National Roundup

Louisiana
Group sues over abortion clinic license delay

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Planned Parenthood wants a federal judge to force Louisiana’s health department to allow its New Orleans clinic to perform abortions.

The organization says in a lawsuit filed Friday that Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration, through the Louisiana health department, has put up unconstitutional roadblocks to licensure.

Planned Parenthood has two clinics in Louisiana, but its New Orleans clinic would be the first to provide abortions. The lawsuit says its request for a license to provide abortions has languished for nearly 17 months.

The lawsuit challenges as unconstitutional both the delays in approval of the abortion clinic license and a 2016 law pushed by Edwards to block Medicaid financing for entities that perform abortions in Louisiana.

Planned Parenthood says the Edwards administration is trying to deny access to legal health services.

South Dakota
High court says warrant needed for urine sample

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Supreme Court says police need a search warrant to obtain a urine sample from someone who is arrested.

The high court ruled privacy issues outweigh the state’s interest in pursuing evidence. The case involves a man who was a passenger in a vehicle stopped from a broken headlight in 2015. Officers ordered Hi Ta Lar to provide a urine sample which tested positive for methamphetamine. He was arrested, charged and eventually sentenced to three years in prison.

The Argus Leader says Lar appealed, raising the issue of the warrantless urine sample.

Virginia
Lawsuit against GOP for failed repeal dismissed

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A lawsuit filed by a Virginia man against the Republican Party for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act has been dismissed.

The Virginian-Pilot reports federal Judge Arenda Wright Allen rejected Bob Heghmann’s claim Tuesday. Heghmann’s lawsuit accused the party of fraud and racketeering and asked the party return campaign contributions or pressure Congress to repeal “Obamacare.”

Allen says Heghmann didn’t have legal standing to sue and that the repeal’s push isn’t over yet. Heghmann argued he had standing to sue as a contributor.

Republican lawyers say Federal Election Commission records do not list Heghmann as a contributor to the Republican National Committee, the Virginia GOP or the party leaders named in the lawsuit. FEC records show
Heghmann gave $875 to New Hampshire’s GOP in 2013 and 2014.

Ohio
Jury recommends death penalty in teen girl’s slaying

CLEVELAND (AP) — A jury has recommended that a registered sex offender convicted of raping and killing a 14-year-old Ohio girl should get the death penalty.

Jurors on Friday recommended the death penalty for 45-year-old Christopher Whitaker. The same jury had found him guilty of aggravated murder and charges including kidnapping and rape in Alianna DeFreeze’s death. Her body was found in an abandoned home in Cleveland in January 2017, three days after her mother reported her missing when she didn’t arrive at school.

Whitaker told investigators he was high on cocaine and blacked out. He pleaded not guilty but told jurors Thursday that he has accepted responsibility and is remorseful.

A message was left for Whitaker’s attorney.

A judge will decide later whether to impose the death penalty or life in prison.

Oregon
Court upholds $60,000 award for woman with service dogs

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the owner of a Eugene convenience store must continue to pay damages to a woman who was refused entry with her two service dogs.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the court on Thursday upheld the order for Kara Johnson, the owner of Duck Stop Market, to pay $60,000 to Michel Hilt-Hayden.

According to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Johnson denied Hilt-Hayden entry in April 2013. Hilt-Hayden later filed a complaint with the bureau.

According to court documents, Hilt-Hayden has trouble seeing and hearing and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The service dogs help her avoid waking into obstacles, and they’re also trained to perform a chest compression procedure.

The newspaper could not reach Johnson’s attorney for comment Thursday.

North Carolina
Man convicted of killing unarmed young black man

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A white man who fatally shot an unarmed black man after reporting “hoodlums” has been found guilty of first-degree murder in North Carolina.

News outlets report that the jury spent less than two hours deliberating before finding Chad Copley guilty of premeditated murder in the death of 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Thomas, who was attending a party near Copley’s home.

Prosecutors had said Copley appeared bent on violence when he told 911 operators he was “locked and loaded” to confront people he described as armed “hoodlums” and launched a “surprise attack.”

Defense attorneys acknowledged Copley fired the fatal shotgun blast, but said he feared for his safety and was covered by the state’s Castle doctrine.

No gun was found at the scene.

Copley’s sentencing hearing is set for Friday.

North Carolina
Teen not guilty of distributing nude photo of teacher

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina high school student accused of “catfishing” a teacher and circulating his nude photo has been found not guilty.

News outlets report the 16-year-old girl was acquitted Thursday on the charge of misdemeanor disclosure of private images. The case of a 16-year-old boy charged with the same offense is pending.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said the Swansboro High School students obtained the teacher’s picture after misrepresenting themselves on Grindr, a gay dating app. According to testimony, the girl forwarded the picture to the boy, who shared it with five friends.

The girl’s attorney, Matt Silva, said the state didn’t prove she intended to humiliate the man, who he says didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy after sending images to a stranger. The judge based his ruling on similar points.
 

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