Court Roundup

Indiana

Coroner arrested for DWI at death scene

NEW PALESTINE, Ind. (AP) -- A sheriff says a central Indiana county coroner has been arrested on drunken driving charges after arriving intoxicated at the scene of a death investigation.

The Hancock County sheriff says deputies saw coroner Tamara Vangundy staggering when she showed up about 12:30 a.m. Thursday in New Palestine for an apparent suicide.

Sheriff Mike Shepherd tells The Indianapolis Star and WTHR-TV that Vangundy registered 0.16 percent on a blood-alcohol test -- double Indiana's legal limit to drive. Shepherd said Vangundy was jailed would likely have a court appearance on Friday.

Shepherd says Vangundy told deputies she had driven from home to the scene in the town about 10 miles east of Indianapolis. Vangundy was first elected coroner in 2008.

Texas

Suit: Cruise operator negligent in passenger death

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- Carnival Cruise Lines is being sued for negligence by relatives of a woman who bled to death after falling on a water glass in her room last year.

The suit this week in federal court in Galveston says 39-year-old Angel Holcomb, of Hitchcock, became ill after several drinks at the ship's casino, became severely drunk and accuses Carnival of failing to ensure she didn't become impaired.

According to the suit, she went to the bathroom in her room for some water, fell and cut an artery. Her fiancé called for emergency help but the suit alleges crew members weren't trained properly. She eventually had a heart attack brought on by blood loss.

The Galveston County Daily News reported Thursday Carnival officials declined to comment on pending litigation.

Alaska

Jury acquits soldier accused of sexual abuse

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) -- A jury in Fairbanks has acquitted a 27-year-old Fort Wainwright soldier who was charged with sexually assaulting a woman February 2011 at the Frontier Lodge apartments.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the jury issued its not guilty verdict for Spc. Casey Bogenrief (BOW'-gun-reef) Wednesday afternoon after it was unable to reach a decision on the lesser charge of misdemeanor assault.

During the trial, prosecutors said Bogenrief was set to deploy in a few days when he met the victim who invited him to her apartment to have a drink and maybe sing karaoke.

The soldier was accused of demanding to have sex with the woman and slamming her head against a door and trying to rape her.

Bogenrief's attorney says that if there was sexual contact it was consensual.

Virginia

Husband of ex-Va. Mayor convicted of molestation

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- The husband of a former Falls Church mayor has been convicted of molesting two girls at a sleepover party, and a jury is recommending a 22-year prison sentence.

Michael Gardner was found guilty in Arlington County Circuit Court on Wednesday of sexual battery and object penetration. He is a former Democratic leader in Falls Church and his wife, Robin, is a former mayor and a current City Council member.

Prosecutors say Gardner molested two girls last summer during a sleepover for his daughter's 10th birthday, and presented DNA evidence during the trial that they say supports the allegations. Gardner testified in his own defense and denied the allegations.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 7. The judge is not bound by the jury's recommendation.

Pennsylvania

School district, ACLU sign off on pledge settlement

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union and a southwestern Pennsylvania school district have signed an agreement settling a lawsuit brought by a girl who claimed she was disciplined for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Herald-Standard of Uniontown reports Thursday that the Brownsville Area School District not only agrees to allow the 13-year-old student to sit during the pledge, it requires the school board to announce at its next meeting that other students have that same right under the First Amendment.

The consent decree entered before a federal judge in Pittsburgh requires the district to refrain from punishing the girl and to expunge from her record the detention and in-school suspension she received last month for sitting during the pledge.

The girl's mother can still pursue monetary damages under the settlement.

Kentucky

Business owner sues police over raids

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The owner of a western Kentucky pizza joint and a suntan parlor is suing Hopkinsville police over drug raids at his businesses.

Luther Anderson, who owns Pizz-A-Roma and Sunkissed Tanning, which share a building in Hopkinsville, claims in the lawsuit that police officers searched the building shared by the two businesses without a search warrant.

Officers raided the building on April 24. Police say they seized 1,215 packages of synthetic drugs and 44 cases of glass pipes.

Anderson also owns The ToyBox in Oak Grove, which Hopkinsville and Oak Grove police raided April 25. Officers say they took two plastic containers of synthetic drugs.

Hopkinsville Police Chief Guy Howie told the Kentucky New Era he stands behind the officers and "the professional investigations that they did."

Published: Fri, May 4, 2012

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