National Roundup

Connecticut
Foster mother pleads guilty for spoon-spanking

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — A foster mother faces 100 days in prison after acknowledging she spanked a 4-year-old girl with a wooden spoon.
Jami Littlefield, 51, of Griswold, pleaded guilty Monday in Superior Court in Norwich to third-degree assault. She told authorities she paddled the girl in January because she was acting out, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Littlefield was arrested after the girl’s biological mother noticed bruises on her daughter’s buttocks when the child bent over to pick up a toy during a supervised visit. Medical staff at the Pequot Health Center determined the girl’s contusions appeared to have been caused by the repeated strikes of a blunt instrument.
Littlefield initially denied hitting the child but later said she spanked the girl with the spoon she was using to stir soup after the child struck her granddaughter, spat at her and used a racial slur, according to the arrest document.
Gary Kleeblatt, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families, told The Day of New London that Littlefield’s foster care license, which she received in 2004, was removed after her arrest.
Foster parents receive extensive training on the proper care of children, including how to manage behaviors without resorting to corporal punishment, Kleeblatt said.
“Certainly we expect that they will not use an instrument of any type,” he said.
Littlefield is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17. Under terms of her plea deal she faces 100 days in prison and two years of probation.

Pennsylvania
Attorney who was disbarred faces new theft charge 

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. (AP) — A disbarred western Pennsylvania attorney already serving seven to 14 months in jail for swindling clients is now accused of spending more than $1,100 earmarked for restitution in a criminal case.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for 35-year-old Michael Frisk, of Ellwood City.
Frisk is already serving time in Lawrence County for failing to pay $225 in fines to settle a client’s case and otherwise misspending other client’s funds on personal items, including spa visits and sports tickets.
Now Ellwood City police say they’ve learned Frisk has bilked another client whose relative paid the attorney $1,143 last year. The money was supposed to pay off restitution so the client’s theft arrest would be expunged. Instead, the money was never paid and the client wound up paying $4,000 in court costs and restitution.

New Jersey
Ex-priest jailed after working with children

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — A judge has ordered a New Jersey priest held while a grand jury considers whether he violated a legal agreement to stay away from children.
Bail for Michael Fugee remains at $25,000 following his brief court appearance Tuesday in Bergen County, where he’s charged with contempt of a judicial order.
Fugee resigned from the Newark Archdiocese earlier this month after he admitted he worked unsupervised with kids.
Fugee was convicted of aggravated criminal assault in 2003, but the conviction was thrown out on a legal technicality.
Fugee reached a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to return to the ministry if his job didn’t involve parishioners under 18.
But prosecutors say he had contact with youngsters while working as a priest in Wyckoff and Colts Neck.

New Hampshire
Nurse sues her hospital in hep C outbreak incident

EXETER, N.H. (AP) — A former Exeter Hospital nurse and roommate of a technician accused of stealing drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C has sued the hospital, saying she was wrongfully terminated.
Kerry Descoteau lived with David Kwiatkowski  and worked with him at the cardiac catheterization laboratory.
In her lawsuit, filed last month in Rockingham Superior Court, Descoteau said she was questioned about her connection to Kwiatkowski and about a drug used during procedures. She was placed on administrative leave.
The suit says the state nursing board investigated and dismissed the complaint, but then the hospital fired her a week later, saying she “may have contributed” to the hepatitis C outbreak.
The Portsmouth Herald reports a lawyer for Exeter Hospital denies that it wrongfully terminated Descoteau.
Kwiatkowski faces trial in January.

Nebraska
Attorney’s heart attack leads to assault mistrial

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — A public defender in central Nebraska has suffered a heart attack, leading a judge to declare a mistrial in an assault case.
The Hastings Tribune reports that Adams County Public Defender Art Toogood had a heart attack over the weekend. He is now a hospital in Lincoln. His family as asked hospital staff not to release information about his condition.
Toogood’s absence in Adams County District Court on Monday morning forced Judge Stephen Illingworth to declare a mistrial in the case against 30-year-old John Espino, which began Thursday and was expected to conclude Monday.
Espino has been accused of hitting his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach with a board in August 2011.
Prosecutors can still try the case later.

Pennsylvania
Former justice’s attorneys file notice of  appeal

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Attorneys for former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin have filed notice that they intend to appeal her campaign corruption conviction and sentence to state Superior Court.
The 57-year-old former justice was convicted in February on theft of services and other charges for allegedly using her former Superior Court staff and the state-paid staffers of her sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie to work on Melvin’s 2003 and 2009 campaigns for the Supreme Court.
Melvin is serving three years on house arrest, and must pay $128,000 in various penalties including a $55,000 fine, restitution and court costs.
The notice of appeal filed Monday is just that — a notice that Melvin intends to appeal. It does not contain the reasons for the appeal, which her attorneys will spell out in legal papers in the coming weeks.?

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