National Roundup

Virginia
High court to weigh legality of displaying noose

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments this week over whether a man broke the law when he hung a black-faced dummy in his front yard.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that lawyers for Jack Eugene Turner of Rocky Mount will argue before the court Wednesday.
Turner was convicted in 2015 of violating a state law that prohibits hanging a noose to intimidate. Turner is white. He was upset at some black neighbors.
Turner got six months in jail. He argues his free speech rights were violated and that state law only bars displays of nooses on public land, not private property.
The state’s attorneys disagree, arguing the noose was meant to intimidate and had instilled fear in his neighbors.
The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld Turner’s conviction in 2016.

Nebraska
State high court to decide whether teen tried as adult

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An appeal of a judge’s decision to try in juvenile court the case of a teenager accused of attacking his parents before shooting at Douglas County sheriff’s deputies is scheduled to be heard by the Nebraska Supreme Court.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that prosecutors appealed Judge Marlon Polk’s ruling in November. Prosecutors want the 17-year-old tried as an adult.
Authorities say the 17-year-old fired on deputies Sept. 3 when they responded to the boy’s Waterloo home. Deputy John McFarland suffered minor injuries when he was hit by shotgun pellets. The teen lost a kidney after being shot by one of the deputies who returned fire. Investigators say the deputies were called after the boy attacked his parents with a baseball bat when they confronted him about drinking.
The Associated Press generally does not name juveniles charged with crimes.

West Virginia
Judge suspended for violating code of conduct 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia judge has been suspended for 45 days without pay for violations in two cases in which the defendants died.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled this week to suspend Kanawha County Magistrate Jack Pauley. The court also censured Pauley for violations of the Judicial Code of Conduct.
Pauley accepted the charges during a November hearing, saying he was trying to keep cases moving in the magistrate court system.
Pauley first was elected as a magistrate in 1992. His attorney, William Forbes, said in November that Pauley had never been hit with any rules violations prior to the charges.
Pauley was charged with signing a domestic violence protection order against 36-year-old Housein Bikir Keaton, even though it didn’t include all of the required information, on Aug. 25, 2016.
The commission said Pauley left his night shift early, and he didn’t sign an arrest warrant for Keaton. Keaton was no arrested, and he found dead of a gunshot wound the next day.
Pauley also was charged with improperly taking over Joshua Lee Miles’ case, which was assigned another magistrate. While the presiding magistrate was out of the office for medical reasons, Pauley signed an order to allow Miles to be released from jail on April 12.
Because of an error in faxing the order to South Central Regional Jail, 36-year-old Miles wasn’t released. He was found dead in his jail cell on April 13 of an apparent suicide.

Arkansas
Man accused of killing wife for changing channel

CARLISLE, Ark. (AP) — Investigators say a central Arkansas man fatally stabbed his wife after she changed the TV channel from a football game he was watching while he went outside to smoke.
Tony Thomas, 58, of Carlisle, was charged Monday with capital murder. Investigators said he admitted killing his wife, Elke, during an argument after she switched the TV channel in November. He’s been jailed since the incident.
“He went outside to smoke and upon returning, he discovered that Elke had changed the channel. He asked about the score and she began yelling at him and got in his face,” Lonoke County Sheriff’s Detective Anthony Counts wrote in an affidavit.
Thomas said he blacked out and came to while standing over the woman with a knife in his hands, according to the affidavit. Court records show his bond is set at $1 million.
Deputies were already responding to the scene because a woman who had been at the home flagged down someone passing by to report the stabbing. A man who identified himself as “Tony” later called the sheriff’s office to say he’d killed his wife.
The affidavit says the stabbing occurred Nov. 19 in the home’s living room, where blood was found on the floor, the walls, a table and the TV. Counts wrote that it appeared the woman’s body was dragged through the dining room to the back yard, where it was found beneath a blanket and a tarp.
Court records don’t list an attorney for Thomas. The local public defender’s office didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment about the case Tuesday. A court hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 22.
Carlisle is about 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Little Rock.

South Dakota
Native American tribes sue opioid industry groups

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Three Native American tribes in the Dakotas are suing opioid manufacturers and distributors, alleging they concealed and minimized the addiction risk of prescription drugs.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate sued 24 opioid industry groups in federal court on Monday. Defendants include drug manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Allergan, and distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp.
The lawsuit follows more than 70 similar cases filed across the country. Allegations include deceptive marketing, fraud and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
It is one of the first to tie claims to drugs’ the impact on Native Americans. The Cherokee Nation launched a similar suit in April.
The complaint seeks monetary damages and an “abatement fund” to pay for treatment programs.
The companies hadn’t responded to the suit as of Monday.

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