National Roundup

Colorado
Firm endows marijuana law professorship

DENVER (AP) - A Colorado law firm specializing in marijuana law has endowed a professorship at the University of Denver. The three-year endowment is believed to be the first funded by the new marijuana industry.

The professorship at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will be held initially by Sam Kamin, who teaches about cannabis law and helped write Colorado's regulations on the industry.

The law firm, Vicente Sederberg, has committed $45,000 over three years for the professorship. Law partner Brian Vicente attended the University of Denver and wrote Colorado's 2012 constitutional amendment making pot legal for recreational use. The firm now consults business owners in the industry.

Missouri
No charges for officer who killed 18-year-old man

ST. LOUIS (AP) - An attorney says a wrongful-death lawsuit is planned against an off-duty white St. Louis police officer whom a prosecutor has cleared in the shooting death of a black 18-year-old last October.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce's report, released Monday, says a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in VonDerrit Myers Jr.'s death.

The unnamed officer was patrolling a neighborhood as a security officer when he approached Myers.

The report says the officer had reason to suspect Myers was armed, and a chase ensued. Authorities said Myers fired at least three shots at the officer, who returned fire.

An attorney for Myers' family said Tuesday he believes Myers was never armed, and that the family will file a wrongful-death lawsuit within the next two weeks.

Louisiana
Jindal's personal butler wants life sentence reduced

GONZALES, La. (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal's personal butler is asking a state district judge to reduce his mandatory life sentence for a 1991 second-degree murder.

Harrison Cage is a prison trusty, an inmate who is considered trustworthy by prison authorities and gets privileges such as working outside the penitentiary. Nationwide, governors often employ trusties to work in mansions.

The Advocate reports that during a hearing Monday, Cage asked Judge Jessie LeBlanc to give his life sentence some kind of term, possibly 45 to 50 years, so he can seek parole.

LeBlanc took the case under advisement.

Cage has worked in the Governor's Mansion for eight years.

An Ascension Parish jury convicted Cage in 1993 for the fatal stabbing of his nephew.

Jindal spokeswoman Alexis Nicaud says his office cannot comment on court proceedings.

North Carolina
State high court hears case over trooper's lost hat

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's highest court is being asked to decide: If a state trooper can't be trusted to tell the truth about why he lost his hat, can he be trusted when he faces a heavier moral choice?

Trooper Thomas Wetherington initially told his supervisor the hat blew off of his head and was probably crushed by a passing 18-wheel truck.

The hat was returned a few weeks later in good condition by one of the people Wetherington had pulled over that day. The two-year member of the force then said he realized his mistake but stuck to his explanation because he'd earlier been reprimanded for forgetting to wear his hat.

"Wetherington did not voluntarily correct his lie even when the opportunity to confess and accept responsibility for losing the hat presented itself," state attorneys said in court documents describing their position. "The people have statutorily vested law enforcement officers with the power to invade their homes, restrain their freedom and even take their lives based solely on their judgment. In return, the public has a right to expect that officers authorized to exercise such extraordinary powers will be scrupulously honest in all their official duties."

The Highway Patrol determined that the trooper violated its truthfulness policy, which says no patrol member "shall willfully report any inaccurate, false, improper or misleading information."

An administrative law judge and a majority on the state personnel commission upheld the firing, but that decision was reversed by two lower courts that ruled the patrol's leaders lacked just cause.

Col. Randy Glover, then the state patrol's commander, fired Wetherington after learning termination had been the fate of every trooper since at least 2002 proven to violate the truthfulness policy, state attorneys said.

Wetherington's firing came at a time when several troopers had faced misconduct accusations, in particular those of a sexual nature. In 2010, then-Gov. Beverly Perdue said she would make every state trooper sign a code of conduct and those that break the rules would be fired.

But Wetherington's attorneys said an agency memo outlined two dozen examples of the highway patrol's handling of discipline, the trooper's attorney wrote in a court filing.

"Some of those are episodes of extreme misconduct including but not limited to criminal conduct and serious untruthfulness that was condoned, and either not charged or punished by trivial discipline and not termination," attorney Michael McGuinness wrote. "The patrol's record is neither inspiring or at all indicative that truthfulness is paramount."

The lower state Court of Appeals rejected arguments from state attorneys that if Wetherington remained a trooper, his policy violation would have to be disclosed to defendants in cases where he may testify. The state offered no proof the disclosure would be required and a trooper is rarely the sole witness in a case, the appeals court opinion said.

Connecticut
Basketball star sued over child support money

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - The ex-wife of Harlem Globetrotters legend Meadowlark Lemon is suing the basketball star for allegedly skimping on child support payments.

The Connecticut Post reports Willie Lemon Campbell and her son, Jonathan, have filed suit in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They're seeking $250,000 they say Lemon never paid them in child support.

Campbell says Lemon was ordered to give up their family house and pay $2,500 a month in child support in their 1977 divorce settlement. The suit says the house was remortgaged by Lemon and he stopped child support payments after one year.

Lemon says he's confused by the lawsuit and will contest the matter in court. He played forward for the Globetrotters for 23 years,

The case was was continued to August.

Published: Wed, May 20, 2015

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