NATION ROUNDUP

Minnesota

Court's data

system includes false records

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota's court data system failed to register changes to thousands of cases in which low-level or first-time offenders completed probation terms and had their charges reduced or dismissed. The result could have caused problems with an offender's attempts to get a job or rent an apartment, among other things.

University of Minnesota law professor Steve Simon, who's also a public defender, says he warned several judges and court employees about the issue last summer. But, only Hennepin County had reviewed its records and made necessary changes. Judge Mark Wernick says a computer glitch is to blame in most cases. The county is sending letters Friday to about 2,500 individuals whose erroneous records were changed.

The Star Tribune says about 1.6 million cases are entered into the Minnesota Court Information system each year.

Maine

Lawmaker: Stop pensions when officials jailed

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- A Maine state lawmaker thinks public employees convicted of crimes should forfeit their state pensions.

Alna Republican Les Fossel has proposed legislation that would put Maine in line with at least 15 other states.

He says the bill addresses crimes that bring prison sentences of at least five years. Public employees found guilty of a job-related crime could lose their pension as determined by a court on a case-by-case basis.

The legislation was proposed in response to the case of Paul Violette, who's facing jail time for theft of public funds during his tenure as executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority.

Violette will still get a more than $5,000 per month pension despite his guilty plea.

Fossel's proposal would not apply retroactively to Violette.

Connecticut

Man tries to evict 98-year-old mom from her house

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- A 98-year-old Connecticut woman is fighting her son's attempt to evict her from her home.

Mary Kantorowski of Fairfield was served with eviction papers on her birthday in December. She says she can't believe what her oldest son, Peter Kantorowski, is doing. Her lawyer calls the case "despicable" and her other son Jack calls his brother a "scumbag."

A trial is set for March 2 in Bridgeport Superior Court.

Mary Kanotorowski has lived in the yellow Cape Cod-style home since 1953. Her husband, John, died in 1997.

Seventy-one-year-old Peter Kantorowski of Trumbull owns the home. He says he's concerned about his mother's well-being after seeing her disoriented and living in poor conditions. He says his mother has rejected his suggestions to live with him or in a nursing home.

Kentucky

Officials protest closure of med

examiner office

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) -- The state plans to close the medical examiner's office in Madisonville on July 1 and require 25 western Kentucky counties to transport bodies for autopsies to Louisville.

Officials in Daviess County are protesting the idea. Judge-Executive Al Mattingly Jr. told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer that the move amounts to state government pushing expenses on local government.

Mattingly says the shutdown would mean the affected counties would have to wait longer for autopsy results. Fiscal Court members on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution prepared by the Kentucky Coroner's Association opposing the closing.

The Madisonville office performed an average of 263 autopsies a year between 2005 and 2010.

Kansas

Abortion rider

insurance case reassigned again

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A lawsuit challenging a Kansas law restricting insurance coverage of abortion has been reassigned to still another federal judge.

The case has been moved to U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson in Topeka for all future proceedings in the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The order removes the case from U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia in Kansas City, Kan. He had been assigned the case after the previous judge, Wesley Brown, died last month at age 104.

The Kansas law at issue bars insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of general health plans in the state. Anyone wanting abortion coverage must buy a rider that covers only that procedure.

Oklahoma

Women must get OK to lease land for new casino

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Bureau of Indian Affairs says two property owners who are leasing land in Broken Arrow to an Oklahoma tribe that plans to build a casino must obtain a lease approved by the agency.

In a letter to Marcella Giles and Wynema Capps, BIA Acting Regional Director Karen Ketcher wrote that since a Tulsa County District Court judge declined to approve the lease with the Kialegee Tribal Town, it must be submitted to the agency for approval.

The casino is opposed by some residents who say it's too close to area schools. Attorney General Scott Pruitt is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop construction.

In a statement, Giles expressed anger that the letter had been forwarded to news outlets. She said she and Capps will respond to the letter.

Connecticut

Former mayor's secretary sues police officers

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- More allegations of wrongdoing have been lodged against East Haven police in a lawsuit accusing officers of violating the civil rights of a secretary to a former mayor during a 2009 arrest.

Town police are already embroiled in a scandal involving last month's FBI arrests of four town officers accused of alleged abuses against Latinos. The officers have pleaded not guilty.

The New Haven Register reports the new lawsuit was filed against several officers and other town officials by Erica Berg, who was secretary to former Mayor April Capone.

Berg and Capone were arrested in 2009 after Capone tried to stop an officer from having cars towed at the town beach when she was mayor. All charges were later dismissed.

Town officials say they will defend against the lawsuit.

Published: Mon, Feb 20, 2012

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