National Roundup

 Georgia

Court: No license  to carry gun after no-contest plea 
ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower-court ruling denying a state gun carry license to a man who pleaded no contest to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon nearly 20 years ago.
James Hertz pleaded “nolo contendere,” or no contest, to five felony charges in Florida in 1994 when he was 18. The Florida court withheld judgment on the charges and sentenced him to three years’ probation, which he completed.
He applied for a “weapons carry license” in September 2012. Quitman County Probate Judge Andrew Bennett denied his application because of the no-contest plea to the Florida felony charges. Convicted felons cannot get a carry license in Georgia. State law treats the acceptance of a no-contest plea as a conviction.
Hertz appealed to the high court, arguing that the Florida judge’s withholding of a judgment is equivalent to a no-contest plea in Georgia that gets first-offender treatment. Georgia law says someone who completes a first-offender program is eligible for a weapons carry license as long as no other exceptions apply.
Hertz also argued that the probate judge’s decision violated his constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
In the opinion published Monday Justice Carol Hunstein writes, “(b)ecause Hertz’s nolo contendere plea makes him ineligible for a weapons carry license under Georgia law, and the statute as applied to him does not violate the United States or Georgia Constitutions, we affirm” the lower court’s decision.
The law being challenged in this case doesn’t involve the constitutional right to own a gun, Hunstein wrote, adding that Hertz “has the right to possess a handgun inside his home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a weapons carry license.”
 
Massachusetts
Doctor in child porn case pleads guilty to charges
BOSTON (AP) — A doctor who worked at a prestigious Massachusetts boarding school has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.
Richard Keller, of Andover, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of receiving and one count of possessing child pornography. Under the terms of a deal with prosecutors, Keller’s attorney and the government recommended a sentence of between five and 6 1/2 years. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 27.
Under the agreement, the 57-year-old Keller acknowledged purchasing pornography from a Canadian company and having some of it sent to the grounds of the elite Phillips Academy in Andover, where he was the medical director for 19 years until stepping down in 2011.
Keller did not speak during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Boston, except to answer questions from the judge.
 
Kentucky
Same-sex couple seeks right to divorce in state
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A same-sex couple who married in Massachusetts is seeking a divorce in Kentucky.
The case has presented a dilemma since Kentucky does not recognize gay marriage.
Judges and divorce lawyers told The Courier Journal that the case filed in Jefferson Family Court involving Alysha Romero and Rebecca Sue Romero is the first of its kind in the state.
Alysha Romero’s lawyer, Louis Waterman, said the women should be allowed to part ways in Kentucky instead of having to move back to Massachusetts for divorce proceedings.
But both opponents and supporters of gay marriage say the court’s only choice will be to dismiss the petition because Kentucky law bans gay marriage and the recognition of such marriages.
Waterman says he’ll appeal if the case is dismissed.
 
Pennsylvania
Feds: Attorney stole $3 million from 8 clients 
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A central Pennsylvania attorney has been charged with defrauding eight clients out of more than $3 million since 2007, and court records show she has agreed to plead guilty.
A Justice Department press release says an investigation is continuing to determine if other clients have been victimized by 46-year-old Wendy Weikal-Beauchat.
According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Gettysburg attorney agreed to be disbarred in February and online federal court records show she signed an agreement last month to plead guilty to the charges announced Monday. A court date hasn’t been set.
According to federal authorities, the lawyer’s practice involved estate and long-term care planning. She allegedly stole her clients’ money, and hid that by sending clients bogus certificates of deposit and federal tax forms that falsely showed interest the accounts were earning.
 
Pennsylvania
Police: Woman stole $180,000 from mother 
HOMER CITY, Pa. (AP) — A western Pennsylvania woman has been charged with stealing $182,000 from her mother by cashing in the elderly woman’s life insurance policy and taking other money from her mother’s Social Security and black lung benefit checks.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for 48-year-old Kimberly Fulton, of Homer City, who faces a preliminary hearing Nov. 11. Fulton didn’t answer a phone listed in her name, which had a voice mail system that wasn’t working Monday.
State police began investigating after other family members contacted Indiana County Aging Services Inc. to complaint that they were being excluded from decisions involving their mother’s finances.
Police say Fulton paid her mother’s expenses with the monthly benefit checks, but kept the rest of the money for herself, along with the $125,000 insurance policy.
 
Maryland
Woman gets life term in murder-for-hire scheme 
TOWSON, Md. (AP) — A Baltimore County judge has sentenced a woman to life in prison for hiring a man to kill her husband at the family’s gas station in Towson.
Karla Porter was sentenced Monday to life in prison plus 40 years without the possibility of parole.
Porter was convicted of first-degree murder in August. Prosecutors say Porter plotted the death of her husband, William Ray Porter, at his Hess gas station to make it look like he was killed during a robbery. The man she hired, Walter Bishop Jr., is serving a life sentence.
Porter had testified that her husband had verbally, physically and psychologically abused his wife for years. Her lawyer said that Porter planned the slaying in self-defense.
Police say that started in October

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