Court Roundup

Illinois: Sheriff convicted of selling drugs, witness-tampering
BENTON, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois sheriff faces possibly decades in prison now that he’s been convicted of trafficking marijuana on the job and hatching a failed scheme to have two witnesses killed.

A jury in Benton deliberated several hours Thursday before finding Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin guilty of all 15 counts he faced, including weapons charges.

Martin is accused of selling marijuana while serving as sheriff, then scheming while jailed to have witnesses killed. Nobody was hurt.

Jurors will return to the court Monday to hear evidence on whether 48-year-old Martin must forfeit property seized by the U.S. government. A sentencing hearing also will be scheduled that day.

Alabama: Circuit judge suspended after judicial hearing
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has decided that Jefferson County Circuit Judge Dan King violated judicial ethics when he set aside a rape conviction of a man whom he had represented 15 years ago.

The court also found on Thursday that King broke ethics rules when he wrote an order that accused a fellow judge of succumbing to political pressure over electronic bingo.

Judge Michael C. Thompson, chief judge of the nine-member judiciary, said King will serve a 60-day suspension without pay and will be publicly censured by the Court of the Judiciary.

King will return to the bench in late November to serve out the remainder of his term that ends in January. King and his attorney, Larry Morris, declined to comment after the decision.

Nebraska: Man judged insane when he stabbed brother in back
YORK, Neb. (AP) — A York County District Court judge agrees with prosecution and defense lawyers: A 27-year-old York man was insane when he stabbed his brother last year.

Jason Dalton was arrested on July 31, 2009, after Dalton had a fight with his brother. Dalton’s attorney, Sam Bethune, says the fight had ended and the two were conversing when Dalton pulled out a knife with a 4-inch blade and stabbed his brother in the back. The brother has since recovered.

Judge Alan Gless says in court documents that “the defendant has met his burden to prove that he suffered from a mental illness or defect at the time of offense.”

Gless ordered Dalton to be admitted to a state psychiatric hospital in Lincoln for evaluation and preparation of a treatment plan.

Rhode Island: Cumberland man gets life sentence for killing mom
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Cumberland man has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing his mother to death.

Prosecutors say 37-year-old Richard Paiva pleaded no contest on Thursday in Superior Court first-degree murder for the March 2009 slaying of 57-year-old Rita Paiva.

In addition to his life sentence, the defendant received a consecutive sentence of 15 years as a habitual offender. He must serve a minimum of 20 years before becoming eligible for parole and if eligible, would have to serve 10 more years before being paroled.

Authorities say Rita Paiva was found dead in her home stabbed 72 times and Richard Paiva was found nearby covered in blood. Police say there had been a history of violence in the home.

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