National Roundup

Tennessee
Attorney: U.S. using ‘untested legal theory’

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The attorney for a nuclear engineer accused of helping a Chinese energy company build nuclear reactors with U.S. technology says the government’s case involves “novel and untested legal theories.”

Documents filed Wednesday seek to have Szuhsiung Ho, also known as Allen Ho, released on bond while he awaits trial.

Ho is the owner and president of Delaware-based Energy Technology International, which had the state-controlled China General Nuclear Power Company as a client.

An indictment unsealed in April accuses Ho of helping develop special nuclear material outside the United States.

Ho’s attorney says Ho simply helped the Chinese company improve safety at existing commercial nuclear power plants. Court documents say Ho consulted with the Department of Energy about his work and was told it fell outside the scope of regulation.

Maine
Man denied right to lawyer appeals to Supreme Court

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A man convicted of an armed robbery is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Maine’s courts overstepped their bounds by stripping him of his right to a court-appointed attorney because he couldn’t get along with five previous lawyers.

The Portland Press Herald reports Jamesa Drake, an adjunct professor at University of Maine School of Law, filed a petition on 39-year-old Joshua Nisbet’s behalf to the Supreme Court.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled earlier this year that Nisbet willfully waived his right to counsel through his behavior, which included threats. The court ruled the judge was left with no lesser alternative.
Nisbet handled his own defense in 2014 with two standby attorneys who also represented him at his sentencing. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years.

New York
Cops: Woman who sabotaged fiance’s kayak said, ‘I’m free’

GOSHEN, N.Y. (AP) — A New York state trooper says a woman accused of fatally sabotaging her fiance’s kayak on the Hudson River told an investigator, “I’m free” after confessing to the crime.

The testimony came during a court hearing Thursday on whether statements 36-year-old Angelika Graswald made to police can be used during her upcoming trial on murder and manslaughter charges.

Police say she admitted removing a drain plug from Vincent Viafore’s kayak in April 2015 and pushing a floating paddle away from him after his kayak capsized.
Viafore drowned. Graswald has pleaded not guilty.

Investigator Anthony DaSilva said Graswald made the statement 10 days later as they were on a boat during the search for Viafore’s body. .

Pennsylvania
Ex-jail counselor charged with  inmate extortion

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania county jail counselor is charged with trying to extort money from inmates and has agreed to plead guilty.

Online federal court records show 52-year-old Louis Elmy, of Wilkes-Barre, was also arrested Thursday on a federal charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of selling crack cocaine. A plea agreement, calling for a minimum five-year prison sentence, was filed Thursday, too.

Federal prosecutors say Elmy fudged official orders while working as a work-release counselor at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Wilkes-Barre. They say Elmy did that to extort “money and other items of value from work release inmates in exchange for giving them special privileges and unauthorized furloughs.”

Prosecutors say Elmy sought money from inmates to ease his own financial problems.
Elmy’s attorney hasn’t commented.

Florida
Lawyers ask court not to disbar them permanently

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Two Florida lawyers accused of orchestrating the arrest of a rival attorney are asking the state’s Supreme Court not to disbar them permanently.

Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut of Tampa are requesting disbarment with an opportunity for reinstatement in five years. Pinellas County Judge W. Douglas Baird recommended permanent disbarment. Stephen Diaco has already been permanently disbarred.

Diaco, Adams and Filthaut are accused of violating Florida Bar rules by setting up opposing attorney Phil Campbell with the help of a paralegal and a Tampa police officer.

Campbell was arrested for DUI in the middle of a 2013 trial. Campbell was representing radio shock jock Todd “MJ” Schnitt, who was suing another DJ, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, for slander. Clem was being represented by the Adams and Diaco law firm.

Delaware
Judge rejects speedy trial ­argument in 2005 murder case

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A judge has refused to dismiss felony murder charges against two men accused of killing a New Castle County man in 2005.

Angelo Panaccione was killed just hours before he was to testify against William Brown, who had been charged with burglarizing his home.

Brown and another man, Earl Harris, were indicted for murder in 2012. At the time, both men were serving time in other states, with Brown scheduled to be released later this summer and Harris in 2022.
The defendants argued that the murder charges should be dropped because their rights to a speedy trial had been violated.

The judge recently rejected that argument, noting that they did not raise their speedy trial claim until earlier this year and never asked to return to Delaware to face trial.


Ohio
Woman traffics ­daughter, 11, for heroin

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio woman has admitted to repeatedly trafficking her 11-year-old daughter for sex in exchange for heroin.

Officials say the 32-year-old woman from Pleasant Plain pleaded guilty to rape and human trafficking on Thursday. Prosecutors say she also gave the girl heroin numerous times as a reward and the drug always made her vomit.

Prosecutors say the woman would take her daughter to a man in exchange for drugs, leave her with him and return later. The alleged drug dealer is facing several charges in the case.
The woman faces a term of up to life in prison when she's sentenced on July 19.

The Associated Press isn't naming the mother to avoid identifying her daughter.

 

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