National Roundup

Massachusetts
Judge refuses to dismiss suit over ‘copycat’ weapons

BOSTON (AP) — A judge has denied Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed against her over her crackdown on “copycat” assault weapons.

Judge Timothy Hillman says in an order issued Wednesday gun shops have valid questions as to whether Healey gave them fair notice about the ban. He says they have a “plausible claim” that Healey deprived them of property without due process.

The Democratic attorney general sent a notice to gun sellers and manufacturers in 2016 saying state law bans a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon, such as copies of the Colt AR-15 and the Kalashnikov AK-47.

She says an estimated 10,000 copycat assault weapons were sold in the state in 2015.

A spokeswoman for Healey says they will continue to vigorously oppose the challenge.

Vermont
Court sides with inmate over cost of phone calls

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s Supreme Court has sided with an inmate who says the cost of making phone calls from prison is too high because the state didn’t use a competitive bidding process.

Vermont Public Radio reports the court ruled that prisoner Kirk Wool might be entitled to a court order forcing the state to seek competing bids.

Wool says the company providing phone service for prisoners charges $8 per minute. He says other companies charge $3.

The ruling overturned a lower court’s dismissal of the claim and sent the case back down for more proceedings.

The high court agreed with the lower court that Wool is not entitled to monetary damages.

Indiana
Judge suspended for barring clerk from courthouse

HARTFORD CITY, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana judge has been suspended without pay for six days for barring a county’s clerk from entering a courthouse.

The Indiana Supreme Court issued the suspension Wednesday for Blackford Circuit Court Judge Dean Young after a judicial panel recommended the punishment last month.

The Star Press reports the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications had alleged that Young violated the Code of Judicial Conduct when he barred Blackford County’s then-clerk, Derinda Shady, from entering the courthouse for six days in August 2015.

Young and the county’s other judge had clashed with Shady over her reaction to a plan to eliminate two positions on her staff.

Young’s suspension starts Monday. The former state lawmaker is in the final year of his second term on the court.

He isn’t seeking re-election.

Delaware
Attorney punished for demeaning, sexual comments

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The Delaware Supreme Court has punished an attorney for making sexually explicit and demeaning remarks in correspondence to state prosecutors and a court.

Despite Joseph A. Hurley’s denials in a 23-page written response about what he calls “Hurleygate,” the court ordered the 75-year-old Wilmington lawyer to enroll in a professional training program on respecting others, and to refrain from inappropriate sexual or religious discussions.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports the state Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed two separate petitions in 2016 accusing Hurley of violating the state’s attorney conduct rules. They accuse Hurley of making “disparaging or demeaning remarks” about multiple attorneys and a client — including remarks about Jews and women and allegedly requesting sexual favors — despite being repeatedly told his comments were inappropriate.

Alabama
Police: Agitated worker killed nurse in hospital

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a disgruntled employee killed a nursing supervisor and wounded another medical worker before killing himself inside a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

Police say 63-year-old nurse manager Nancy Swift was shot to death at UAB Highlands Wednesday night. The say another hospital employee also was shot but survived. Authorities described the shooter as a disgruntled employee who opened fire before turning the gun on himself.

Police didn’t release the names of the wounded person or the suspected gunman.

UAB Highlands is a campus of UAB Hospital, which is part of the medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Officials say the hospital has metal detectors that were in use, but they didn’t explain how the shooter entered the building with a gun.

New Jersey
Preschool director accused of pulling knife on 4-year-olds

PLAINFIELD, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey preschool administrator accused of threatening two misbehaving students with a knife is facing charges.

Union County prosecutors say 64-year-old Adetokunbo Akinnaso, of Sicklerville, is charged with two counts of cruelty or neglect of children. She has been removed from her post and could face up to three years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Akinnaso was the director of the Dawn To Dusk Christian Childcare and Learning Center in Plainfield when the two 4-year-olds were brought to her office for disciplinary reasons earlier this year. Prosecutors say she brandished a knife and threatened to harm the children if they continued misbehaving.

The children were not harmed.

It’s not known if Akinnaso has retained an attorney. The preschool, which serves students through age 13, has declined comment.

Ronald Bolandi, the interim schools superintendent in Plainfield, said the city’s childcare centers are privately owned and the district does not hire their staffs, but it does provide resources for students to attend the centers.

“In order to ensure the safety of our students, the center director was removed immediately and will not be returning to the preschool,” Bolandi said in a statement. “This requirement was necessary in order for the owner to continue her contract with the district.”

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