National Roundup

Idaho
Deputy charged with sex act with an underage girl

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho County sheriff’s deputy is charged with having a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Prosecutors allege 31-year-old Daniel L. Funderberg became involved with a 16-year-old girl this summer and told investigators that he had sex with the girl at his house.
Sheriff Doug Giddings says Funderberg was placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 3. He is scheduled to appear in Lewis County Magistrate Court on Dec. 20 on a charge of felony sexual battery committed by having lewd and lascivious contact with the girl.

Texas
Houston strip club will put $100K in fund

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston strip club facing allegations of being an unwelcome neighbor and crime haven has agreed to put $100,000 in a nuisance abatement fund to settle with the city.
Houston City Attorney David Feldman on Monday announced the agreement with the club called Treasures.
The city and Harris County in May went to court seeking to close the club for allegedly harboring prostitution, drugs, illegal weapons and sexual assault. Lawyers for Treasures denied the allegations.
The Houston Chronicle reports Treasures attorney Casey Wallace says he’s pleased with the settlement and has called on county attorneys to dismiss their case. First Assistant County Attorney Terry O’Rourke says the county plans to go to trial.
The newspaper has submitted a Texas Public Information Act request for details of the confidential settlement.

Tennessee
Chattanooga man gets 60 years in his son’s death

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A judge in Chattanooga has sentenced a man to 60 years in prison in the death of his 3-year-old son.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, 32-year-old Reginald Tumlin would be eligible for parole consideration in 27 years, but could not yet be released from prison. He would then have to serve consecutive terms for 20 years of probation violations.
A Hamilton County Criminal Court jury convicted Tomlin in June in the abuse death of Jaylen Ramsey on charges of aggravated child neglect, child abuse and criminally negligent homicide. An autopsy on the child’s body revealed a bowel perforation from blunt force trauma as the likely cause of death. There were more than 50 bruises, numerous lacerations and healing burns.

Rhode Island
Prison officers call RI release program ‘lenient’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The union representing state prison officers is launching a campaign criticizing what it says is Rhode Island’s dangerous early-release program.
The Providence Journal reports that the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers cited a decision, later put on hold, to release Alfred Brissette Jr. more than 20 years before his original release date. He pleaded no contest to murder for killing a woman in 1999 that the state Supreme Court called a “thrill killing.”
The union said Monday that the Parole Board is lenient and unaccountable. The union also takes issue with provisions under which an inmate may have time taken off a sentence for good behavior.
Parole Board Administrator Matt Degnan said he and Board Chairman Kenneth Walker would not comment.
The union said it will run TV, radio and online ads.

New York
FBI agent faces charges in public lewdness case

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say an FBI agent has been charged with public lewdness after a trucker told state troopers that the man made lewd gestures toward him while not wearing pants and driving on the Thruway outside Buffalo.
State police tell local media outlets that Special Agent John Yervelli of the FBI’s Buffalo office was charged late Friday night after a trooper pulled over his minivan at a toll plaza just south of the city.
Officials say a truck driver traveling in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 told troopers the man driving the van wasn’t wearing plants when he pulled alongside the truck and made lewd gestures.
The 48-year-old Yervelli was released on a ticket to appear in Eden Town Court.
FBI officials say they’re not commenting on the charge.

West Virginia
State Supreme Court looks for tidier appeals

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The state Supreme Court says some lawyers need to do their homework.
The high court issued an administrative order Monday criticizing sloppiness and frivolous appeals that include legal briefs filed without legal citations and appeals with only minimal arguments.
Chief Justice Menis Ketchum, a former trial lawyer, said the justices are wasting time trying to figure out what point lawyers are trying to make.
“There’s a lot of lawyers that file a lot of good briefs, but we’re just getting numerous briefs that you can’t make heads or tails out of,” Ketchum said.
The justices said appeals shouldn’t be filed unless a lawyer believes in good faith that a lower court committed an error.
In December 2010, the court started issuing full opinions or short memorandum decisions in every case. Since then, lawyers’ use of “creative methods” to get the court to hear appeals have increased, Justice Thomas McHugh wrote in a Nov. 15 opinion.
“Nothing has changed as to the professional responsibility of lawyers to proceed only on meritorious issues,” McHugh wrote.
Lawyers are supposed to include an index in often-lengthy court briefs that helps the justices and their clerks find key information in cases.
Some lawyers do this well, “but if it’s all thrown in a box and we have to go through the whole box trying to figure out what they are doing, it wastes hours and hours and hours of time,” Ketchum said.
The Charleston Daily Mail reports other problems cited by the justices include “rambling” arguments and the “cutting and pasting” of material from lower court filings that don’t meet the court’s standards.
The justices said lawyers could receive warnings or risk having their cases thrown out if they don’t do a better job.?

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