National Roundup

Arkansas: Convict asks state to return confiscated cash
TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — An Ashdown man sentenced to 126 years in prison for selling drugs now wants the state of Arkansas to return $4,085 he says it confiscated from him.

According to court documents, LaQuince T. Hogan submitted his request in early October. The Texarkana Gazette reports that no hearing on the matter is scheduled.

District Prosecutor Bryan Chesshir calls the 37-year-old Hogan “one of the largest drug dealers in Little River County.” A jury sentenced Hogan to the prison term in 2009 and fined him $26,000.

The confiscated money is now part of the state’s Prosecuting Attorney Drug Asset Forfeiture Fund.

Authorities searched Hogan’s property during an investigation into the August 2008 shooting death of a woman in front of Hogan’s house. They say they found 10,300 hits of powdered cocaine mixed with crack.

Georgia: State Supreme Court reinstates tax lawsuit
ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Supreme Court has reversed a lower court’s decision and reinstated a lawsuit by a man who claims that some private Atlanta development projects have received unconstitutional tax breaks.

By a 4-3 vote, the court ruled Monday that the lower court prematurely dismissed a lawsuit by John Sherman, president of the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation, before reviewing all the facts.

Sherman’s suit alleges that the methods used by the Fulton County Board of Assessors to assess the value of properties called “bond transaction leaseholds” is illegal and unconstitutional.

Sherman says bond transaction leasehold estates are assessed at less than fair market value and developers pay less in property taxes.

The high court’s majority says the trial court was wrong to dismiss the case based only on written arguments.

Texas: Suit over image on inspection stickers for cars
BOERNE, Texas (AP) — A photographer has sued Texas alleging a cowboy image on millions of vehicle inspection stickers is being used without his permission.

David K. Langford of Comfort says he owns the copyright. The lawsuit asks a court to block the Department of Public Safety from further use or issuance of the stickers, plus award damages and legal fees.

The San Antonio Express-News reported Monday that the stickers were produced by state inmates under a Texas Department of Criminal Justice contract with DPS. Both agencies, named as defendants, declined comment.

Langford says he took the photo in 1984 and he believes an inmate scanned the image from a Texas Parks and Wildlife publication.

Langford attorney Jimmy Carter says as many as 5 million disputed stickers have been issued.

Wisconsin: Jefferson man found guilty in double killing
JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) — The man accused of killing an Oconomowoc police officer and her boyfriend outside of a Jefferson tavern has been found guilty of a lesser charge.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports 25-year-old Andrew J. Wirth of Jefferson was accused of killing 37-year-old police officer Jennifer Luick and her boyfriend, Gregg Peters.

The jury acquitted Wirth on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but convicted him on two counts of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon.

Jurors had been deliberating since 4 p.m. Saturday.

Wirth now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines for both counts.

The incident occurred in the early morning of Dec. 6, 2009, at a popular Jefferson bar, Vinnie’s Rock Bottom.

Kentucky: Judges, lawyers work to schedule in death case
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Judges in two courts and a batch of attorneys are negotiating schedules to set a resentencing and new trial stemming from a 1991 killing in central Kentucky.

Scheduling issues, appeals and changes in attorneys have delayed setting dates for Michael St. Clair to return to court for the 1991 killing of Bardstown resident Frank Brady.

St. Clair won a new trial on capital kidnapping charges in Hardin County, where Brady disappeared from in 1991. He also won a new sentencing on capital murder charges on appeal in Bullitt County, where prosecutors say Brady was killed. Both decisions overturned death sentences.

The Elizabethtown News-Enterprise reports that during a hearing in Shepherdsville on Wednesday, special Judge Ken Conliffe set a Dec. 8 hearing to discuss scheduling.

St. Clair, who has gone through multiple attorneys, also is serving multiple life sentences, without parole, for murder convictions in Oklahoma.

Kansas: Settlement in Topeka arena forklift lawsuit
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by a woman who was injured after tripping over a forklift at Landon Arena in Topeka.

Shawnee County District Court records show the case filed against SMG — the Philadelphia-based group that manages the Kansas Expocentre — was removed from the court’s active docket Sept. 29 because of the settlement, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported Sunday.
Court records didn’t reveal the settlement amount.

Topeka attorney Thomas B. Diehl filed the lawsuit in August 2009 on behalf of Mysel Sherraden against Shawnee County, Cumulus Broadcasting and SMG. Cumulus Broadcasting and Shawnee County were eventually dismissed from the suit.

SMG replied in court documents that the forklift was “obvious and could have been avoided.”

Court documents said Sherraden sustained damages totaling about $130,783 from an accident that occurred when she tripped over a forklift and fell. She was attending a cooking school hosted by Cumulus Broadcasting, SMG and the Expocentre, which is owned by Shawnee County.

District Judge David Bruns had scheduled a settlement conference in the case for Sept. 28, the day before the settlement was entered into court records.

Sherraden’s lawsuit said she sustained serious personal injuries, permanent disabilities and permanent disfigurement. The suit sought judgment for damages that included past and future medical care and treatment; loss of earnings and earning capacity; and pain, suffering and mental anguish.

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