National Roundup

American Samoa

$260K to defend American Samoa man in murder case

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) -- The High Court of American Samoa has ordered the territorial government to set aside $260,000 for the defense of a man accused of fatally shooting a police lieutenant in 2010.

The public defender's office asked the court for an order to have the government set aside enough money to properly defend Siaumau Siaumau Jr. in the death penalty case. He was previously represented by a private attorney.

The order issued last week is the first such request by the public defender's office. Siaumau is the first person in American Samoa to face the death penalty in more than 50 years.

Siaumau is charged with first-degree murder in the death of detective Lt. Liusila Brown outside the temporary High Court building.

A trial date has yet to be scheduled.

Georgia

Court dismisses appeals over motorsports park

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia's highest court has dismissed the appeals of a husband and wife who sued Dawsonville city officials over plans for a motorsports park near their horse training farm.

In the Supreme Court of Georgia's unanimous opinion announced Tuesday morning, Justice David Nahmias says the couple failed to follow the correct appeals procedure.

In April 2009, the city rezoned property to allow for the development, which involved people paying a fee to ride cars, go-karts and motorcycles. Two months later, West and Helen and Hamryka sued city officials, saying the plans would create noise, congestion and pollution that would cause irreparable harm to their home and business.

Missouri

Dog helps some get through the court process

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) -- Sophie, a mutt of a dog with draping ears and dotted brows, is helping people in St. Louis County court tell stories of crime to judges, investigators and attorneys.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Sophie is the region's first court therapy dog and one of only three known to be working in Missouri. She has been part of St. Louis County courts since October.

Sophie does her best work lying at the feet of children, many of whom are in court to discuss sexual assault by other youths, often relatives or family friends. The children can reach down and pet Sophie when they need to.

Detractors of therapy dogs in court say the animals can prejudice the court in favor of the defendant.

California

Ex-cop gets $450K to settle reprisal suit

GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) -- A former Los Angeles County police officer will receive $450,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against the Glendale Police Department, alleging he suffered retaliation after raising concerns over giving helicopter rides to civilians.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that the settlement led to the dismissal of David Gillispie's lawsuit last week in Superior Court.

Gillispie, who retired in December after 16 years on the Glendale force, said in his 2009 lawsuit that he was transferred from his pilot's job to regular patrol after reporting in 2007 that the department's practice of auctioning helicopter rides at charity events violated Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

The city said the transfer was due to Gillispie's work performance.

City Attorney Michael Garcia said the city chose to settle rather than go to trial.

Nevada

Lawyer files another suit over motorcycle helmets

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- An attorney has filed another lawsuit challenging southern Nevada's authorities' enforcement of a state law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.

The Las Vegas Sun reports Travis Barrick is taking a different approach with his latest suit, three months after a similar suit he filed was tossed by a federal judge.

Last year, he sued Clark County, Las Vegas and four other cities in the county on behalf of 12 motorcyclists who thought they complied with the helmet law by wearing gear such as "skull caps" and crown-like novelty helmets.

In the latest suit, motorcyclist David Stilwell alleges three police officers in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Boulder City made subjective decisions when they cited him for wearing similar headgear.

The suit was filed Friday in federal court.

Iowa

Wife of man shot by cops sues over death

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The wife of an Ogden man who was fatally shot by authorities during a May 2010 standoff has filed a federal lawsuit against law enforcement agencies, claiming they used excessive force and were negligent.

Lorna Kimsey said in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Southern Iowa, that authorities violated Randall Kimsey's rights when they entered his home, sparking the fatal shooting.

The Des Moines Register reported that the filing claims officers who were investigating reports of harassing phone calls to a neighbor went to the Kimsey home and asked to speak with Randall, who was sleeping. He came to the door allegedly armed with a handgun, then turned his back to officers and retreated into his house. A standoff ensued.

Authorities tried for several hours to negotiate with Kimsey before power was cut to the home and six officers entered, setting off flash bombs, according to the lawsuit.

Kimsey came out of an upstairs bedroom and was shot. The lawsuit said Kimsey had 14 bullet wounds and officers left 33 shell casings at the scene.

Boone County Sheriff Ron Fehr declined to comment, saying he hadn't yet seen the lawsuit.

Fehr said in 2010 that officers decided to go into the house based on Kimsey's suicidal past and their inability to reach him by phone. He had said Kimsey was shot after he fired two rounds from his own weapon, striking one of the officer's protected helmets.

The lawsuit requests a jury trial and seeks unspecified monetary compensation.

Published: Wed, May 30, 2012

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