National Round Up

Wisconsin: Court disbars attorney, orders restitution
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has disbarred a veteran Milwaukee attorney and ordered him to pay back $1.1 million to clients.

Attorney Leonard V. Brady, who started practicing in 1953, acknowledged he could not defend himself against misconduct allegations and agreed to give up his license.

The high court granted a request by regulators to order Brady to pay restitution in the amount of $1.1 million to three clients.

That includes more than $1 million in a case in which Brady paid himself excessive fees from an estate and tapped the funds for personal use.

He was also ordered to pay $87,000 for a case in which he failed to turn over life insurance proceeds to an estate.

California: Local govts can hire lawyers in lead paint suits
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has ruled cities and counties suing companies for lead paint cleanup costs can hire private lawyers and offer them — with limitations — a financial stake in the outcome.

Monday’s unanimous decision scales back its 1985 ruling that said an arrangement for a lawyer to collect a share of damages instead of an hourly fee would create a conflict of interest.

The court says it will now allow such deals as long as suits don’t threaten to shut down a business, involve free-speech rights and is controlled by cities and counties rather than the lawyer.

Prosecutors say local governments lack the expertise and resources to take on corporations and they would likely be forced to drop cases if the court had barred such agreements.

New York: Man in fraud case gets 27 months in prison
NEW YORK (AP) — A man who fled the country for over a decade when he was charged in a scheme that brought millions of undeserved federal dollars to a Hasidic village is going to prison.

Avrum Friesel was sentenced in federal court Monday to 27 months in prison.

Friesel was charged in 1997 with defrauding the federal government.

Authorities said he and other leaders of New Square created fake schools and other entities to receive funds from programs meant for low-income residents and used some of the money for themselves. New Square is 35 miles north of New York City.

Friesel fled before his trial. He was arrested in London in 2008.

Illinois: Woman ordered to prison in burning truck attack
JERSEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A woman who admits ramming a burning pickup truck into her estranged boyfriend’s southwestern Illinois home has been ordered to spend six years in prison.

Sixty-year-old Connie Graham was sentenced Monday, a month after pleading guilty in Jersey County court to a charge of attempted murder.

As part of her plea, Graham admitted that she drove a burning pickup truck belonging to an Alton dealer into the Brighton home of her former boyfriend, Leslie Goheen, last November.

Nobody was hurt, but the home sustained more than $100,000 in damage. Police say Graham had locked herself in the cab of the truck, and a person who was staying at Goheen’s home had to pull her from the burning vehicle.

Illinois: Chicagoan who fought gun ban applies for permit
CHICAGO (AP) — The man whose lawsuit successfully challenged Chicago’s ban on handguns has applied for a permit that would allow him to keep a handgun in his home.

Seventy-six-year-old Otis McDonald’s case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before the city was forced to get rid of its 28-year-old ban on handguns.

McDonald applied Monday and says he plans to buy a .45-caliber handgun. He says he’s already completed the four hours of classroom training and an hour on a firing range needed to get the permit.

Each handgun requires a $100 permit, and McDonald says he worries that fee could deter law-abiding citizens from buying weapons.

Chicago police say they’ve accepted more than 80 handgun applications since the process began two weeks ago. The other plaintiffs in McDonald’s case also have applied.

Kentucky: Man sent to prison for trying to hire a murder
COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge in Covington has sentenced a Fort Thomas man to eight years in prison for trying to hire a murder.

A jury in April convicted 50-year-old Brian Curtis Huff of attempting to hire a hitman to kill the biological father of Huff’s stepson. Huff was also convicted of having a stolen handgun with the serial number filed off of it.

The Kentucky Enquirer reported that U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said in sentencing Huff on Monday that Huff seemed to be motivated by the belief that his autistic stepson was being abused by the boy’s biological father. Reeves noted such motivation isn’t an excuse to break the law.

Authorities said Huff offered an acquaintance $5,000 to kill the biological father, then upped it to $6,000.

Texas: San Antonio woman gets 20 years in cold case
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A San Antonio woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder in a case that had been unsolved for nearly two decades.

Carmen Hinojosa Najera, who pleaded guilty last month, was sentenced Monday. The 51-year-old’s unsolicited confession eventually led to her arrest.

Darren Holden was found shot to death in 1992 at the convenience store he managed. Najera had been fired from the store the day before.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that court documents said investigators suspected her, but didn’t have enough evidence for an arrest.

In 2008, she told police she and her son had both participated in the slaying. Her son has been arrested for the slaying, but has not yet been indicted. He’s denied involvement.

Missouri: Plea deal in death of Carthage couple
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A Springfield man has pleaded guilty in the deaths of a rural Carthage couple in a plea agreement that allows him to escape the death penalty.

In a hearing Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court, 20-year-old Matthew D. Laurin pleaded guilty in the October 2008 deaths of Robert and Ellen Sheldon. He was sentenced to two terms of life in prison without parole.

Laurin and 22-year-old Darren J. Winans, of Jasper, were charged in the Sheldons’ death nine months after the crime. Prosecutors say the two men intended to steal weapons from the Sheldons’ gun and archery shop next to their home and trade them for drugs.

The Joplin Globe reports that Winans’ court case is pending, with the death penalty still a possibility.

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