Court Round Up

Mississippi: Police shooting retrial set for Jackson
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The federal retrial this month of a man accused in the 2008 shooting of a Jackson police officer will stay in Jackson, but the jury will be selected in Gulfport.

The Clarion-Ledger reports U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan once again has reversed himself on the location for Antonio Turner’s retrial.

In May, Jordan reversed an earlier decision and moved Turner’s trial from Jackson to Gulfport after jury selection began citing publicity about the case.

Now, jury selection will begin Aug. 19 in Gulfport and the trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 23 in Jackson.

Turner was convicted in 2009 on three counts related to the robbery of a payday lending store, but jurors could not agree on charges related to the shooting of Patrolman DeWayne Collier.

New Jersey: Insurer prevails over NJ Supreme Court justice
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Supreme Court Associate Justice Jaynee LaVecchia has lost a dispute over her husband’s $22,000 medical bill.

An appeals court sided with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, which said the back treatment was experimental or investigational.

LaVecchia’s husband, Michael Cole, was on the justice’s health plan when he sought laser treatment to relieve back pain in 2006.

The Office of Administrative Law found Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression, which is used to repair a herniated disc, is effective but needs more evaluation.

LaVecchia argued the state wrongly classified the treatment as experimental because that was inconsistent with finding it effective.

South Dakota: Lawsuit against tribe is dismissed
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge has granted the federal government’s request to dismiss its lawsuit over a civil complaint filed in Yankton Sioux Tribal Court against two Bureau of Indian Affairs police officers.

A tribal member said the officers violated her free speech rights when they questioned her about a reckless driving report and arrested her for obstruction.

The U.S. Attorney’s office went to court to block the tribal court from proceeding. It said the tribe didn’t have jurisdiction and such complaints would make it harder to recruit BIA officers.

The government later asked that its lawsuit be dismissed after the complaint was withdrawn in tribal court.

California: Fresno judge’s jokey jury chatter ruled immaterial
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A Fresno County Superior judge says a fellow judge made “an ill-advised attempt at humor” when he sent a series of e-mails bemoaning his service as a regular juror in a murder trial, but did not commit misconduct that should earn the defendant a new trial.

Superior Court Judge Arlan Harrell ruled Tuesday that neither Judge James Oppliger’s behavior with his 11 fellow jurors nor the e-mails he sent to Harrell and 21 other judges caused

Ruben Ortiz to be convicted of second-degree murder in a rival’s shooting death.

Harrell denied Ortiz’s request for a new trial following a hearing in which Oppliger was called as a witness.

Oppliger testified that one of his e-mails talked sarcastically about the lawyers in the case, but he denied making any negative comments about the defendant.

Louisiana: Lawyer database created for oil spill victims
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The National Bar Association is creating a database of attorneys for residents seeking legal help in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.

The group announced Tuesday that its attorney database will be posted on its Web site.

The oil spill already has spawned hundreds of lawsuits and many more claims by individuals and businesses.

The bar association is holding its 85th annual conference in New Orleans this week.

Tuesday’s session included a panel discussion marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It included remarks by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, a Louisiana native who was credited with helping restore order in New Orleans after the storm.

North Dakota: Prosecutor wants judge to settle complaint
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A prosecutor wants a district judge to decide whether she withheld evidence in a felony case against North Dakota’s former workers compensation director.

Burleigh County prosecutor Cynthia Feland faces a disciplinary complaint for her handling of the case against Sandy Blunt. The complaint says Feland didn’t turn over a state auditor’s memo that would have helped Blunt’s defense.

Blunt was convicted of misspending more than $26,000. The state Supreme Court upheld his conviction last month.

Feland wants a judge to rule on whether she acted properly. She says Blunt’s lawyer already had the information in the memo. Blunt’s lawyer, Mike Hoffman, said Tuesday he will ask that the case be dismissed, or that Blunt be given a new trial.

Feland is running for a district judgeship this fall.