National Roundup

 Mississippi

Deputy charged in punch death of basketball coach 
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Police say a Mississippi sheriff’s deputy working as a recreation league basketball referee has been arrested in the death of a team’s coach.
Jackson police say 37-year-old Joshua Adams is charged with murder. He is accused of punching 25-year-old Justin Griffin in a fight over play calls during a game.
Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart says Griffin died Monday from blunt-force trauma to the head.
Assistant Chief Lee Vance says the apparent altercation started over calls during a game Sunday.
Police say that the dispute continued off the court and into the parking lot. As it escalated, police say a second deputy in uniform, working security, got involved as well.
The sheriff’s department says Adams has been suspended pending an internal investigation.
Police say a Mississippi sheriff’s deputy working as a recreation league basketball referee has been arrested in the death of a team’s coach.
NEW YORK (AP) — Notorious “club kid” killer Michael Alig has been released from prison after serving 17 years for killing his roommate over a drug debt.
Alig was released from the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, N.Y., on Monday.
The 48-year-old Alig was part of a decadent 1990s party scene characterized by wild costumes and rampant drug use. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1997 for killing Andre “Angel” Melendez and dumping the body parts in the Hudson River.
The story was turned into the 2003 movie “Party Monster,” in which Macaulay Culkin played Alig.

Florida
Lawyer: Woman who drove into sea had disorder 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys say a mental disorder kept a pregnant South Carolina woman from knowing the difference between right and wrong at the time she’s accused of driving her minivan into the Atlantic Ocean with her children inside.
Defense attorneys for 32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson filed a motion of intent to use an insanity defense. Public Defender James Purdy told the Daytona Beach News-Journal Monday that experts will testify the 32-year-old from North Charleston, South Carolina, had a mental disease or defect in March, when she drove into the surf off Daytona Beach in Florida.
Purdy says the motion doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll use insanity as a defense, adding that not guilty remains the “number one” priority.
According to the motion, attorneys expect to prove Wilkerson had schizophrenia and a psychotic disorder.
 
Texas
Prosecutor blasts judge’s handling of rape case 
DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas judge’s handling of a rape case and her suggestion that the 14-year-old victim was lying has outraged the city’s top prosecutor, who said the case makes other victims reluctant to help authorities.
State District Judge Jeanine Howard voluntarily recused herself from the case of 20-year-old Sir Young, who pleaded guilty to raping the girl in 2011. Howard sentenced Young to probation and limited some of the conditions a sex offender might normally receive.
It wasn’t just the sentence itself that has sparked criticism. Howard also initially ordered Young to do 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center. But The Dallas Morning News reported that the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center does not want him to complete his hours there.
Howard didn’t return messages left by The Associated Press on Monday, but she told the newspaper last week that she questioned the veracity of the teen’s story. She also said she never intended for Young to work with rape victims and thought he could mop floors, mow the lawn or cook.
Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, in an interview Monday with the AP, said his prosecutors would ask the new judge to order a review of Young’s probation and possibly tighten the conditions.
Watkins said he was concerned about the potential “that rape victims may not come forward” due to the case.
“The judge basically blamed the victim for what happened to her,” he said, adding: “In this case, when a victim comes forward and the person that they put their trust in — the judge — calls into question their credibility ... does a disservice to our ability as prosecutors.”
The judge said the teen had agreed to have sex with Young, just not at school. Howard said medical records suggested that the girl had three sexual partners and had given birth, which her mother denies.
“She wasn’t the victim she claimed to be,” Howard said. “He is not your typical sex offender.”
She also defended not sentencing Young to prison.
“There are rape cases that deserve life. There are rape cases that deserve 20 years,” Howard told the newspaper. “Every now and then you have one of those that deserve probation. This is one of those and I stand by it.”
Howard recused herself Friday, telling the Morning News last week that she did so in order to explain her decision.
Watkins said his prosecutors had pushed for five years’ prison time. He also said the judge declined to require Young to follow standard sex offender requirements such as attending treatment, undergoing an evaluation or staying away from children. Prosecutors will ask the new judge to order a full evaluation of his probation and potentially stricter conditions.
Young does have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and is spending 45 days in jail as a condition of probation.
Watkins has previously spoken out about what he sees as the misconduct of some Dallas judges, particularly one who cited him for contempt of court last year in a high-profile mortgage fraud case. 
 
New York
DA seeks void on 3 convictions  connected to cop 
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer says the Brooklyn district attorney’s office is seeking to void the murder convictions of three-half brothers who were convicted on evidence collected by a former homicide detective whose cases are under review.
The brothers’ lawyer, Pierre Sussman, tells The New York Times that prosecutors will ask a judge to vacate the convictions at a court hearing Tuesday.
The defendants, Alvena Jennette, Robert Hill and Darryl Austin, could become the first people connected to detective Louis Scarcella to be exonerated. Austin died in prison.
Prosecutors have cast a critical eye on Scarcella’s work after a judge threw out the conviction of a man accused of killing a Brooklyn rabbi in 1990.
Last year, prosecutors began a review of several cases that Scarcella investigated.
Scarcella has denied wrongdoing.

 

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