National Roundup

Man sues state for $1 million after serving 27 years in prison

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man who spent nearly three decades in prison on a murder conviction that was thrown out by the courts is suing the state for $1 million, the maximum allowed by state law.

James Lucien, 50, was serving a life sentence in connection with the 1994 fatal shooting of Ryan Edwards, 23, in Boston when he was released in 2021. Lucien was 22 at the time of his arrest.

Lucien’s lawyer, Mark Loevy-Reyes, said his client was wrongfully imprisoned by officers known to the Boston Police Department to be corrupt.

“He brings the claim against the Commonwealth to obtain some bit of justice,” Loevy-Reyes said in a written statement. “But no amount of money can compensate him for the loss of much of his adult life and for taking him from his friends and family.”

In the complaint, Lucien’s lawyers argue that corrupt Boston police officials produced false testimony and other tainted evidence, leading to his conviction.

One of the officers involved in the prosecution of Lucien was later identified by the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office as having participated in a sprawling corruption scheme from 1990 to 1996 with other Boston Police officers to lie, rob, and steal from drug dealers by submitting false warrant applications.

A spokesperson for the Boston Police Department declined to comment Tuesday, citing the pending litigation. A representative of Gov. Maura Healey’s administration did not immediately return an email seeking comment Tuesday.

Loevy-Reyes said he also plans to file a separate federal civil rights complaint against the Boston officers and the City of Boston for an amount of damages to be determined by the jury.

The years in prison took their toll on Lucien, according to the lawsuit filed Friday.

Besides the severe trauma of wrongful imprisonment and the plaintiff’s loss of liberty, the investigators’ misconduct continues to cause Lucien ongoing health effects, the complaint argued, adding that the publicizing of Lucien’s arrest also had the effect of “permanently negatively impacting his standing in the community.”

Members of Edwards’s family had opposed Lucien’s release in 2021.

At the time of his release, Lucien said he’d been waiting decades for his freedom.

“I feel good because I’m with my family now,” Lucien said after Judge Robert Ullman cleared the convictions against him in Suffolk County Superior Court in 2021. “I’ve been waiting a whole 27 years for this, and now I have the opportunity to be free.”

Boebert’s son arrested in connection with string of vehicle break-ins

DENVER (AP) — The oldest son of U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was in a Colorado jail on Wednesday after being arrested in connection with a recent string of vehicle break-ins and property thefts.

Tyler Jay Boebert, 18, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and is facing possible felony charges of criminal possession of identification documents involving multiple victims and conspiracy to commit a felony, the Rifle Police Department said in a statement. He also faces over 15 additional misdemeanor and petty offenses, it said.

Jail records say other charges he is being held on include theft of less than $300, criminal possession of a financial device and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Police have not described what Boebert is accused of doing. They said the investigation was ongoing and would not release any other information at this time.

It was not known whether Boebert has a lawyer representing him yet.

New York
Collector pleads guilty to smuggling rare birdwing butterflies

NEW YORK (AP) — A Long Island man has pleaded guilty to illegally trafficking birdwing butterflies and other rare insects, according to a plea deal filed in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday.

Charles Limmer, 75, of Commack, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to smuggle wildlife into the country and agreed to pay a $30,215 penalty as well as hand over his collection of roughly 1,000 butterflies, moths and other insects. He faces up to 5 years in prison when sentenced.

Some of the dried specimens include birdwing butterflies, which are among the rarest and largest in the world.

Limmer was indicted last year on six counts related to wildlife smuggling, including violations of the federal Lacey Act’s prohibitions on falsely labeling and trafficking in wildlife. He could have received a 20-year sentence if convicted at trial.

They said Limmer circumvented U.S. laws by labeling shipments as “decorative wall coverings,” “origami paper craft” and “wall decorations.” He sold some of the dried lepidoptera specimens through an eBay account under the name “limmerleps,” pocketing tens of thousands of dollars.

Federal prosecutors said Limmer worked with overseas collaborators to smuggle some 1,000 lepidoptera, including some of the most endangered moths and butterflies in the world, even after his import/export license was suspended in Oct. 2022.

Federal law prohibits the commercial export or import of wildlife without permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

$1M in stolen cargo discovered in warehouse near seaport

RINCON, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in Georgia discovered an estimated $1 million worth of stolen cargo inside a warehouse a few miles from Savannah’s busy seaport.

Investigators with a search warrant found pallets of consumer goods including cellphones, food and Peloton exercise equipment, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.

The items were seized Tuesday from a warehouse in Rincon, roughly 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the main terminal gate at the Port of Savannah. Sheriff Jimmie McDuffie said his deputies were working the case with Georgia Ports Authority police and other agencies. No arrests were announced.

The sheriff’s office said investigators were taking inventory of the seized merchandise and moving it to a new location. They estimated the total value of the goods at roughly $1 million.