National Roundup

Missouri

Busch suit leads to family dispute

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A wrongful-death lawsuit filed against former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV over the drug overdose death of his girlfriend has set off a squabble within her family.

The lawsuit filed last week accuses Busch of carelessness and negligence in the December death of 27-year-old Adrienne Martin at Busch's estate. It seeks unspecified damages for her 8-year-old son.

An autopsy identified an accidental oxycodone overdose as Martin's cause of death, though it showed she also had cocaine in her system.

Busch's attorney says his client denies liability.

The child's father, Dr. Kevin Martin, is a plaintiff on his son's behalf. But Martin's mother told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she plans to intervene because she fears the friendship between Busch and Martin could affect the outcome of the suit.

New York

Probe: Poughkeepsie police officer tipped drug dealers

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) -- Town of Poughkeepsie police say one of their own was tipping off drug dealers in exchange for cocaine.

Retired officer David Palazzolo (PAL'-uh-ZOH'-loh) is accused of using department computers to learn the identities and whereabouts of undercover narcotics officers and trading the information for cocaine supplied by two admitted drug dealers.

The 47-year-old Palazzolo was released on $100,000 bail after his arraignment Thursday. He's due back in court May 16.

Palazzolo, a 20-year veteran patrol officer, retired in November and moved to North Carolina with his wife and three children.

Palazzolo pleaded not guilty to the counts of conspiracy, receiving a bribe and computer trespass, all felonies. If convicted of the most serious charges, he could face a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in state prison.

Texas

Ex-Texas judge changes plea, admits to bribery

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A former South Texas judge who originally declared his innocence in a more than $250,000 bribery and extortion investigation hours later changed his plea and confessed to accepting payoffs.

Ex-State District Judge Abel C. Limas was arrested Thursday after the indictment in the racketeering investigation was unsealed.

Limas, 57, initially pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio. Later Thursday he appeared before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen and pleaded guilty in a plea agreement.

A federal grand jury indicted Limas on Tuesday accusing him of soliciting and accepting bribes and extorting as much as $257,000 from people with cases before his court, their attorneys and representatives in exchange for favorable rulings.

The former police officer, who served as a judge from 2001 through 2008, is free on a $50,000 unsecured bond.

Sentencing is set for July 5. The sentence for racketeering ranges from 10 years in prison to life behind bars, plus fines.

The indictment also accuses four attorneys and another person of involvement in the scam. They have not been indicted. The 17-page indictment did not name the lawyers and the person accused of acting as the go-between.

The U.S. attorney's office plans to seek forfeiture of at least $257,000 from Limas, who declined comment after his guilty plea.

Limas, on his law office website, described himself as a former Brownsville police officer and detective with more than 30 years of experience in the legal industry. He presided over 160 jury trials, according to his website.

"This experience has equipped me with yet another point of view when analyzing the facts of my client's case. In addition, as a former judge, I can quickly and precisely determine if a court is acting within the boundaries of justice, allowing you to feel confident that justice will be served," Limas says in his online attorney profile.

The Democrat failed in his 2008 re-election bid.

California

Court: Teen cannot sue Calif over stabbing

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A California appeals court has ruled that a San Francisco teenager who was stabbed by a parolee cannot sue the state.

Scott Thomas, the parolee accused in 15-year-old Loren Schaller's stabbing, was improperly released from San Quentin on a Friday in 2007 and could not report to his parole officer within two days as state law requires.

But the Court of Appeal in San Francisco said last week even then, the state is not responsible for parolees' actions. The court in a 3-0 decision upheld a lower court ruling.

The 26-year-old Thomas was convicted of attacking Schaller in San Francisco the day after he was released, leaving her seriously wounded. Another man, 60-year-old Kermit Kubitz, was also stabbed.

Andrew Schwartz, Schaller and Kubitz's attorney, told the San Francisco Chronicle he would ask the state Supreme Court to review the case.

Tennessee

Citation over front yard toilet planter dismissed

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) -- An eastern Tennessee man has won what became the battle of the bowl when the city cited his front yard toilet planter as rubbish.

William Terry's appeal of his citation went to City Court in Oak Ridge where a judge dismissed it Thursday, ruling the city's definition of rubbish was overly broad.

Flush with success, Terry told the Knoxville News Sentinel he might celebrate by flanking his driveway with two more commodes.

Judge Robert A. McNees III praised the city's effort to clean up neighborhoods and encouraged its continuation, but said the city must enact ordinances in language citizens can understand.

Connecticut

Teen's family sues police for fatal crash

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- The family of a teenager who authorities say was killed when a Milford police cruiser smashed into his car at 94 mph in 2009 has filed a lawsuit claiming that two officers were racing at the time of the crash.

The New Haven Register reports that the estate of David Servin recently filed the lawsuit seeking more than $15,000 against the two officers, Milford Police Chief Keith Mello and the city in New Haven Superior Court.

Police officials deny that former Officer Jason Anderson and Officer Richard Pisani were racing their cruisers when Anderson crashed into Servin's car in Orange. Servin and Ashlie Krakowski were killed. Both were 19-year-old residents of Orange.

Anderson was fired and is now headed to trial on manslaughter charges.

Published: Mon, Apr 4, 2011

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