Court Round Up

Louisiana: Damages sought in death of Baton Rouge man
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The father of a 23-year-old Baton Rouge man killed in July 2009 in a helicopter crash at the Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan is seeking damages from several contractors, including the Baton Rouge firm that employed his son.

The lawsuit says John deMarsche was employed by Baton Rouge-based Arkel International and was in Afghanistan overseeing construction of water wells for the military.

DeMarsche’s father alleges in a lawsuit filed state district court in Baton Rouge that the helicopter was defective.

The named defendants are Arkel, Fluor Intercontinental, SkyLink Air & Logistic Support USA, and Vertical-T.

The Advocate reports that none of those companies could be reached for comment.

Mississippi: Man gets jail time for Hurricane Katrina fraud
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden has sent a 25-year-old man to prison for a year in a Hurricane Katrina fraud case that resulted in his parents’ convictions and his wife’s indictment.

Joshua C. Allen was sentenced Tuesday.

Once his time is served, Allen will be on probation three years for making false statements to get money from FEMA and the American Red Cross. He must repay $2,000 to FEMA and $965 to the Red Cross.

The Sun Herald reports Allen has been in custody since June when his bond was revoked because he tested positive for cocaine and traveled outside the court’s district without permission.

Allen, his parents and wife once lived in Gulfport but moved to San Antonio, Texas. Allen and his parents pleaded guilty at separate hearings in April.

Missouri: Man gets 25 years for prostituting 12-year-old girl
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former western Missouri man has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for prostituting his girlfriend’s young daughter.

Thirty-year-old Todd Barkau, formerly of Blue Springs and now of New York, admitted in September that he began having sex with the 12-year-old in 2000 after showing her pornography.

Barkau advertised the girl as a dominatrix from January 2002 to February 2005, mainly through a website claiming she was 19 or 20 years old. The girl ran away in 2005.

As part of his sentence Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Barkau was ordered to pay $200,000 for future counseling for the girl.

The girl’s mother was sentenced in May to 15 years in prison and $200,000 in restitution.

Louisiana: Court strikes down part of SLU free speech policy
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says universities cannot require a security fee for speaking on campus without any guidelines for what security is needed.

It ruled Tuesday that Southeastern Louisiana University’s free speech policy is unconstitutionally vague on that point.

Jeremy Sonnier challenged the policy after trying to evangelize individual students on Nov. 19, 2007. He was told to leave because he hadn’t applied for a permit seven days earlier.

His case is still in federal district court.

The 2-1 appellate ruling rejected his request for orders against other parts of SLU’s free speech policy, including the seven-day notice.

In dissent, Judge James L. Dennis said those are unconstitutional, at least as applied to Sonnier.

Nebraska: Landlord: Omaha housing agency filed false claims
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Omaha Housing Authority is using a stricter inspection code for low-income housing than allowed under federal standards, a landlord suing the agency said Wednesday.

John Malone Sr. said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development hasn’t approved OHA’s use of a stricter code, which the city has used to exclude his rental properties from Section 8 housing.

Malone filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against OHA in October on behalf of the federal government. It was unsealed Tuesday.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, OHA submitted false documents to the federal government and received at least $250,000 because of the misrepresentations. It also says OHA retaliated against Malone by denying low-income housing contracts for three of his properties, among other things.

Malone said Wednesday that one of his properties was failed for peeling paint on a garage, but federal Section 8 inspection standards don’t include garages and sheds.

Malone is seeking reinstatement to the low-income housing program and monetary damages.


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