National Roundup

Arizona
Ruling allows self-defense claim while ­denying involvement

PHOENIX (AP) — The state Supreme Court says Arizona law entitles criminal defendants to say they acted in self-defense and simultaneously deny involvement in an act of violence.

The justices’ unanimous ruling Tuesday reverses decades of legal precedent in state court rulings while overturning a man’s convictions in a double-fatal Tucson shooting and ordering a new trial.

Antajuan Stewart Carson Jr. was convicted of second-degree murder and other crimes in the fatal shootings of two men and the wounding of a third outside a 2013 house party.

Carson denied he shot the men and a judge refused to let him also claim self-defense.

The Supreme Court’s ruling says the Legislature in 2006 changed state law to say that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant did not act without justification.

Kentucky
School shooting judge at center of legal battles

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky judge presiding over the trial of a teenager charged in a school shooting is being challenged for holding closed proceedings.

Marshall County Circuit Judge James Jameson has closed Gabriel Parker’s arraignment and other proceedings over the objections of some media outlets. Parker is facing adult murder charges for the killing of two students Jan. 23 at Marshall County High School.

A group of western Kentucky media outlets filed petitions with the Kentucky Court of Appeals over the secrecy, saying Jameson has sealed public records and held other secret hearings. Jameson filed a petition this week rebutting those claims.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Blankenship, the county’s top prosecutor, has filed a motion asking for a special judge to be appointed to the case.

Connecticut
Man gets 14 years for sex trafficking teen

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for sex trafficking a 15-year-old girl.

Federal prosecutors say 33-year-old Darryl Morris met the girl in 2014 when she was working as a prostitute in New York. He brought her to his Bridgeport home, posted advertisements for prostitution services online, allowed prostitution in his home, and kept the proceeds.

Prosecutors say he also drove her meet johns in other states.

Police found the victim in an East Hartford hotel in May 2016 after getting a call from her mother. She had visible scars and signs of abuse and a tattoo of Morris’ nickname on the back of her neck.

Morris pleaded guilty in May to sex trafficking a minor.

He was also ordered Monday to pay $100,000 to the victim.

New Hampshire
Woman whose 84 Great Danes were seized faces jury trial

OSSIPEE, N.H. (AP) — A woman who had dozens of filthy and sick Great Danes living in her New Hampshire mansion is facing a jury trial.

Last year, a community court judge found 59-year-old Christina Fay guilty of multiple animal cruelty charges. He didn’t sentence her to jail, but said she must pay nearly $800,000 for the care they received after authorities seized them. Fay said she took care of the dogs and appealed to a county superior court for a jury trial, which began Tuesday.

Prosecutors dropped some of the old charges and filed new ones last week against Fay with references to specific dogs, saying they suffered various infections and were confined with little ventilation or water.

Authorities took 84 dogs from Fay’s Wolfeboro mansion last June.

Ohio
Judge in opioid lawsuit talks wants DEA to share drug data

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge wants government-held data about prescription painkiller sales and distribution to be shared with attorneys involved in settlement talks about hundreds of lawsuits over the country’s opioid epidemic.

Federal Judge Dan Polster has ordered the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to decide by Monday whether it will agree to share some of the data collected through a system that shows information about manufacturer and distributor transactions and the pharmacies that buy drugs.

A lawyer representing government entities suing drug companies has requested the release of the full database.

Cleveland.com reports that Judge Dan Polster says that information can help “track whose pills went where, specifically.”

The DEA opposes releasing the full database but in a Monday court filing proposed limited disclosure of the data.

Pennsylvania
Man with red sauce on face charged with meatball theft

HAZLE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — Police say a damning clue led to the arrest of a Pennsylvania man charged with stealing a pot of meatballs — red sauce smeared on his face and clothes.

Authorities in Luzerne County have charged 48-year-old Leahman Glenn Robert Potter with burglary, criminal trespass and theft by unlawful taking for allegedly swiping a pot of meatballs from a man’s garage on Monday.

Police say the victim reported his meatballs missing and told officers at around 2:30 p.m. Monday that he saw Potter standing in front of his house with red sauce on his face and clothes. The pot was found on the street.
It’s unclear if Potter washed the sauce off before he was arrested a short time later.

Potter’s attorney did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

Arizona
Satanic Temple sues Scottsdale over prayer at City Council

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A group that invokes the name Satan as a metaphor for opposing religious tyranny has sued Scottsdale.

The Satanic Temple says the city discriminated against Satanists by denying them an opportunity to given the opening prayer at City Council meetings.

The lawsuit filed Monday asks a federal judge to find the city in violation of the First Amendment.

Satanist Michelle Shortt had been scheduled to give the prayer before a July 2016 council session.

But the city canceled it, saying it would keep with tradition in allowing prayer only from groups with substantial ties to Scottsdale.

City spokeswoman Kelly Corsette said Tuesday that Scottsdale believes it’s in line with the Constitution. The Satanic Temple says it wasn’t asked about community ties when applying to give the prayer.
 

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