Court Roundup

New York

Court says sunset glare not a driving emergency

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York's top court says turning toward the glare of the setting sun doesn't qualify as a traffic emergency that excuses ordinary negligence.

The Court of Appeals has rejected Derek Klink's claim he faced "a sudden and unexpected circumstance" from temporary blindness when his car fatally struck pedestrian Irene Lifson in February 2000.

The court, divided 5-2, is sending Klink's case back to the trial court, where a jury initially concluded the city of Syracuse was 15 percent negligent and Lifson was 85 percent at fault.

Jurors were instructed to consider the emergency doctrine, where they should first determine whether the driver faced an emergency situation and responded prudently.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman says it is well known that sunset glare can interfere with vision and cannot be considered unexpected.

New Mexico

Prosecutor appeals judicial misconduct case

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- The prosecutor who accused a Las Cruces judge of bribery is taking his allegations of judicial misconduct all the way to the state Supreme Court.

Special prosecutor Matt Chandler has asked the state's chief justice to be disqualified from hearing anything related to the matter, saying that -- among other things -- Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels publicly disparaged his case.

Chandler made the allegations against Daniels Wednesday in appealing a Las Cruces judges' dismissal of a misdemeanor ethics charges against state District Judge Michael Murphy. That judge also threw out an indictment that accused Murphy of soliciting bribes from a potential judicial candidate, although those charges were thrown out without prejudice, meaning they could be refiled. Murphy still faces one felony bribery charges.


Article 32 hearing set for Friday in slayings

RINEYVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Authorities have searched two central Kentucky lakes for evidence days before a Fort Campbell soldier accused of a double slaying is scheduled to face a second Article 32 hearing.

The Army charged Sgt. Brent Burke with two counts of murder after civilian authorities in Hardin County dismissed charges against him due to four mistrials.

He has denied killing his estranged wife, Tracy Burke, and another woman at a home in Rineyville.

The charges were referred to a general court martial after the first Article 32, but Fort Campbell spokesman Rick Rzepka said a defense motion for another hearing was granted. It is set for Friday.

Meanwhile, Kentucky State Police told The News-Enterprise that Fort Campbell officials and Louisville police searched the lakes this week for evidence in the case.

North Dakota

man faces attempted murder charge in dispute

GRAFTON, N.D. (AP) -- A Grafton man faces attempted murder and terrorizing charges for allegedly driving his neighbor out of town and shooting at him in a dispute involving four tires that disappeared from a storage shed.

The Grand Forks Herald reports that Esteban Dominguez has pleaded not guilty.

David Nelson Jr. of Grafton says in court documents that Dominguez shot at him four times on Aug. 4.

Dominguez also faces drug charges stemming from a search of his residence the day after the alleged incident. Another man who allegedly took part in terrorizing Nelson is charged as an accomplice in the case.


Man convicted in 1995 slaying gets new trial

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Supreme Court has granted a new trial to a man convicted in a brutal Memphis stabbing death, saying an error flawed the trial.

Alfred Turner was convicted in 2007 in the killing a dozen years earlier of Emily Klyce Fisher.

The 52-year-old victim was stabbed more than 50 times in February 1995 in her home. A co-defendant who was convicted as an accessory said Fisher's son owed a $20 drug debt, but wasn't home.

The high court said the trial judge erred in allowing jurors to hear that two men who Turner claimed were the assailants had been acquitted in an earlier trial, according to The Commercial Appeal.

The court ruling announced Wednesday sustains an earlier appeals court ruling.

Published: Fri, Oct 14, 2011