National Roundup

 Maine

3 men charged with digging up two relatives 
STANDISH, Maine (AP) — Three men are charged with digging up the cremated remains of two relatives and moving them to another cemetery in Maine.
Authorities say 71-year-old Calvin Lewis of Limington, 37-year-old Hiram resident Travis Lewis and 42-year-old Kevin Lewis of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are charged with abuse of a corpse.
Police say the men dug up the remains of Richard Lewis and the son who shared his name from a cemetery in Standish last fall, then reburied them in the family plot in Limington. The elder Richard Lewis was Calvin Lewis’ brother and the father of the other two men.
The remains were returned to their original resting place on Aug. 2.
Kevin Lewis tells the Portland Press Herald the men “just thought we had a right” to move family members.
 
Louisiana
Grand jury indicts couple in stripper’s death 
GRETNA, La. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a couple in the killing and dismemberment of a stripper in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports that 30-year-old Margaret Sanchez, of Metairie, and 41-year-old Terry Speaks, who is in a federal prison in New York, each was charged Thursday with second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
They’re accused of inviting Jaren Lockhart to a private party on June 6, 2012. Police say Lockhart told co-workers at Temptations Gentlemen’s Club that she was leaving to “make rent.”
She died from a single stab wound to the chest. Her heads, legs and arms below the elbows were cut off.
The body parts were discarded along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
 
Illinois
Rooftop owners s­ue city over changes to park
CHICAGO (AP) — The owners of eight rooftop clubs overlooking Wrigley Field have filed a lawsuit to overturn Chicago’s approval of the Cubs’ plan to revamp the century-old ballpark.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court asks a judge to reverse the city’s action, saying it broke its own rules and deprived them of their property rights without due process. The lawsuit names the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and its members, as well as the city.
The commission in July approved seven electronic signs, including a left field Jumbotron, expansion of the bleachers and relocation of the bullpens.
Rooftop owners maintain the plan violates a revenue-sharing agreement that prevents the team from taking actions that block their views.
 
Alabama
Worst outbreak of TB in 5 years hits state prisons 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s prison system, badly overcrowded and facing a lawsuit over medical treatment of inmates, is facing its worst outbreak of tuberculosis in five years, a health official said Thursday.
Pam Barrett, director of tuberculosis control for the Alabama Department of Public Health, said medical officials have diagnosed nine active cases of the infectious respiratory disease in state prisons so far this year.
While the number isn’t huge, Alabama prisons averaged fewer than five TB cases annually each year since 2009 and didn’t have any last year, Barrett said.
“This is a very serious outbreak,” she said.
All but one of the cases this year occurred at the St. Clair Correctional Facility, which was designed for 984 men but held 1,292 prisoners at the end of May. Inmates are put on a six-month treatment plan once they are diagnosed.
Health officials are optimistic that the worst is over because no new cases have been diagnosed in a few weeks, Barrett said.
Tuberculosis isn’t a problem unique to Alabama prisons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent says the airborne disease is more common in prisons than in the general population.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Center filed suit against Alabama prisons in June claiming the state failed to provide inmates with basic care for medical and mental health problems.
The department has denied the lawsuit’s allegations that care is so poor is doesn’t meet constitutional standards.

Pennsylvania
Mom jailed over truancy died of heart failure 
READING, Pa. (AP) — A mother of seven who was jailed over her children’s truancy and then was found dead in her cell died of natural causes, a coroner ruled.
The Berks County coroner’s office released its findings on 55-year-old Eileen DiNino on Thursday. An autopsy revealed that DiNino’s high blood pressure contributed to heart failure and that fluid in her lungs also was a factor.
DiNino, of Reading, 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia, was found dead in her jail cell on June 7, halfway through a two-day sentence. She had been jailed for failing to pay about $2,000 in truancy fines and court costs accrued since 1999 in cases involving several of her children, most recently her boys at a vocational high school.
The judge who sentenced DiNino said days after her death he had reluctantly sent her to jail after she failed to pay the money.
District Judge Dean R. Patton, who described DiNino as “a lost soul,” complained about a broken system that punishes impoverished parents and questioned laws criminalizing such lapses as truancy or failing to pay trash bills.
“This lady didn’t need to be there,” said the judge, who acknowledged losing sleep over her jail cell death. “We don’t do debtors prisons anymore. That went out 100 years ago.”
More than 1,600 people, mostly women, have been jailed in Berks County over truancy fines since 2000.
Attorney Richard Guida, who handled truancy cases, including DiNino’s, as a Reading School District solicitor for more than a decade, said the cases show “kind of a slice of inner-city life.”
“The people home taking care of the children are mothers,” he said. “Many times, they’re overwhelmed, and some of these kids are no angels.”
The truancy fines might be $75 or less, but the debt can add up over court costs and fees. DiNino’s court file shows a laundry list of court fees for one case alone: $8 for a judicial computer project, $60 for Berks County constables, $10 for postage. And she had been cited dozens of times over the years.
 

Comments

  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »