National Roundup

Pennsylvania: Child rapist cites forensic nurse’s findings in appeal
SMETHPORT, Pa. (AP) — A northwestern Pennsylvania man serving 42-1/2 to 85 years in prison for raping three girls over a period of several years wants a new trial because a forensic nurse whose child sex case findings have since been challenged by other experts testified against him.

McKean County District Attorney Raymond Learn says in court papers that the victims’ testimony against 45-year-old Johnnie Lee Gale, of Mount Jewett, is uncontested. He acknowledges that nurse Rhonda Henderson’s testimony that she found physical injuries consistent with sexual assault on the girls was incorrect, but says that doesn’t mean Gale’s 2009 convictions should be overturned.

Henderson has denied wrongdoing even though a state medical advisory board found she exaggerated or fabricated child sex injuries in some cases.

Kansas: Jury suggests  85-year sentence in elderly rape
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A jury recommended that a Missouri man serve 85 years in prison for raping a 92-year-old suburban Kansas City woman.

The Johnson County District Court jury didn’t believe 21-year-old Simon Angilda’s testimony that he was too drunk and high to intend to commit the crimes. The 85-year sentence recommended by the jury was about double the maximum suggested sentence. No sentencing date was set.

On Friday, the same jury convicted Angilda, of Grandview, Mo., of 14 counts arising from a June 29 crime spree that included the sexual assault at the Leawood home of the victim.

Angilda was also convicted of battering a police officer who captured him and violating a protection order by trying to call the victim from jail weeks after the attack.

New Mexico: Papers: Mother likely to seek insanity defense
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque mother accused of suffocating her 3-year-old boy and then burying him in a park will most likely plead insanity at her trial.

Court documents recently obtained by KOB-TV show Tiffany Toribio’s attorney will seek an insanity defense.

Toribio has been locked up for nearly two years since her son Tyrus was found buried in a city park.

Last June, Toribio pleaded not guilty to an open count of murder, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with evidence, failure to report a death and concealing her identity.

Toribio’s trial is scheduled for March.

Minnesota: Dozens of lawyers look to recoup Ponzi investment
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Dozens of attorneys packed a federal courtroom in St. Paul on behalf of clients who lost money in Tom Petters’ $3.7 billion Ponzi scheme.

More than 85 lawyers were in court Tuesday. Trustee Doug Kelley says he and his legal team have filed 202 civil lawsuits seeking $1.7 billion. The hearing was set up to determine a timeline on how the lawsuits will proceed.

There are nearly 400 defendants in the ‘clawback’ lawsuits against Petters. A jury convicted the Wayzata businessman in 2009 on 20 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. A federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments Feb. 17 in the Petters case.

Louisiana: Court hears gay dads’ La. birth certificate case
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court will consider whether Louisiana must put both fathers’ names on the birth certificate of a child adopted by a gay couple.

A full panel of 16 judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was set to hear arguments Wednesday in the case of parents Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith of San Diego.

Their son was born to a Shreveport woman in late 2005. He was adopted by them in April 2006 in New York state.

Adopted children get birth certificates bearing their new parents’ names. Louisiana contends that because state law lets only married couples or single individuals adopt, only one man’s name may go the boy’s birth certificate.

A district judge and a three-judge appeal panel have already ruled that Louisiana was wrong.

Arkansas: 3 police officers plead innocent to robbery charge
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Three police officers charged with conspiring to rob an armored car have pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Little Rock officer Jason Gilbert, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officer Allen Clark and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences officer Sterling Platt entered the pleas Tuesday in federal court in Little Rock.

The officers are among five people charged with conspiracy in the September 2007 robbery of an Arkansas Armored Car Services employee outside a U.S. Bank branch in North Little Rock. Co-defendants Mark Davis of Little Rock and Antonio Person of North Little Rock also pleaded not guilty to the charge on Tuesday.

Prosecutors say about $400,000 in cash and checks was stolen in the robbery.

North Carolina: City to put GPS bracelets on repeat offenders
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Police in one of North Carolina’s largest cities could soon begin tracking the movements of repeat criminals accused of new offenses.

Greensboro’s City Council on Tuesday approved requiring repeat offenders to wear ankle bracelets after they are released on bond until they appear in court.

GPS equipment in the bracelets allows police to know if a suspect has broken a curfew or left restricted area. Police also would get instant notice if the bracelet is removed.
Minnesota: Wife, doctors fight over man’s medical care
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The struggle between doctors and the wife of a man in a vegetative state moved to a Minnesota courtroom Wednesday.

At issue is the care of 85-year-old Al Barnes of Scandia. He has been in eight hospitals in the last ten months. Barnes has been diagnosed with end-stage respiratory distress, renal failure, dementia and other conditions.

He’s breathing through a ventilator and is being fed by a tube. His wife, Lana Barnes, says her husband has treatable infections and has a fluid buildup in his brain that’s often misdiagnosed.

Doctor’s at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park argue Barnes’ wife is making futile and reckless decisions to prolong her husband’s life.