National Roundup

Indiana
Woman who lost both legs can sue over train mishap

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana appeals court says a woman who lost both legs after she was run over by a freight train can sue the railroad for negligence.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that the Indiana Court of Appeals last week ruled Crystal Williams can sue the Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad, overturning a lower court’s decision.

The appeals court says there are unanswered questions about the railroad’s duty to prevent Williams’ injuries.

Williams was 17 years old in December 2011 when a train was blocking her way as she walked home in Gary, Indiana. It lurched forward as she tried to climb between rail cars, running over her legs.

The railroad argues it’s not responsible because Williams was trespassing.

Texas
Woman charged in stabbing death of young daughter

HOUSTON (AP) — Officials say a woman has been charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of her 4-year-old daughter at a Houston apartment complex.

Deputy Thomas Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office says 34-year-old Laquita Lewis texted family members Sunday, telling them she had hurt her child. Gilliland says Lewis texted family members from the hospital, where she had been taken after being injured in a traffic accident.

The relatives contacted the sheriff’s office. When deputies arrived, they found Fredricka Allen dead at the apartment.

Lewis is being held in the Harris County jail Monday. Jail records do not list an attorney to speak for her.

Gilliland says deputies haven’t determined why Lewis killed her daughter, though they believe she got into a fight with her boyfriend earlier Sunday.

Virginia
Authorities: Man arrested in case of teen girl slain leaving mosque

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A 22-year-old Virginia man was held on a murder charge Monday in the slaying of a teenage Muslim girl who was attacked during a breakfast break from an all-night prayer session at her mosque.

Darwin Martinez Torres of Sterling was arraigned Monday in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and ordered held without bail pending a July 19 court appearance.

According to statements from police and the mosque, the girl and her friends were walking back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque from a McDonald’s in the Sterling area between 3 and 4 a.m. Sunday when a man drove up and some kind of altercation ensued.

According to NBC4 in Washington, the teen fell as the girls ran, and only later did they realize that she was not among them.

During an intense search for the girl, an officer stopped a car being driven suspiciously on Sunday and the driver, later identified as Martinez Torres was taken into custody, police said.

NBC4 reported that Torres was questioned near the scene of the attack, and led officers several miles away to a retention pond across the street from his apartment complex where a female body, believed to be the girl’s, was found at about 3 p.m. Sunday.

“What investigators told the father and the mother, he hit her in the head and put her in the car and he threw her in the water,” said family friend and spokes­person Abas Sherif.

ADAMS is one of the largest mosques in the country, and is particularly busy during Ramadan. Observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, and since Ramadan this year overlaps with the summer solstice, and sunrise occurs well before 6 a.m., some Muslims will eat large meals in predawn hours.

A statement by Madihha Ahussain, special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry at Muslim Advocates, a national legal and educational organization for American Muslims, said the tragedy occurring on Father’s Day and during the holy month of Ramadan, “strikes the heart of the strong community of the ADAMS Center and of Fairfax.”

Without elaborating, the Fairfax County Police Department tweeted Monday that “We are NOT investigating this murder as a hate crime.”

Georgia
State high court rejects challenge to abortion ban

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s highest court on Monday rejected a challenge to a state law banning most abortions after 20 weeks, saying the courts are barred from considering lawsuits against the state without the state’s consent.

The 2012 law bans doctors from performing abortions five months after an egg is fertilized, except when a fetus has a defect so severe it is unlikely to live. The law also makes an exception to protect the life or health of the mother, but not for cases of rape or incest.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the measure on behalf of three obstetricians. It said the law violates state privacy protections and argued the exceptions are too narrow and that doctors could face prison even when treating patients “in accordance to the best medical judgment.”

The lawsuit sought to stop enforcement of the law by challenging its constitutionality and was filed against Gov. Nathan Deal and other state officials in their official capacities.

The concept of sovereign immunity shields the state and state agencies from being sued in their official capacity unless the state waives that protection, Justice Keith Blackwell wrote in the unanimous opinion. But he added, “we recognize the availability of other means by which aggrieved citizens may obtain prospective relief from threatened enforcement of unconstitutional laws.”

Since the state officers were sued in their official capacities, the lawsuit is considered to target the state itself and citizens don’t have that right without the state’s consent, Blackwell wrote. Citizens do, however, generally have the right to sue state officers in their individual capacities if those officials are pursuing official actions that are alleged to be unconstitutional.

That means the obstetricians could pursue a lawsuit against the state officers in their individual capacities, the opinion says. The high court said in a footnote that lawsuits against individual state officers may be less convenient than suing the state and suggested the state General Assembly could fix that “by enacting a statutory waiver of sovereign immunity for suits like this one.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on Nov. 30, 2012, about a month before the law was to take effect. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs entered an order about three weeks later putting the law on hold until the legal challenge could be resolved.

Ultimately, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams, who had taken over the case, ruled in May 2016 that the suit was barred by sovereign immunity and the ACLU appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Comments

  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »