Court Roundup

Minnesota

Work of Ramsey County ME being reviewed

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Authorities are investigating the work of Ramsey County Medical Examiner Michael McGee, after a judge found he gave false testimony in a murder trial.

McGee's testimony helped convict Michael Hansen in the death of his baby girl back in 2004. But Douglas County Judge Peter Irvine found in July that McGee gave false testimony, and Hansen was granted a new trial.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports Tuesday that Ramsey County is now reviewing McGee's work. McGee is a private contractor and no one monitors his daily operations. McGee declined to discuss the Hansen case with MPR, but says he sees his job as a public service.

McGee has been Ramsey County's chief medical examiner for 26 years, and also serves at least 14 other counties.

Mississippi

Bias alleged in lawsuit against USM

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- The University of Southern Mississippi has denied the claims of a Hispanic woman that she was discriminated against in her pursuit of a master's degree.

The Hattiesburg American reports Maria Salcido, who lives in Wisconsin, filed the suit July 10 in Forrest County Circuit Court. It was moved to U.S. District Court on Aug. 22.

Salcido was in the marriage and family therapy master's program at USM until 2009, when she had to move back to Wisconsin, according to her complaint. She is seeking damages in an amount to be determined by a jury, as well as injunctive relief to provide her a "reasonable opportunity" to complete her master's degree.

Also named as defendants are university President Martha Saunders, Rebecca Woodrick, who is in charge of the university's equal employment and affirmative action office, and Charles West, who heads the marriage and family therapy department. Among other things, the defendants also say they are entitled to various immunities from civil lawsuits because they were performing duties within their professional capacities.

In its Aug. 23 response to the lawsuit, USM officials said Salcido failed to exhaust all the administrative remedies available to her to address her complaints.

Both Salcido and USM have said Salcido needs The only thing between Salcido and graduation is 500 externship hours.

The complaint, which represents one side of the issue, accuses USM of failing to provide Salcido with an externship based on her race, as well as assigning fewer clients to her, resulting in insufficient externship hours.

Faculty told her she needed to secure an externship with Hispanic clients, which the department could not find for her, the complaint states.

USM officials said any damages are the result of Salcido's own conduct and that she may be guilty of contributory fault or affirmative conduct that led to her damages.

Indiana

Lawyer says 11-year-old didn't know gun was loaded

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (AP) -- An 11-year-old Indiana boy charged with killing his 6-year-old brother breathlessly told a police dispatcher that the younger boy had shot himself.

The 911 tape played in court on Tuesday included the boy saying he was in the living room of their home near Martinsville when he heard a loud pop and found his wounded brother in a bedroom.

That account differs from his defense attorney's opening statement that the boy didn't realize the gun was loaded when the fatal shot was fired.

County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega says the boy pointed the gun at his brother, trying to scare him into doing cleaning work.

A Morgan County judge will determine whether the boy is guilty of juvenile charges of murder and reckless homicide for the June 30 shooting.

Published: Wed, Sep 7, 2011

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