National Roundup

California
Judge refuses doctors’ request to ­suspend ­assisted death

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A California judge has rejected a request by physicians to immediately suspend a new state law allowing terminally ill people to end their lives.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled Friday that the law will remain in effect for now as the physicians pursue their lawsuit claiming it lacks safeguards to protect against abuse.

The law took effect June 9 and allows terminally ill adults to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a doctor has determined they have six months or less to live.

It is being challenged by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, American Academy of Medical Ethics and several physicians.

Advocates argued that terminally ill people could face prolonged, painful deaths if the law is suspended.

Ohio
Court: Juvenile crimes can’t enhance adult sentences

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Supreme Court has ruled that prior juvenile convictions cannot be used to increase the severity of charges or the length of prison sentences those individuals receive as adults.

The justices ruled 4-3 Thursday that treating cases from juvenile court as prior convictions for adult-sentencing purposes is unconstitutional and “fundamentally unfair.”

The Columbus Dispatch reports Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, writing for the majority, said juvenile court proceedings are civil proceedings intended to protect the development of those under age 18 while they are rehabilitated. She said adult felony sentences are intended to protect the public and punish offenders.

The ruling said prior juvenile convictions can’t be used to enhance prison sentences of adults because children facing delinquency charges have no right to a jury trial.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell, writing for the dissent, said six federal decisions and five state supreme courts have determined crimes committed as juveniles can be used later to sentence adults.

O’Donnell said lawmakers should be responsible for changing the state law and that it was inappropriate for the court to do so.

The ruling overturned a lower court’s decision in the case of Adrian Hand Jr. Hand pleaded no contest as an adult to three felonies while using a gun. The judge considered a juvenile court adjudication against him as a prior felony conviction and added several years onto his prison sentence.


California
Volkswagen, dealers reach tentative deal in cheating scandal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Volkswagen has reached a tentative deal with its U.S. dealers to compensate them for losses they said they suffered as a result of the company’s emissions cheating scandal, attorneys for the carmaker and dealers told a federal judge Thursday.

The value of the settlement with the roughly 650 dealers was not disclosed, although Volkswagen said in a statement later that it would include cash payments.

“We believe this agreement in principle with Volkswagen dealers is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States,” Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen North America, said in the statement.

Details of the settlement were still under discussion. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer gave the attorneys until the end of September to submit a final proposal. The deal would require Breyer’s approval.

Volkswagen previously reached an agreement with attorneys for car owners. That deal calls for it to spend up to $10 billion buying back or repairing about 475,000 vehicles involved in its scandal and paying their owners an additional $5,100 to $10,000 each.

Details about the vehicle repairs have not been finalized.

The settlement also includes $2.7 billion for unspecified environmental mitigation and an additional $2 billion to promote zero-emissions vehicles.

Breyer gave the deal preliminary approval last month.

It does not cover about 85,000 more-powerful Volkswagens and Audis with 3-liter engines also caught up in the emissions scandal.

Volkswagen attorney Robert Giuffra said the company was prepared to submit a fix for some of those vehicles by early November that would bring them into compliance with clean energy laws. Any fix proposed by Volkswagen would have to be approved by government regulators before it could be implemented.


Pennsylvania
Man sentenced in vampire role-playing, teen sex case

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man who had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl as part of a vampire role-playing game that included drinking her blood must spend 10 years on probation, the first two confined to his home.

Westmoreland County Richard McCormick Jr. imposed the probation sentence for Jonathan Ryan Davis on Thursday despite calls by prosecutors that he be imprisoned. Davis, of Vandergrift, pleaded guilty in November to statutory sexual assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors for a December 2014 incident with the girl in a church stairwell after both had been drinking.

Davis told police he, the victim, and two other girls drank blood drawn from their arms as part of a role-playing game he read about online. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for the blood-drinking episodes.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Flanigan wanted Davis to spend more than two years in prison. Davis previously was convicted in juvenile court for impregnating a 12-year-old girl. He didn’t seem to learn anything from the probation he received in that case, Flanigan said.

But defense attorney Adam Gorzelesky argued that Davis’ behavior and cooperation with police since his arrest warranted probation, which would allow him to continue receiving counseling. Two psychologists testified Davis would benefit from continued counseling.

McCormick’s sentence was a compromise that the judge said “will meet the requirements of punishment, rehabilitation and the protection of the community.”

While on probation, Davis can’t go online for recreational purposes, view pornography, drink alcohol or go to bars and clubs. He also cannot have unsupervised contact with minors.

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