Court Roundup

Texas
Personal injury attorney on trial in bribery case 

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — An Austin personal injury attorney is facing trial beginning this week on federal racketeering charges as part of a scheme that already has left a former South Texas state judge and former state lawmaker convicted.
Lawyer Marc Rosenthal has pleaded not guilty to charges in a 13-count indictment that accuses him of conspiring to bribe former Judge Abel Limas, bribing witnesses, filing fraudulent personal injury cases and arranging to manipulate case assignments in Cameron County in the Rio Grande Valley. He’s also accused of paying people and witnesses for false testimony and statements.
Limas and former state Rep. Jim Solis already have been convicted in the scheme and await sentencing.
Rosenthal’s trial was beginning Monday in federal court in Corpus Christi.

Kansas
2nd trial set for woman in case of  young son’s death 

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Leavenworth woman will be tried for the second time in the death of her 4-year-old son.
Thirty-one-year-old Monica F. Rivera will be tried April 15 for involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of her son, Gabriel.
The boy died while being cared for by Rivera’s boyfriend, Jason L. Jones, in Leavenworth. Prosecutors allege Rivera endangered her son by leaving him in Jones’ care.
The Leavenworth Times reports the Kansas Court of Appeal in December ordered in December that Rivera receive a second trial because errors were made in jury instruction during the first trial in 2010.
Jones is serving a sentence of more than 38 years in prison for second-degree murder in the boy’s death.

New Jersey
Lone survivor of schoolyard slay to testify at civil trial

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The survivor of an attack in Newark that killed three college-aged friends is expected to testify in a lawsuit filed by the victims’ parents.
A jury has heard testimony this month in the suit filed by the parents of Iofemi (eye-OH’-feh-mee) Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel. The three friends and the survivor had attended or were considering attending Delaware State University when they were slain behind Newark’s Mount Vernon School in August 2007.
The killings prompted a host of anti-crime measures in Newark. The Associated Press isn’t naming the survivor because of sexual assault charges against two defendants.
The families’ lawsuit claims the school district was negligent for leaving the schoolyard gates open at night when it was a known gang hangout.

North Carolina
Judge is prepared to hear software sweepstakes case

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A judge in Davidson County is to consider a request to dismiss a lawsuit against Gov. Pat McCrory and another state official by an Internet sweepstakes business.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports that International Internet Technologies contends it is using software in its games that comply with North Carolina law.
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in December that state law bans sweepstakes machines.
But ITT and the operator of the Hickory Tree Business Center in Midway sued last month saying the machines at the business comply with state law.
Attorneys for McCrory and Public Safety Secretary Kiernan Shanahan have asked a judge to dismiss the complaint. The attorneys point out the companies do not face charges and that neither McCrory nor Shanahan have taken any action against the businesses.

Utah
Judge dismisses Provo River Trail rape victim’s suit

PROVO, Utah (AP) — A Provo judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the victim of a brutal rape near the Provo River Trail.
The woman nearly died after she was raped and beaten with a rock in June 2010.
Her attacker, Shawn Leonard, is serving a life sentence in prison. The attack occurred after he walked away from a jail work-release program.
The woman sued Utah County, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and two companies, claiming they were negligent in their supervision of work-release inmates and in letting Leonard participate in the program.
Provo’s Daily Herald reports 4th District Judge David Mortensen ruled the work-release program is indispensable, and there isn’t enough evidence to prove Utah County was wrong to allow Leonard to participate in it.
The woman’s lawyer plans to appeal.
All six defendants are serving prison terms.

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