows those on the registry to apply for removal if they haven’t committed a crime within 15 years following “conviction or release from a correctional facility for any term of imprisonment imposed” and are “not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.”

H.D. and J.M. argued they are now eligible for removal since neither has had a conviction for more than 15 years, since 2001.

The state disagreed, arguing that the law bars anyone on the registry from seeking removal if they commit any crime within the first 15 years following conviction for the underlying sex offense.

But the appeals court wrote in 2018 that the relevant portion of the law is ambiguous, not regarding when the 15-year requirement starts, but “whether the clock may ever reset.”

In its 7-0 ruling posted Tuesday, the Supreme Court disagreed, writing that the statute’s language “plainly refers to the conviction or release that triggers the registration requirement.”

The court added that its ruling addressed only the language of the law and not whether “requiring the continued registration of a hypothetical registrant who is offense-free for more than fifteen years and poses no likely danger to the public would pass constitutional muster.”

Judge hands major win to Katy Perry in ‘Dark Horse’ dispute

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge in Los Angeles handed a major victory to Katy Perry on Tuesday, overturning a jury’s verdict that found the pop superstar and her collaborators copied her 2013 hit “Dark Horse” from a 2009 Christian rap song.

U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said in her decision that the disputed section of the rap song, “Joyful Noise” by rapper Marcus Gray was not distinctive enough to be protected by copyright as the jury found.

“It is undisputed in this case, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, that the signature elements of the eight-note ostinato in ‘Joyful Noise’ is not a particularly unique or rare combination,” Snyder wrote in her decision.

The plaintiffs plan to appeal.

“When the jurors returned a unanimous verdict of infringement, I cautioned my clients that we had only finished Round 11 of a 15-round match and that the next round would take place in the court of appeals,” Gray’s attorney Michael A. Kahn said in an email to the Associated Press, referencing the numerous pre-trial rulings in his client’s favor. “We believe the jury was right and will do our best to restore their verdict on appeal.”

The jury in August had awarded Gray and his co-writers $2.78 million from Perry and her songwriting partners, Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Circuit.

Perry, who testified at trial, had been personally ordered to pay $550,000.

Gray first sued Perry in 2014, the year “Dark Horse” spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

Perry and her and her co-writers all testified that they had never before heard “Joyful Noise.”

The award had fallen far short of the $20 million the plaintiffs had sought, and is not a huge amount for stars of the caliber of Perry or the hitmaking producer Dr. Luke, but her attorney Christine Lepera called the verdict a “travesty of justice” that would have a chilling effect on creativity.

The judgment comes a week after another federal court in California handed a similar victory to Led Zeppelin, ruling that a new trial was not called for in the legal fight over their 1971 classic “Stairway to Heaven,” and that a jury’s ruling in the band’s favor should stand.