National Roundup

South Carolina

Court denies Rita Bixby's appeal in 2003 deaths

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina court has denied the appeal of a 79-year-old woman convicted as an accessory in the 2003 killings of two Abbeville County police officers in a dispute over a highway project.

The Greenville News reported that the Court of Appeals denied Rita Bixby's argument that her son's prison letters should not have been used in her prosecution. Bixby was sentenced in 2007 to life in prison.

The state Supreme Court last year upheld Steven Bixby's death sentence. He was convicted of shooting Sheriff's Sgt. Danny Wilson in 2003 when he knocked on the family's door. Constable Donnie Ouzts was killed when he went to check on Wilson.

The shootings started a 14-hour standoff.

Rita Bixby's attorney, Elizabeth Franklin-Best, says she will ask the court to reconsider.

Georgia

State Supreme Court orders judge removed, barred

ATLANTA (AP) -- The state Supreme Court has ordered that Catoosa County Magistrate Court Judge Anthony Peters be permanently removed from office.

The court issued a unanimous opinion on Tuesday saying it agrees with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission and ordered Peters removed from the bench and barred from ever holding judicial office in Georgia.

The opinion details the commission's findings, which include Peters' weekly use of marijuana during a two-month period in 2010 and a time when he pointed a gun at himself and told another judge he was not afraid to die.

Peters said during an April hearing that the violations took place during a "rough patch" in his life but that he had cleaned up his act. His attorney cited prescription drug abuse after an accident.

Vermont

Man indicted in farm prostitution case

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A 54-year-old Hyde Park man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in an alleged conspiracy to bring women from New York to Vermont dairy farms where they would engage in prostitution with farm workers.

The indictment filed Friday at U.S. District Court in Burlington claims Alejandro Enrique Young-Hernandez gave telephone numbers and addresses of farm workers to another man who would bring the women to the farms.

Federal investigators claim the prostitution operation allegedly operated during a six-month span beginning in October 2010.

The Burlington Free Press reports the sexual acts were said to have occurred while Young-Hernandez and the other man waited outside.

Court papers said the farm workers paid $60 for the sexual services.

Young-Hernandez's attorney denies the allegations.

New York

Woman accused of suffocating dog

FRANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y. (AP) -- Police have arrested a Long Island woman for allegedly suffocating a friend's dog by tying two hair ties around his snout.

Nassau County police charged 29-year-old Nicole Ottaiano of Franklin Square with aggravated cruelty to animals.

Police say the dog, an 11-year-old Staffordshire terrier, was found not breathing Monday night.

They say the woman was observed earlier placing hair ties over the snout of one of the owner' other dogs, a Shepherd mix.

Police say the owner told her to remove them and then left the room. When he returned 20 minutes later, police say, he discovered the terrier not breathing under a bed blanket.

Alabama

Jurors asked to forego pay to help state

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) -- Court officials say jurors in Alabama are being asked to forego their pay to help the state save money.

The TimesDaily reports that Lauderdale Circuit Court Clerk Missy Homan Hibbett says jurors in the Shoals area are not being pressured to give up their pay, but are being asked at the request of the state. She says few are doing so.

In Alabama, jurors receive $10 per day and 5 cents per mile for travel from their home to the courthouse. Alabama spends about $2 million to pay jurors each year.

In April, Sue Bell Cobb, who was chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court at the time, ordered circuit court clerks and judges to ask jurors to forego their pay.

Connecticut

Man charged with breaking into Conn. pound for dog

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut man faces several felony charges after being arrested inside a dog pound where his Italian greyhound had spent the weekend.

The Hartford Courant reports that Walther Scovish had the dog, Missy, taken from him on Sept. 3 after Scovish was pulled over and charged with possession of heroin.

Police told him he could get Missy back when the West Hartford pound opened for business on Tuesday.

Police say they found Scovish inside the pound just before 6 a.m. on Monday after an alarm went off. Police say Scovish told them his dog had special needs.

Scovish was charged with burglary, criminal trespass, larceny, and attempted larceny. He was being held Tuesday in lieu of $150,000 bond. Missy remains at the pound.

South Dakota

Case tests limits on where SD doctors can work

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- Sanford Health is working to appeal a judge's ruling that would restrict its ability to include "noncompete" clauses in physician contracts.

Many health systems use the agreements to prevent physicians from setting up their own operations and taking patients with them after they quit or get fired. Judge Doug Hoffman ruled in late July that noncompete agreements in Sanford's standard physician contracts violate South Dakota law because they have the potential to interfere with doctor-patient relationships.

The Argus Leader reports that the ruling was part of a wrongful termination lawsuit. Sanford wants to separate the noncompete clause portion of the ruling so the health system can appeal it to the state Supreme Court. The high court would then decide whether South Dakota clinics can restrict where departing doctors work.

Published: Wed, Sep 7, 2011

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