National Roundup

New York
Woman in subway push says she did not admit to act

NEW YORK (AP) - A former home health aide charged with shoving a woman in front of an oncoming subway train under New York's Times Square insists she's not guilty of murder.

Prosecutors say Melanie Liverpool admitted to the deadly push. But when Liverpool heard that at her arraignment Tuesday, she said she "didn't admit" anything.

The other woman was crushed to death around 1 p.m. Monday. Authorities say witnesses flagged down officers on the platform, and Liverpool was apprehended within minutes.

Authorities have described the 30-year-old Liverpool as emotionally disturbed. Her lawyer, Mathew Mari, says that he has little information on her medical history but that she worked as a home health aide until three weeks ago.

Subway deaths from pushes are not common, but there have been a few in the past few years.

Pennsylvania
Police: Stepmom fed boy laxatives, hot sauce, insults

QUARRYVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania woman has been jailed on charges she fed her 4-year-old stepson laxative laced beans and hot sauce, and otherwise insulted him over her apparent frustration over potty training.

Thirty-one-year-old Danielle Miller was in the Lancaster County jail unable to post bond on aggravated assault, child endangerment and other charges. The boy's father, 30-year-old Nathan Duke, is also jailed on conspiracy and endangerment charges because police say he did nothing to stop the abuse.

Police say Miller also locked the boy in a closet for hours and sometimes teased him by scratching the walls and saying rats were coming to get him. He was also beaten, burned, bound and insulted by Miller who allegedly called him a "pig" with a "stupid ... ugly face."

Court records don't list defense attorneys.

California
Famous pool-cue maker sentenced in attempted ivory smuggling case

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A famous custom pool-cue maker has been sentenced to two years of probation for his role in trying to help export protected African elephant ivory to Taiwan.

Seventy-five-year-old Cesar "Ernie" Gutierrez was also ordered to immediately pay a $10,000 criminal fine on Monday.

Gutierrez pleaded guilty on Aug. 29 to aiding and abetting the attempted smuggling of African elephant ivory.

Prosecutors say Gutierrez manufactured and sold two people 41 sections of custom pool cues with inlays of the protected ivory for $75,000 to $85.000. Both individuals were later arrested at Los Angeles International Airport.

Gutierrez makes ornate cues with materials that include gold, jewels and exotic woods. His customers through the years have included stars like Frank Sinatra.

California
Woman runs down 3 outsidecourt, jumps to her death

MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) - A woman ran over her estranged husband and two of his friends as the trio left a family court Monday and then jumped to her death off a bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area, police said.

Several witnesses saw the woman speed up and hit the three people outside a courthouse in Martinez. She was reversing the car when she hit a female victim a second time, Martinez Police Cmdr. Eric Ghisletta said. The three were taken to a hospital with moderate injuries.

The woman, who had been in court with her husband, then fled the scene and minutes later jumped off the Benicia Bridge, Ghisletta said. She was not immediately identified, pending notification of her family.

The U.S. Coast Guard found the body of a woman in the water under the bridge after police received a call of a person jumping off. The vehicle matching the description of the one used to hit the pedestrians was found on the bridge near where the woman jumped, Ghisletta said.

"Based on all indications, it appears it could be the same woman," he said.

The East Bay Times reported bystanders tried breaking the driver's-side window on the woman's car after the collision, but a witness said she sped out of the area. Witness Christina Parson, 30, who was pushing her friend's baby stroller across a nearby crosswalk when the collision happened, said there was no question about the woman's intent.

"It was deliberate. You can tell it was," said Parson, who was helping her friend with a property dispute in court Monday. "An officer came running out of the courthouse, and I screamed for him to get help."

Washington
High court weighs cities' plea to sue banks for bias

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court seems inclined to allow Miami to sue banks for predatory lending practices among minority customers that led to foreclosures, declines in property taxes and dips in property values.

At least four of the eight justices appeared willing during arguments Tuesday to let the suits go forward under the anti-discrimination Fair Housing Act. Miami and other cities are trying a novel approach to hold banks accountable for the wave of foreclosures during the housing crisis that hit in 2007.

If the court splits 4 to 4, the decision of a lower court in favor of Miami would remain in place, but there would be no nationwide ruling addressing similar lawsuits by other cities.

Miami claims that Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup pursued a decade-long pattern of targeting African-American and Hispanic borrowers for costlier and riskier loans than those offered to white customers. The loans to minority homeowners went into default more quickly as well, the city says.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America appealed the lower court ruling to the Supreme Court, arguing that cities can't use the Fair Housing Act to sue over reductions in tax revenues. The banks said the connection between a loan and the tax consequences is too tenuous. Citigroup did not appeal, though its lawsuit also would be affected by the high court ruling.

Neal Katyal, representing the banks, said a ruling for Miami could lead to lawsuits asking for "billions of dollars."

Robert Peck, Miami's lawyer, told the court that the banks are exaggerating the claims. "We said we lost millions of dollars," Peck said, adding that similar lawsuits filed by Baltimore and Memphis, Tennessee, were settled for less than $10 million each.

During the Election Day-session, two justices who typically pepper lawyers with questions that often reveal how they view a case were uncharacteristically quiet. Justice Stephen Breyer asked only a couple of questions and Justice Samuel Alito did not ask any.

Some justices said they worried about opening the courthouse door to shop owners, gardeners and other companies that might lose business as a result of home foreclosures.

A decision in Bank of America v. Miami, 15-1111, and Wells Fargo v. Miami, 15-1112, is expected by June.

Published: Wed, Nov 09, 2016

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