National Roundup

Illinois

Deaf inmates sue for access to interpreters

CHICAGO (AP) -- A lawsuit claims Illinois violates the rights of deaf prisoners by limiting access to interpreters and other assistance behind bars.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Chicago. It claims deaf inmates without interpreters can't fully participate in training programs and religious services. Deaf inmates can't discuss care with their doctors and they have missed visitors because they can't hear announcements.

Attorney Bob Michels (MY'-kuhls) of Winston & Strawn represents 11 inmates. He says they and dozens of other deaf inmates deserve fundamental rights.

The state of Virginia settled a similar lawsuit last year, leading to videophones and more interpreters for inmates.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections says officials have no comment because they haven't seen the lawsuit.

Massachusetts

1st teen in bullying case pleads guilty

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) -- One of the six teenagers charged in connection with the bullying related suicide of a Massachusetts high school sophomore has pleaded guilty to criminal harassment and been sentenced to one year of probation.

Sean Mulveyhill, who appeared in Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court Wednesday, was also ordered to do 100 hours of community service to help at-risk children, complete his high school education and not to profit from his involvement in the Phoebe Prince case.

Prince, who had moved to South Hadley from Ireland, hanged herself in January 2010 in her family's apartment, about 100 miles west of Boston. Prosecutors say she had been relentlessly bullied at school.

Under a plea bargain, prosecutors dropped civil rights charges against 18-year-old Mulveyhill.

Four other teens have also agreed to plea deals in the case.

North Dakota

Man convicted of murdering older brother

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) -- A man accused of beating his older brother to death with a steel pipe in a dispute over land was found guilty of murder, and could face life and prison.

A jury deliberated for about 5 hours before delivering its verdict Tuesday convicting Manvel's Rodney Chisholm, 45, of murdering his 59-year-old brother, Donald Chisholm, last summer. Chisholm showed no reaction to the verdict, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

Chisholm testified for six hours in his own defense during the trial and said the killing last June 24 was self-defense. He told the jury that Donald Chisholm was addicted to prescription drugs and went into a rage the day of the confrontation.

Defense attorney Steven Light told the jury in his closing argument that he wasn't contesting the "what, the where, the how" of the killing but the "why."

"I'm sorry, but that man (Donald Chisholm) contributed to the cause of his own demise," Light said. Defense witnesses, including four Chisholm siblings and two former neighbors of Donald Chisholm, described him as a "creep," a man "crazed and obsessed" over anything concerning his property "or what he thought was his property," Light said.

Prosecutor Jason McCarthy said Chisholm told investigators he wrestled with his brother for 10 to 15 minutes, bound his wrists to his belt loops, hit his brother several times in the head, heard a death sigh, then fastened a hose clamp around his brother's neck, tightening the screw.

"This case is about more than just murder. It's about overkill," McCarthy said. "With every turn of the screwdriver, the defendant communicated and clearly displayed his intent to kill."

Chisholm could face life in prison. A sentencing date was not immediately set. He is being held without bond.

Chisholm also is to stand trial this summer on five counts of property theft. Authorities allege that more than $100,000 worth of farm equipment, vehicles and other items were found on rural sites near Manvel used by Rodney Chisholm. He was arrested on those charges in Nebraska last July after he had fled North Dakota following the killing.

California

Life in prison for gunman in gang hate killing

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- A California jury has decided the gunman in the gang hate killing of a black teenager should spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Riverside County jury rejected the death penalty and recommended Tuesday that 31-year-old Daniel Murillo Salgado be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. He will be sentenced June 17.

The same jury last month convicted Murillo of the October 2002 car-to-car shooting death of 13-year-old Markess Lancaster, who wasn't a gang member. Jurors also found the killing was a hate crime.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says Lancaster was targeted by a Hispanic gang because he was black and the killers wrongly believed he and others with him were rival gang members.

Three other defendants have either been convicted or pleaded guilty.

Georgia

Jewish group intervenes in mosque fight

ATLANTA (AP) -- A Jewish civil rights group has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a Muslim congregation that claims its expansion project was unlawfully blocked.

The Anti-Defamation League said Wednesday it was intervening in the case to support the Islamic Center of North Fulton. The congregation claims the city of Alpharetta has illegally blocked its plan to construct a new worship center.

The city has rejected the application, saying that the congregation vowed it would not expand when the center was built in 1998.

The Interfaith Coalition on Mosques filed a similar court motion in federal court. The group contends that the rights of the Islamic Center should be protected under a law designed to safeguard the religious freedom of houses of worship involved in land disputes.

Kansas

Sex offender gets sentenced reduced

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) -- A Hutchinson man who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for molesting an 11-year-old boy will instead serve less than five years.

Because of a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling, a Reno County judge on Tuesday reduced the sentence of 31-year-old Aaron MacKey, who was sentenced in January to 13 years in prison.

In January, a Reno County judge departed from state sentencing guidelines while sentencing MacKey.

The Hutchinson News reports that last month, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that if a judge does not follow the sentence recommendations, the appropriate sentence is decided by the severity level assigned to the crime.

MacKey's attorneys argued the severity level used for his sentencing was too high.

Published: Thu, May 5, 2011