National Roundup

 Pennsylvania

Homeless feeding is banned from courthouse lot 
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Groups that volunteer to feed homeless people in Pennsylvania’s state capital are being banned from lots near the county courthouse and administration building because of complaints about public urination, defecation and other problems.
Dauphin County officials have told the volunteers to move on, Pennlive.com  reported Sunday.
Deputy Chief Clerk Scott Burford said Citizens Bank, which rents space from the county, has complained about its ATM kiosk being turned into a “Port-A-John” and said bank workers have been harassed and heckled by homeless people.
“We have a duty to react,” said Burford, who denied claims by some homeless advocates that the ban is meant to prompt arrests of homeless people.
Liesa Burwell-Perry, who directs outreach ministries for Glad Tidings Assembly of God, said the church has been serving food to the homeless behind the county building for three years. She said it’s well-lit, centrally located and that the problems encountered aren’t likely to change if the charities are forced to set up shop elsewhere.
“They’re kind of entrapping us because they don’t have a solution and we don’t know what to do,” Burwell-Perry said.
Burford said the county isn’t looking to lock up the homeless, and said new “no loitering” signs won’t just target the homeless. The signs also are meant to deter patrons of nearby bars who park in the lots, or stop there to relieve themselves before heading home.
“I don’t know that arrests are a good solution for us. We’ve asked for the least invasive measures and that’s asking them to move on,” Burford said. “We don’t want to see anybody put in jail.”
 
Iowa
76-year-old man convicted in child pornography case 
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A 76-year-old Iowa man has been convicted of enticing boys into sexual behavior so he could create child pornography.
A federal jury in Cedar Rapids also found Benton Stong guilty of four counts of possessing child pornography. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says  Stong was convicted last week, after a day of testimony and arguments.
Prosecutors say that in June and July last year, four boys, ages 10 through 12, spent time and stayed overnight at Stong’s apartment in Oran, where he ran a computer repair business.
Fayette County sheriff’s deputies searched Stong’s home at the behest of some of the boys’ parents. The deputies found child pornography, including videos of the boys.
State charges in the case were dismissed this past June when Stong was indicted in federal court.
 
Mississippi
Guilty plea is expe­c­t­ed in meth transport case 
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Federal court records say a man has filed a court notice that he intends to plead guilty in a south Mississippi drug case.
A criminal complaint in the case says Rodolfo Garcia Quintanilla was a passenger in a Chevrolet truck with Texas plates when it was pulled over on Interstate 10 in Harrison County on July 31.
The complaint says the deputy noticed Quintanilla’s hand shaking as he produced paperwork during the traffic stop and there was a strong smell of air freshener and perfume coming from the truck.
The complaint says officers were given permission to search the truck and found 3,618 grams of methamphetamine.
Quintanilla was indicted Aug. 20. He is charged with three counts, including racketeering, but it’s not clear to which charges he will plead guilty.
A change of plea hearing is Sept. 30 in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.
Quintanilla had been scheduled for trial in October. The trial and a pretrial hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday were cancelled when he filed his intent to plead guilty.
 
New York
Papers: Judge OKs letter from accused to girl 
NEW YORK (AP) — Court records show a Bronx judge told a former NYPD officer he could write a letter to a 13-year-old girl he allegedly sexted and groped.
The Daily News says Judge Shari Michels ordered Modesto Alamo to stay away from the girl after his May 24 arrest but said he could write to her.
The girl’s mother reacted in anger, saying Alamo should never have any contact with her daughter again. Her name was withheld to protect the girl’s identity.
A spokesman for the judge says Michels’ remarks were not intended to cause the family any pain. He didn’t elaborate.
Alamo is free on $1,500 bail.
Attorney Ron Kuby, who is not involved in the case, says he believes the judge was trying to act in a counseling capacity.
 
Mississippi
County, prison officials cleared in inmate’s death 
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a deceased inmate’s mother against Forrest County, Sheriff Billy McGee, a corrections officer and the jail nurse after the woman’s son died in custody.
The Hattiesburg American reports Devin Daniel Fortune was jailed for allegedly stabbing his transsexual partner to death in Hattiesburg in 2009.
Fortune’s mother alleges in the lawsuit that her son complained of a sinus infection, fever, problems breathing and a sore throat on March 28, 2011, for which he was prescribed antibiotics and antihistamines for 10 days.
Devin Fortune died during the early morning hours of April 1, 2011, from what his death certificate lists as “acute and chronic pneumonia.”
U.S. District Court Judge Keith Starrett dismissed the lawsuit.
Starrett wrote that the plaintiffs must show the jail officials acted with “deliberate indifference” to Fortune’s medical needs for the constitutional claims in the complaint to be viable.
“Based on the evidence before the court, Nurse (Skye) Johnson did not refuse to treat Fortune, ignore his complaints, intentionally treat him incorrectly, or otherwise deny him medical treatment ... Even if Nurse Johnson were negligent and/or unsuccessful in her treatment of Fortune, this does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation,” Starrett wrote.
He made a similar argument on behalf of Randall Smith, the corrections officer named as a defendant.
The opinion also dismisses the county.
“The record establishes an isolated, tragic incident not a pattern or practice for which Forrest County may be held liable,” Starrett wrote.
Fortune was held on a $1 million bond for a murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of Archie Avis Brooks, 47.
Plaintiff’s attorney William Ducker said he wasn’t sure if Fortune’s mother would appeal the judgment.

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