Court Roundup

Arkansas
New sentencing for Ark. inmate given life as teen

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ highest court says a man sentenced to life in prison without parole when he was 14 years old deserves a new sentencing hearing.
The state Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new sentencing hearing for Kuntrell Jackson, whose case was one of two that led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year throwing out mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles.
The Arkansas Supreme Court says a judge should consider evidence about Jackson’s age and the nature of the crime when determining a new sentence.
Jackson was sentenced to life in prison after the shooting death of a store clerk during an attempted robbery in 1999. Another boy shot the clerk, but Jackson was present, and so he was convicted of capital murder and aggravated robbery.

Kentucky
2 convicted in  killing granted DNA tests on hair

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two Kentucky men convicted of killing a woman in 1992 have been granted DNA tests on hairs found at the slaying scene.
The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday ruled tests not available at the time 43-year-old Garr Keith Hardin and 42-year-old Jeffrey Dewayne Clark were convicted are warranted. Justice Bill Cunningham wrote that the two were convicted “based upon highly circumstantial evidence.”
Cunningham concluded that testing should go forward because of the possibility that a third person was either involved or actually killed 19-year-old Rhonda Sue Warford.
Warford’s body was found in a rural field near Brandenburg.
Prosecutors argued that the pair killed Warford as part of a Satanic ritual. Hardin and Clark claim another man killed Warford and was the source of hairs found with the body.

New Mexico
Lawsuit: Santa Fe County inmate died from neglect

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The brother of a Santa Cruz man who died while being held in the Santa Fe County jail has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the lawsuit stems from the April 2011 death of 37-old-year Bobby Baros Jr. who had been arrested on a number of charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
According to the complaint, Baros initially was held in the Espanola jail but he was taken to Presbyterian Espanola Hospital where medical staff determined he was undergoing withdrawal from polysubstance abuse.
The complaint says Baros was later transferred to the Santa Fe County jail but didn’t receive medication for an opiate withdrawal.
Santa Fe county officials did not immediately responded to a phone message and email from The Associated Press.
Pennsylvania
Police, Taser maker sued by dead woman’s kin
ERIE, Pa. (AP) — The parents of a 29-year-old woman who died in custody are suing the Erie police and Taser International Inc. claiming police use of the stun gun led to her death.
The Erie County coroner ruled Talia Barnes died of a lethal combination of drugs two days after her July 2011 arrest.
The Erie Times-News reports a coroner’s report makes no mention of the fact that Barnes was stunned with the device, which the lawsuit claims caused her death because it happened when she was highly intoxicated.

Ohio
High court tosses ousted lawyer’s JobsOhio request

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A lawyer stripped of her leading role in a legal challenge to Gov. John Kasich’s (KAY’-siks) private job-creation agency won’t be allowed to be a main party in the case against JobsOhio.
The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday resolves a running feud between attorney Victoria Ullmann and former employer ProgressOhio, a liberal think tank.
Ullmann alleged ProgressOhio forged a suspicious alliance with the libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Law designed to undermine the lawsuit’s chances.

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