National Roundup

California

Appeals court reinstates lawsuit against Glock

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A California appeals court has reinstated a now-retired paralyzed Los Angeles police officer's product liability lawsuit against gun manufacturer Glock.

Enrique Chavez was paralyzed from the waist down when his 3-year-old son accidentally shot him with his service pistol.

The lawsuit claims the .45-caliber Glock 21 pistol lacks adequate safeguards against accidental discharge.

The Glock has no grip safety, a device attached to the pistol grip that the shooter must deactivate before firing.

A Los Angeles judge dismissed the suit two years ago, saying a Police Department review of the gun's design found the Glock's advantages outweighed any inherent risks.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the 2nd District Court of Appeals on Tuesday reinstated the suit, saying a jury could conclude that a grip safety strong enough to withstand a child's grasp would minimize the risk of accidental discharge.

North Carolina

Man charged for refusing to leave NC jail

WENTWORTH, N.C. (AP) -- A man who'd just been released from jail in northern North Carolina was arrested again for refusing to leave the jail after authorities wouldn't give him a ride to a motel.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports that 37-year-old Rodney Dwayne Valentine was charged with trespassing.

Valentine was released from the Rockingham County jail Saturday morning after being behind bars since May 22. The sheriff's office says he asked them to drive him to a local motel and they refused. Deputies charged Valentine with second-degree trespassing when he had refused to leave the jail by Saturday afternoon.

He's being held on $500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 9. It was not clear if he has a lawyer.

Wisconsin

Appeals Court approves new trial in '87 killing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin Appeals Court says there is enough evidence to warrant a new trial for a man convicted in 1989 of killing a woman and hanging her body in a tree 25 years ago.

The Second District Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a jury could find reasonable doubt that Terry Vollbrecht was guilty of the 1987 slaying of 18-year-old Angela Hackl.

Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Bauer last month ordered a new trial in January 2011 after attorneys with the Wisconsin Innocence Project argued new evidence suggests another man killed Hackl.

The state argued new evidence discovered by Vollbrecht's attorneys did not warrant another trial.

But the appeals court agreed that it was compelling and would present the jury with a viable alternative suspect.

Louisiana

Settlement reached in junked vehicles lawsuit

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) -- Lafayette Consolidated Government has reached a settlement in principle with a man who challenged the constitutionality of the city's junked vehicle ordinance in a 2007 lawsuit.

George Phillips Jr. sued the city in response to the seizure of four of his vehicles, all of which were parked at rental property owned by Phillips.

The Advocate reports Phillips alleged in court records that the ordinance is unfairly vague and discriminates against people in certain areas of town. The property where Phillips' vehicles were seized is on the north side of town, where most of the junked vehicle violations have occurred.

Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said Tuesday that a settlement had been reached, although settlement documents have not yet been executed.

The civil case, which was scheduled for trial on Monday, had been put on hold after the city successfully argued that it should be delayed until the related criminal case against Phillips was resolved.

That case culminated in the dismissal of the four misdemeanor junked vehicle violations against Phillips in November 2010.

While terms of the settlement were not available Tuesday, Stanley said the move now opens the door for the city's legal counsel to begin revising the ordinance in a fashion that "we think will pass legal muster."

In an earlier ruling, state District Judge Edward Rubin wrote that the ordinance's exemption for vehicles kept in an enclosed building, including a carport or garage, "could result in the discrimination against citizens who do not have or otherwise possess a carport or garage."

Rubin also wrote that to "confiscate the property of any citizen under an ordinance" based upon the subjective notion of appearance or location of one's property is a violation of basic constitutional law.

The city must find a way to balance government's response to citizen requests while at the same time finding something that's constitutional, Stanley said.

Wisconsin

Widow of man found dead in pulp vat drops lawsuit

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The widow of a man found dead in a pulp vat at a Green Bay paper mill has dropped the civil lawsuit she filed 19 years ago.

Attorney Bruce Bachhuber tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette Susan Monfils and her family have decided to move on. Monfils filed the lawsuit against seven of her husband's co-workers, even before criminal charges were brought against six of them. The lawsuit was in limbo for years as the six convicted in Tom Monfils' 1992 death worked through the appeal process.

Monfils' body was found in a pulp vat at the James River mill a day after angry co-workers accused him of telling police that one of them had stolen an electrical cord from the plant. One of the six co-workers had his conviction overturned. The five others remain in Wisconsin prisons.

New Mexico

Judge grants $2.5M to former inmate in NM lawsuit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A federal judge has approved a $2.5 million settlement in a Bernalillo County jail beating case.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that officers at the Metropolitan Detention Center beat Avery Hadley in 2008 and 2009. In one incident, Hadley's head was stomped on so severely that he has permanent brain damage and a titanium plate in his head.

A conservator for Hadley sued county officials in 2010, alleging that the jail was unsafe for inmates, and that corrections officers weren't properly trained and supervised.

The settlement announced Tuesday includes attorneys' fees and $600,000 for medical expenses. Another $1.5 million goes into a trust account for Hadley.

Publicity about the beatings led to criminal prosecutions.

Jail director Ramon Rustin says the jail has since improved staff training and overall reporting.

Published: Thu, Jul 26, 2012

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