National Roundup

New York

Court backs transit agency in '93 WTC bombing case

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York's top court has found the World Trade Center managers immune from negligence claims for failing to deter the 1993 parking garage bombing that killed six people and injured about 1,000.

In a ruling Thursday, the Court of Appeals was divided 4-3 in reversing lower courts.

The majority conclude that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs area airports and owns the trade center site, is entitled to government immunity for its security measures at the building.

A jury found the agency failed as a mainly commercial landlord to maintain reasonably safe premises and was 68 percent at fault, blaming terrorists for the other 32 percent.

A midlevel court upheld that ruling.

About 200 claims in the case were filed. Most have been privately settled.


Spokane police serve search warrant for fetus

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Spokane police have served Planned Parenthood with a search warrant for an aborted fetus in hopes of proving a child rape case through the use of DNA.

KREM-TV reports that a 15-year-old girl reported that she became pregnant by a 21-year-old man in early August. When her parents learned about the pregnancy from her school at the end of the month, they took her to Planned Parenthood for an abortion.

Detectives say if DNA from the fetus matches a sample from the suspect, it would show paternity and prove the allegation of third-degree rape of a child.

The DNA testing is likely to take several weeks.

A Planned Parenthood spokesman says privacy laws prevent him from commenting, but the agency cooperates with law enforcement.


Insurers' 9/11 suit against Saudis dropped

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A lawsuit accusing Saudi Arabia of funneling money to al-Qaida has been dropped by insurers that paid out millions following the September 11 terror attacks.

The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown reports the suit brought by a Lloyd's of London insurance syndicate was withdrawn Monday. The dismissal notice does not indicate why the suit was dropped.

Lloyd's attorney Stephen Cozen tells The Tribune-Democrat he could not comment beyond confirming the dismissal.

The suit aimed to recoup $215 million paid out on policies covering airlines, security companies and airport authorities. It claimed that Saudi Arabia made charitable donations to Muslim groups that were then funneled to al-Qaida.

An appeals court in New York had said in 2008 that the Saudi royal family and other defendants were immune from such lawsuits.


High court upholds sentence in juvenile case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the life without parole sentence of a convicted killer who was 17 at the time of the crime.

The court issued its ruling in the case of Lemuel Whiteside on Thursday.

The now 20-year-old Whiteside was 17 when he was implicated in the 2009 death of James London. He was later convicted of capital murder.

Defense attorney Tom Sullivan had argued that Whiteside should not have been sentenced to life in prison without parole because he didn't kill or intend to kill London.

The Supreme Court -- however -- agreed with an attorney for the state who said Arkansas law carries an automatic sentence of life without parole for a capital murder conviction and asked that Whiteside's conviction and sentence be upheld.

New Mexico

Mother's conviction upheld in son's death

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) -- A state appeals court has upheld the conviction for a New Mexico mother who left her 26-year-old mentally disabled son dead on the bathroom floor in his own waste for an extended period of time.

The Farming Daily Times reports that the state Court of Appeals rejected Wednesday claims by Sandra Greenwood that jury instructions were confusing to jurors and that that prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence for a conviction.

The 64-year-old Bloomfield resident was convicted in May 2009 of second-degree neglect of a health care resident resulting in death after her son, Jared, who suffered from severe mental retardation and autism. He was found dead on the bathroom floor covered in human feces, dirt and garbage.

Greenwood was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in September 2009.


Drug court closing in Bangor for money woes

BANGOR, Maine (AP) -- The Maine drug court in Bangor is closing its doors.

Penobscot County deputy district Attorney Michael Roberts says people who are already in the program will continue to participate but no new defendants are being admitted.

The Bangor Daily News ( says Maine's five other drug court programs will continue, as will the year-old Family Drug Court in Bangor. The other drug courts for adults serve Cumberland, York, Hancock, Androscoggin and Washington counties.

The money that went to the Penobscot County program, which had the highest failure rate in the state, will be shifted to what is known as the mental health court in Kennebec County, which has been shown to be more effective.

Drug courts help people with substance abuse problems find treatment.

Published: Fri, Sep 23, 2011