National Roundup

Maryland
Officer dressed as homeless man catches texters

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - A Maryland police officer went undercover dressed as a homeless man to catch people who were using their phones while driving.

Cpl. Patrick Robinson went undercover Tuesday morning equipped with a police radio and a body camera. He held a sign that read, "I am not homeless. I am a Montgomery County police officer looking for cell phone texting violations."

Montgomery County police Sgt. Phillip Chapin and about eight other officers issued a total of 56 tickets county-wide that day, including 31 tickets and 9 warnings to people caught using their phones without hands-free devices.

Chapin says authorities are seeing more distracted-driver-related deaths as a result of people using their phones while behind the wheel.

Massachusetts
Company charges $48K to pull Jeep out of mud pit

WALPOLE, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man whose Jeep got stuck in a mud pit while off-roading with his girlfriend says a towing company is charging him $48,000.

Joel Ramer says the Jeep landed in a mud pit last week in Walpole, near Boston. It took 12 hours for police and Assured Collision to pull the vehicle out. Ramer was given a bill for $48,000 when he went to pick it up.

The owner of Assured Collision tells WFXT-TV that the Jeep's proximity to power lines put his team in dangerous conditions and that the fees reflect the industry standard.

The Statewide Towing Association tells the station it has not reviewed the invoice, but that the rates quoted appear to be significantly higher than industry standard.

Ohio
Ex-inmate can sue over wrongful imprisonment

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a former death row inmate can sue for wrongful imprisonment over a 3-decade-old double slaying he didn't commit.

The court's ruling Wednesday says a 2003 law updating the state's definition of wrongful imprisonment can be used retroactively by 82-year-old Dale Johnston to sue Ohio.

Johnston, of Grove City in suburban Columbus, was sentenced to die in 1984 for the shooting deaths of his teenage stepdaughter and her fiance two years earlier.

The case against him fell apart on appeal, and he was freed in 1990. Another man confessed in 2008 to killing the couple.

A Franklin County judge declared Johnston innocent in 2012, allowing him to seek compensation from the state, but an appeals court reversed the ruling.

Ohio
Man gets more than 10 years in child porn case

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio man who authorities say admitted to trading nude photos with teenagers will spend more than a decade in prison.

Northeast Ohio Media Group reports (http://bit.ly/1S8FZAZ ) 36-year-old Daniel Forshey was sentenced Tuesday in a Summit County court to 10 1/2 years in prison. He had pleaded guilty to five felony counts involving child pornography.

Forshey will have to register as a sex offender every six months for 25 years.

Police said the Springfield Township man sent nude photos to other teenagers during a three-month span beginning in January. He admitted to sending photos of a 14-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl to a boy in Kentucky.

Florida
Feds: KKK leader gets 7 years in prison for gun

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say the leader of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Florida and Georgia was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a gun.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Florida Christopher Canova said Tuesday that federal investigators found 38-year-old Jamie Vincent Ward of Bronson with a pistol and ammunition.

Ward was previously convicted in Georgia of theft, first-degree arson and possession of methamphetamine.

Canova says Ward was the grand dragon of the Florida-Georgia chapter of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

He also says Ward was aware of, but no involved in, a plot by fellow members to murder a former Florida prison inmate.

The court took that information into consideration during Ward's sentencing.

Alaska
Father, son plead guilty to illegal halibut fishing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Federal prosecutors have announced that a father and son from Wrangell have pleaded guilty to charges related to illegal halibut fishing.

Seventy-year-old Charles "Chuck" Petticrew Sr. and 42-year-old Charles "Jeff" Petticrew Jr. appeared in Juneau federal court Monday, The Alaska Dispatch News reported. The father pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy, while his son pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Lacey Act violation. The federal law prohibits the trade of illegally sourced wildlife.

Court documents say Petticrew and his son misreported where they caught about 4,000 pounds of halibut on federal (Individual Fishing Quota) forms, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Longline Fishery Logbook entries and halibut tickets.

As part of their plea deal, both men have agreed to split a $100,000 fine. Petticrew Sr. will pay a majority of the fine, $90,000. The government recommended the men be placed on probation for five years, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt.

Missouri
ACLU joins challenging exposure law

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is joining some Springfield residents in a federal lawsuit challenging a new indecent exposure ordinance in Springfield.

The ACLU of Missouri argues in the lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Springfield that the new law could be interpreted to prohibit breastfeeding in public. The organization says the ordinance also unfairly targets women and conflicts with state law.

The Springfield News-Leader reports the city council voted in August to make the indecent exposure ordinance stricter, requiring more of the female breast and all buttocks to be covered.

City Attorney Dan Wichmer said he questions whether the ACLU had standing to challenge the ordinance, which has not been actively enforced.

Published: Thu, Oct 29, 2015

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