National Roundup

Louisiana

Appeal denied in 2007 child deaths

HOUMA, La. (AP) -- The Louisiana Supreme Court has turned down the appeal of a Mathews woman serving two life sentences for the 2009 stabbing deaths of her 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.

Attorneys for 44-year-old Amy Hebert (AY'-bair) had argued that the evidence presented during the trial was insufficient to convict Hebert because defense witnesses established that she was insane at the time of the killings. The Houma Courier reports that an appeals court had upheld the jury's verdict in the 2007 killings.

In a decision dated Friday, the Supreme Court denied Hebert's latest appeal.

Mississippi

Bond denial upheld in chemo fraud case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- A federal appeals panel has upheld the denial of bond for a doctor charged in a chemotherapy fraud case that authorities say swindled millions from Medicaid and Medicare.

Dr. Meera Sachdeva, founder of Rose Cancer Center in Summit, and two others are charged with numerous federal crimes for allegedly participating in a scheme to dilute chemotherapy drugs and bill for bigger amounts. The clinic also allegedly used old needles on multiple patients.

Sachdeva, a naturalized citizen from India, has been held without bond since her August arrest. She has pleaded not guilty.

In asking that bond be denied, federal prosecutors said Sachdeva's wealth and frequent overseas travel make her a flight risk, even after authorities seized about $6 million. They said Sachdeva has or has had medical licenses in six states. She's being held without bond.

Sachdeva had appealed the denial of bond to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel upheld a Mississippi federal magistrate's decision that Sachdeva was a flight risk.

The clinic's former office manager, 24-year-old Brittany McCoskey of Monticello, and a former billing agent, 43-year-old Monica Weeks of Madison, have pleaded not guilty and are free on bond.

The trial for all three has been scheduled for Feb. 7.

Pennsylvania

Man gets 16 years in church burglary spree

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) -- A central Pennsylvania man has been ordered to spend more than 16 years in prison for burglarizing more than two dozen churches in a little more than two months in 2008.

The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era reports 40-year-old Michael Scott Wissler called his burglary spree "inexcusable" at his sentencing hearing Tuesday in Lancaster County Court. He pleaded guilty in September.

Wissler told the court he was trying to support a serious heroin addiction when he committed 44 break-ins over the course of 63 days. More than 30 of the burglaries were at churches, the rest at other businesses.

Wissler was ordered to pay back $72,000 in damage and losses.

The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era report says Wissler received a short prison sentence for a 2004 burglary spree.

Arkansas

Judge dismisses ex-mayor's civil lawsuits

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed lawsuits filed by a convicted former Arkansas mayor against various state and federal officials and members of the media.

Former Garland City Mayor Yvonne Dockery had sued law officers, state and federal prosecutors, the FBI, state and federal judges and members of the media for alleged conspiracy against her.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that U.S. District Judge Paul Holmes found Dockery's allegations baseless and said that they have already been addressed.

Dockery is currently serving a federal prison sentence for mail fraud connected to missing money from Garland City's volunteer fire department funds and illegal contracts for police cruisers and a fire truck.

She is appealing those convictions.

Ohio

Auditor: State high court should remove web video

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The state auditor says the Ohio Supreme Court should take down a web video supporting a ballot issue that would allow for older judges.

In the video, Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor urges Ohioans to vote "yes" on Issue 1.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Auditor Dave Yost has a problem with the video's placement on the Supreme Court's taxpayer-supported website. In a statement, Yost says public dollars may be used only for a public purpose and that "ballot-box advocacy" is usually out of bounds.

Court spokesman Chris Davey says the video is meant to educate voters. He notes that the website also includes links to newspaper editorials opposed to the issue.

It would amend the state Constitution to raise the age limit for judicial candidates and appointees to 75.

New York

Commission wants town justice removed

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The state Commission on Judicial Conduct says a town justice in St. Lawrence County should be removed for handling cases involving the relatives of his live-in girlfriend.

The commission says Lafayette D. Young Jr., a justice of Macomb Town Court, "showed insensitivity to his ethical obligations" by presiding over eight cases involving the woman's relatives.

The commission says Young's "misconduct" undermines public confidence in judicial impartiality. He has been a town justice since 2004.

According to the commission, Young maintained he was not prohibited from presiding because the cases did not involve his own family members.

Young's current term expires after 2014. He is not an attorney.

Mississippi

Judge dismisses case against gun purchaser

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed charges against 31-year-old man, who was accused of lying about his criminal background when he bought a firearm from a pawn shop in 2009.

The Sun Herald reports Albert John Styczenski Jr. of Harrison County had been held without bond since August after indictment on charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and making false statements in the purchase of a firearm.

Styczenski did not dispute he had two convictions on misdemeanor domestic assault.

He argued that misdemeanors were not a crime of violence under federal law.

U.S. District Judge Walter J. Gex III agreed, and ruled Styczenski did not commit a federal criminal offense.

Published: Thu, Oct 27, 2011