National Roundup

 Missouri

Lawsuits over memory implants  near dismissal 
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Four lawsuits alleging that false memories of sexual abuse and satanic cult activity were implanted in women at Castlewood Treatment Center in suburban St. Louis are about to be dismissed, according to a published report.
Lisa Nasseff filed suit two years ago against Ballwin, Mo.-based Castlewood and its former director, psychologist Mark Schwartz. Separate suits from three other women followed.

Arizona
Repercussions are few in deadly force incidents 
PHOENIX (AP) — An examination by an Arizona newspaper has found that Border Patrol agents who use deadly force face few public repercussions, even in cases in which the justification for the shooting seems dubious.
The Arizona Republic reports Sunday that on-duty Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers have killed at least 42 people, including at least 13 Americans, since 2005.
These deaths — all but four of which occurred along or near the southwest border — vary from strongly justifiable to highly questionable. CBP officials say agents who use excessive force are disciplined.
But they won’t say who, when, or what discipline, with the exception of a short administrative leave. In none of the 42 deaths is any agent or officer publicly known to have faced consequences from federal agencies or the courts.
CBP leaders refuse to release their policies, the names of agents who use deadly force or whether deadly force was justified.
CBP, Homeland Security and Border Patrol officials declined repeated interview requests from The Republic, agreeing only to a limited, off-the-record discussion from which the agency would approve a few limited statements. CBP officials declined to discuss the agency’s lack of transparency on the record.
The Department of Homeland Security, the agency over the Border Patrol and CBP, didn’t immediately respond to a request Sunday afternoon from The Associated Press for comment.
Acting Deputy CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said CBP doesn’t control the release of information or pace of investigations, pointing to the FBI and Homeland Security.
The Republic found the vast majority of Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers respond to conflict with restraint. Even when facing potentially deadly force, most agents and officers don’t turn to their firearms. But agents who killed mostly did so under circumstances virtually identical to hundreds of encounters that other agents resolved without lethal force and without serious injuries to either side.
In the last four years, rock-throwing incidents at the border accounted for eight of the 24 instances in which agents killed people. The Border Patrol considers rocks deadly weapons that justify lethal force, even though it is rare for agents to be injured in such incidents, The Republic found.
The vast majority of rock-throwing incidents occur in a few, well-known, mostly urban spots along the border. But the Border Patrol doesn’t require agents working in those areas to carry or use less-lethal alternatives.
Border Patrol agents do face dangers. Of the 22 who died in the line of duty in the last nine years, most died in vehicle or training accidents. Four died in direct conflicts with aggressors, including one case in which Border Patrol agents fired on one another.
Of the 42 use-of-force fatalities, some — such as the five cases in which agents shot and killed people who fired at them first — provoked little dispute.
But in nine of the 24 use-of-force deaths since 2010, agents’ accounts were contradicted by other witnesses or by other law-enforcement officers, the Republic reported. In three cases, widely distributed videos conflicted with agents’ reports of what happened.
 
Missouri
Demand grows for children’s court advocates 
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A group of volunteers that help abused and neglected children going through the Jackson County Court system will aid 1,000 children this year, the first time in its 30-year history that milestone has been reached.
The volunteers for CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates — give the children personal attention while their cases wind through the courts.
The group’s executive director, Martha Gershun, says the 1,000 mark is a “good news, bad news” situation. She says it means CASA has been able to help more children, but also shows that the demand is growing.
The Kansas City Star reports that CASA has been able to staff more cases than ever but it still represents only about one-third of the children in the system.
 
Maine
Three lawyers to face hearing in robo-signing case 
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Three lawyers are facing possible disciplinary action before a state board for allegedly signing off on home foreclosures without first verifying documents, a practice referred to as “robo-signing.”
The Portland Press-Herald reports that Philip Mancini, Paul Peck and Alexander Saksen of the Portland law firm Drummond and Drummond are scheduled to appear before the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar on Monday. The hearing is expected to last into Tuesday.
They are accused of willfully misleading the courts by allowing robo-signing.
All three have denied the allegations. They represented GMAC Mortgage.
The allegations against them result from a lawsuit brought by a Denmark woman that gained national attention and prompted all 50 states to conduct a joint investigation into the mortgage industry.
 
New York
Inmate says he’s tired of being linked to Patz 
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A sex offender jailed in northeastern Pennsylvania says he’s tired of being linked to the 1979 disappearance of a New York City boy whose case helped mobilize a nationwide missing-children movement.
Jose Ramos was for years the prime suspect in the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz (AY’-tahn payts). Another man, Pedro Hernandez, has since been charged in Patz’s death and faces trial, but a civil court once held Ramos responsible. He denies involvement.
Ramos has sent a letter to The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre to complain about media coverage linking him to Patz, his attorneys and the Luzerne County court system.
He calls himself an “ex-sex offender and not a sex offender.”
Ramos completed a 27-year sentence last year on molestation charges. He’s jailed on Megan’s Law charges.

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