National Roundup


State Supreme Court sets 2 execution dates for 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court has set execution dates for a man who killed a hotel clerk in northeast Ohio and a double killer whose victims included a suburban Cleveland police officer.

The court's announcement Tuesday makes it 13 executions scheduled through September 2013.

The first new date from the court, Jan. 16, 2013, is for Ronald Ray Post. He was sentenced to die for shooting the clerk at the Slumber Inn in Elyria (eh-LEER'-ee-uh) in 1983.

The second date, Sept. 25, 2013, is for Harry Mitts. He was sentenced to die for killing John Bryant and Garfield Heights Sgt. Dennis Glivar (GLEE'-vahr) in 1994.

The Ohio Parole Board meanwhile is weighing whether to grant clemency to Reginald Brooks, scheduled to die next month for killing his three sons in 1982.

North Carolina

Appeals courts considers sweepstakes machines

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina law enforcement and business owners are seeking clarity whether all video sweepstakes machines are illegal, or whether a law trying to end their existence tramples on free speech rights.

The state Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments Tuesday on two lawsuits after trial court judges gave different answers last year to the legality of the 2010 law approved by the General Assembly. Advocates for the law said the change was needed to end casino-style video games that were taking money from citizens three years after a ban on traditional video poker machines in the state took effect.

While a Wake County judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by an amusement machine company and upheld the law designed to eliminate video and Internet-based sweepstakes games, a Guilford County judge struck down a portion of the sweepstakes ban as too broad and violating the First Amendment.

A three-judge panel could spend up to two hours hearing arguments in each case, considered one after the other. The appellate judges likely won't rule for weeks, or perhaps months. It's possible one or both cases could ultimately reach the state Supreme Court.

The state Attorney General's Office is defending the state in both cases, asking the panel to uphold the law, most of which took effect last Dec. 1.

In the Guilford County case, Hest Technologies and International Internet Technologies software sued the state. They market long-distance phone and Internet services that are sold at outlets across the state. These and other sweepstakes proponents say the computer games are a marketing gimmick, not gambling, by allowing customers and others to uncover potential cash and prizes by clicking on computer screens.

Attorneys for the companies said in a court filing the appeals court should throw out the entire 2010 law because it actually criminalizes "story-driven, arcade-style video games that are wholly unrelated to gambling."

In the Wake County case, Sandhill Amusements argued the 2010 law made it illegal for the company to use video games to show the results of a sweepstakes related to sales of long-distance phone time.

As the law took effect last December, state attorneys told police and sheriff's deputies to enforce only parts of the law that were upheld by both trial judges -- and closing down casino-style games and those "not dependent on the skill or dexterity of the player." Other sweepstakes outlets or retailers continued to operate in the days following by replacing slots and Pot-o-Gold with cartoon-style games.


Names of Casey Anthony jurors released

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A court released the names of the jurors in the Casey Anthony trial for the first time Tuesday since they acquitted the Florida woman of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

The "cooling off" period a judge cited in delaying the release for three months ended Tuesday, and the names of 12 jurors and three alternates were released by the Pinellas County Clerk of Court.

After the trial ended in July, Judge Belvin Perry said he wanted time to pass before the names were made public because some of the jurors had received death threats.

Jurors were selected from Pinellas County, along Florida's Gulf Coast, because of concerns about pretrial publicity in Orlando. The jurors were sequestered until the verdict was announced.

Associated Press reporters knocked on doors Tuesday at homes where the jurors were thought to live.

The husband of alternate juror Elizabeth Jones answered the door at their home. He said she was at work. "I'll leave your card with the pile here," Mike Jones said. "But I don't think she is going to want to talk." He added that since she didn't deliberate, "she doesn't have a whole lot to say."

In most cases, the blinds or drapes were closed and no one answered. Dogs could be heard barking inside some of the homes.

At another home, a woman who answered the door said the juror doesn't live there.

Anthony was acquitted of killing Caylee and released from jail a couple of weeks after the trial ended. She is now serving probation on an unrelated check fraud charge at an undisclosed location in Florida.

She was deposed earlier in October for a civil lawsuit that accuses her of ruining another woman's reputation. Anthony told detectives in 2008 that her daughter had been kidnapped by a nanny named Zenaida Gonzalez. The child's body was later found in a wooded area not from the Anthony's home in Orlando.

Detectives have said no such baby sitter existed. But there is an Orlando woman named Zenaida Gonzalez and she sued Anthony over the name confusion.


Court orders release of file in slaying case

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that Fort Thomas was wrong when it refused to provide The Kentucky Enquirer with documents from a slaying investigation while sharing some information with a television station.

The ruling also found that Campbell Circuit Judge Fred Stine abused his discretion when he failed to award the newspaper legal fees because there was evidence that the records were willfully withheld.

The newspaper made the request in April 2009 for the Fort Thomas Police Department's file on the investigation, a month after Cheryl McCafferty was convicted of shooting her husband in bed.

Fort Thomas attorney Jeff Mando said it hasn't been decided whether the city will comply with the order and release the documents or appeal the decision.

Published: Wed, Oct 26, 2011


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