National Roundup

South Carolina
Teacher who stomped flag gets $85,000 payment

CHAPIN, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina high school teacher removed from the classroom when he stomped on an American flag while discussing freedom is being paid $85,000 to avoid a legal challenge.
The State newspaper obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act that show Chapin High School teacher Scott Compton is being paid the settlement by Lexington-Richland District 5, in addition to his salary through June 7.
Compton resigned as part of the settlement after criticism about his actions last December. The documents also show that the school district will pay attorney fees of nearly $32,000 for Compton.
The payments were not disclosed when Compton’s resignation was announced March 27.
A school spokesman said Compton’s lawyers had indicated they would file a complaint in federal court about school officials who sought his dismissal.

‘Girls Gone Wild’ founder convicted on assault charge

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis was found guilty Monday of misdemeanor counts of assault and false imprisonment stemming from a dispute with three women after a night out at a Hollywood club in 2011.
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said in a statement that after a two-week trial, a jury convicted the 40-year-old Francis of three counts of false imprisonment, one count of assault causing great bodily injury and one count of dissuading a witness. He faces a maximum of five years in prison.
Francis met the three women as they celebrated a college graduation at a the Supper Club in Hollywood on Jan. 29, 2011, took one of them by the hand as he left and took her to his limo, and the other two followed thinking Francis was giving them a ride to their car, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Francis took the women to his home and a dispute broke out when he tried to separate one from the other two, with Francis grabbing one of the women by the hair and throat and slammed her head into the floor.
After an investigation, the district attorney declined to file felony charges in the case and referred it to the city attorney, who filed the misdemeanor charges.
Previous phone numbers for Francis were disconnected, and neither he nor his attorneys could immediately be reached for comment.
Francis’ company, GGW Brands LLC, filed for bankruptcy in February after years of legal troubles, listing more than $16 million in disputed claims.

Jury convicts Va. man of trying to kill 7 police 

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A jury has found a Virginia man guilty of trying to kill seven Montana law enforcement officers by throwing pipe bombs at their vehicles during a chase in north-central Montana.
Laurence Alan Stewart II was convicted Monday in Great Falls of seven counts of attempted deliberate homicide for his actions during a 45-minute chase Nov. 1, The Great Falls Tribune reported.
Cascade County Attorney John Parker said his office would seek a sentence of life in prison without parole.
At the time of the chase, Stewart was wanted for setting off pipe bombs Oct. 30 in Stafford County, Va., at the homes of two law enforcement officers and his ex-fiancee, who had a restraining order against him. That information was not included in the Montana trial, and those charges are still pending.
Several officers testified about the chase between Stanford and Belt, two Montana towns about 40 miles apart that are southeast of Great Falls. Jurors also watched dash-camera video and a profanity-laced video Stewart mailed to his father in which he threatened to kill any police officers who tried to arrest him.
Sgt. Landon Koteskey testified Friday that he didn’t see Stewart throw a pipe bomb from his vehicle but noticed the bomb just as his vehicle was passing over it as he pursued Stewart.
The explosion dinged the tailgate of his pickup truck but did not cause significant damage, Koteskey said.
Defense attorney Steven Scott argued the bombs exploded far enough away from law enforcement officers that they weren’t injured and that Stewart’s intent in throwing them was more of a warning for police to leave him alone.
Cascade County Attorney John Parker argued Stewart’s intent was documented in both the act of throwing pipe bombs and in statements made in the video he sent to his father on a computer memory card.
“People will die, I guarantee it,” Stewart said in the video message.
“The bottom line is he built the bomb, lit it and threw it,” Parker said. “I think we’re more than there on all seven counts.”

Judge dismisses challenge to abortion funding 

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed the state of Minnesota was wrongfully charged for more than 37,000 abortions for indigent women.
A conservative legal group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, claimed when it filed the lawsuit last November that the state Department of Human Services was paying for abortions for women on medical assistance that weren’t medically necessary, without the legal authority to do so. The lawsuit alleged that the state was failing to adequately review whether those abortions were really performed for “therapeutic reasons,” which state statutes and case law define as meaning medically necessary or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
But Ramsey County Chief District Judge Kathleen Gearin dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice last week, meaning it can’t be filed again.
In an order dated last Thursday, Gearin ruled that the department’s decision to rely on a doctor’s assurance that a patient is seeking an abortion for legitimate therapeutic reasons is “neither illegal nor unreasonable.” Ruling otherwise requires the court to get “excessively entangled” in the department’s operations and polices, she said.
“The procedure set up by DHS is the exercise of its discretion may not be perfect, but it does ensure that the woman’s right to privacy in consulting with her doctor about a difficult decision is protected,” she concluded.
The department issued a statement saying it was pleased with the judge’s order.
But Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said his group was disappointed and “seriously contemplating an appeal.”


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