National Roundup

 Idaho

Cost to fight gay marriage ruling passes $80,000 
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho officials have spent more than $80,000 challenging a federal judge’s decision overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage.
 
The Spokesman-Review reports that information it obtained through a public records request shows Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter earlier this month agreed to pay a Washington, D.C., attorney $10,000 to file two legal briefs.

That’s on top of the $71,000 previously spent to challenge U.S. District Court Judge Candy Dale’s decision that Idaho’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

Last week, Otter filed a petition with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking the 11-judge panel to review Idaho’s arguments. Information on the latest costs isn’t available.

The court asked the Idaho plaintiffs to file a response.

Gay marriage became legal in Idaho on Oct. 15.
 
New Hampshire
Woman charged in infant death waives hearing 
LYMAN, N.H. (AP) — A woman accused of jumping out a second-story window over the summer with her 4-month-old twins, killing her son and severely injuring her daughter, has waived a hearing on the evidence against her.

Patina Welch of Lyman was arraigned earlier this month on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault and ordered held without bail.

Police said the 29-year-old Welch jumped out the window June 18 and landed on top of the boy. His twin sister is recovering. Prosecutors have not said if Welch was trying to kill herself.

The Caledonian Record reports the case for Welch, who is pregnant, will be transferred to Grafton County Superior Court for indictment.
 
Nebraska
Man sentenced for meth use near his child 
MADISON, Neb. (AP) — A 44-year-old Norfolk man accused of using methamphetamine near his 4-year-old child has been given a year behind bars.
 
The Norfolk Daily News reports that Troy Hoffie lived in the same residence as his child and used meth there. Deputy County attorney Matthew Kieran said in court on Friday that the child tested “17 times above the confirmation level necessary to test positive for methamphetamine.”

Online court records say Hoffie pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent child abuse after prosecutors lowered the charge from a felony.
 
Missouri
Religious leaders seek clemency for condemned 
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Several religious leaders from across Missouri are asking Gov. Jay Nixon to grant clemency for a man scheduled to be put to death this week.
 
Mark Christeson is scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing a south-central Missouri mother and her two children in February 1998. The bodies of 36-year-old Susan Brouk and her children, ages 12 and 9, were found in a pond near their home outside of Vichy.

A clemency letter signed by leaders of several denominations raises concerns about actions of prosecutors in the case and says Christeson’s trial attorney was inadequate. The letter also raises concerns about Christeson’s mental capacity and questions why his case has not received review in federal court.

Indiana
Judge rejects sentence change for ex-policeman 
MADISON, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana judge has rejected a sentence modification for a former police officer convicted of pointing a gun at his girlfriend during a confrontation in front of his two children.
Jefferson Superior Court Special Judge Roger Duvall on Friday upheld 32-year-old Josh Abbott’s eight-year prison sentence.
 
Abbott pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intimidation and one count each of criminal confinement and domestic battery for threatening to shoot his then-girlfriend in front of his two children. He was a Madison police officer at the time of that February incident.

The Madison Courier reports Duvall’s order says Abbott’s actions were “among the most disturbing that the Court has had the occasion to be involved” and it was only “good fortune” he didn’t kill or injure anyone.
 
Arizona
News outlets sue for information on lethal injection 
PHOENIX (AP) — Several news outlets are suing to gain information on the procedures and sources of drugs used to carry out lethal injections for death row inmates, The Arizona Republic reported Saturday.
 
The newspaper has joined other news organizations in a federal lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections and Attorney General Tom Horne. Other media organizations acting as plaintiffs include Guardian News and Media and the Arizona Daily Star.

According to the complaint, the media outlets argue that withholding information about executions is unconstitutional. They argue that executions are public events. As a result, denying information about how they are carried out violates freedom of the press and equal protection under the law.

The lawsuit follows the July 23 execution of inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood. It took Wood nearly two hours and 15 dosages of lethal injection drugs before he died.

His attorneys say the execution was botched, a claim the Department of Corrections denies. Wood’s defense team and attorneys for other death row inmates filed a lawsuit seeking to know which drugs will be used in executions, where they come from and who will administer them. The First Amendment Coalition of Arizona joined that suit in September.

The standard drug used in executions in Arizona since the 1970s became unavailable in 2010. The Republic reported that the Arizona Department of Corrections used a law guaranteeing confidentiality of executioners’ identities to conceal it was illegally getting the drug from Great Britain. As a result, the U.S. Justice Department prohibited the use of imported drugs for executions in the U.S. Since then, Arizona has switched to a two-drug combination already used in Ohio.
 
The execution brought new attention to the death penalty debate in the U.S. as opponents said it was proof that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.
 

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