National Roundup

Florida: Jogger won’t be charged for shooting teen
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A pistol-packing jogger in Florida won’t be charged for shooting and killing a teenager who attacked him during a midnight run.

Prosecutors said Tuesday they are convinced Thomas Baker acted in self defense when he fired eight shots at 18-year-old Carlos Mustelier near Tampa in November .

Prosecutors say Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law was a factor in their decision. The law, passed in 2005, gives people the right to use deadly force as long as they “reasonably believe” it is necessary to stop another person from hurting them.

Baker told police he reached for his gun when the teen punched him in the face. Baker has a concealed weapons permit.

The teen was hit four times in the chest, back and buttocks. He died at the scene.

California: Jury recommends $14M in Ford rollover case
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A jury has recommended that a San Diego Ford dealership pay more than $14 million to the family of a couple killed in a 2006 rollover crash.

The verdict was reached Tuesday against Mossy Ford. Three sons of Casey and Melanie Barber filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the dealership.

The couple were killed in July 2006 when their Ford E350 Sportsmobile rolled over near Page, Ariz., after a right-rear tire tread separation led to the crash.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Adam Shea told jurors the auto dealer performed a faulty tire repair on the van in August 2005 and it failed to take the tire out of service.

New York: Feds sue NYC, say city committed Medicaid fraud
NEW YORK (AP) — The federal government sued the city of New York on Tuesday for Medicaid fraud, accusing it of overcharging the program tens of millions of dollars for 24-hour services for patients who need help with shopping, grooming and other personal care.

The government in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan sought civil penalties and damages against the city, saying administrators over the last 10 years routinely reauthorized 24-hour continuous personal care services for applicants without obtaining the required local medical evaluation.

According to the lawsuit, state law requires that anyone found eligible for the program receive assessments from a doctor, a social worker, a nurse and — when 24-hour care is necessary — from a designated local medical director.

The lawsuit said city administrators sometimes overruled the local medical director when the director decided continued care was inappropriate.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the allegations “unfortunately reflect a systemic failure to responsibly administer the Medicaid program.”

Bharara added: “It goes without saying that ultimate medical decisions about patient care should be made by doctors and nurses, not government bureaucrats, and they should be based first and foremost on the best interests of the patient.”

The city Human Resources Administration, which administers the program in the city, responded to the lawsuit in a statement by noting that the city helps nearly 42,000 frail and elderly New Yorkers with their daily needs through the program and takes its responsibilities seriously.

In the lawsuit, the government said about 17,500 people have received 24-hour personal care services from the city since 2000. It said the current annual cost of the services ranges from $75,000 to $150,000 per individual.

Sometimes, the city’s conduct has caused patients to receive more services than necessary or warranted by their condition, costing taxpayers millions, the lawsuit said.

The federal government cited one instance in which a medical doctor determined that a 65-year-old woman did not need 24-hour services, only to be overruled by a city administrator who authorized the services anyway.

Oklahoma: Inmate executed for great-uncle’s 1994 murder
MCALESTER, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma death row inmate whose execution was postponed three times has been put to death for the 1994 murder of his 77-year-old great-uncle.

A state Department of Corrections spokesman says 38-year-old Jeffrey David Matthews was pronounced dead at 6:09 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Matthews was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Otis Earl Short, who was shot during a robbery at his home.

In his final statement, Matthews told his family he was “enjoying my last moments.”

Former Gov. Brad Henry twice granted stays last year to give defense attorneys time to investigate Matthews’ claims of innocence. A third stay was granted after defense attorneys objected to plans to substitute a drug in his lethal injection.

Matthews is the second Oklahoma inmate executed this year.

California: Patient convicted in thief’s death, faces 25 years
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A California man who is authorized to grow marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana law has been convicted of fatally shooting a man who was trying to steal his pot.

Phayvanh Dydouangphan of Fresno admitted firing a shotgun at a group of people he caught breaking into his backyard marijuana garden on Sept. 8, but said he acted in self-defense because they were armed.

But a jury accepted prosecutors’ contention that the shooting was unjustified and convicted the 47-year-old Dydouangphan of voluntary manslaughter Tuesday in the death of 40-year-old Stanley Wallace.

The slaying prompted Fresno County lawmakers to ban outdoor medical marijuana growing.

Dydouangphan faces a maximum prison term of 25 years to life when he is sentenced Feb. 9.

California: Court hears challenge to $65M settlement
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Former Harvard University classmates of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg want to throw out a $65 million settlement of their lawsuit that alleged the social network was their idea.

Lawyers for twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss argued their case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. They claim they were duped into agreeing to the 2008 settlement after Facebook lawyers and executives misrepresented the value of the company.

But the three-judge appeals panel appeared reluctant to reopen the case. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the judges noted that the Winklevosses were well-educated and had good legal advisers at the time, so they should have known what they were getting into.

The panel did not issue an immediate ruling.

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