National Roundup

Bridgeport mayor admits stealing from community

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — The mayor of a southeastern Illinois town faces up to 80 years in federal prison and $1 million in fines now that he’s admitted using bogus invoices to skim money from his community.
Fifty-six-year-old Bridgeport Mayor Max Schauf pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Benton to three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstructing justice.
Schauf admitted he submitted false invoices, contracts and bills to the town for services and equipment, then took a portion of money from all of them for his personal use.
It’s unclear how much money Schauf is accused of stealing though the scheme, which investigators say began in July 2008 and ended in March 2011.
Schauf was charged last November.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 8.

Woman receives probation for sex with stepson, 15

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — A 27-year-old Nebraska woman has been given five years of probation following her conviction for having sex with her 15-year-old stepson.
The Grand Island Independent reports that the woman was sentenced for sexual assault. She’d pleaded no contest after prosecutors lowered the charge and dropped another. She was sentenced on Wednesday in Hall Country District Court.
The Associated Press is not naming the Grand Island woman to protect the identity of her stepson.
Police say the boy was 15 when his stepmother began having sex with him. Investigators say the boy’s father called police to report he had seen his wife having sex with the boy, who is 16 now.
State law prohibits people 19 or older from having sex with anyone under 16 years old.

Feds want man’s death penalty sentence invoked

BOSTON (AP) — Prosecutors have asked a federal appeals court to reinstate the death penalty sentence handed down to a man who killed three people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Gary Sampson, a drifter who grew up in Abington, was convicted in 2003 of killing 19-year-old Jonathan Rizzo of Kingston, and 69-year-old Philip McCloskey of Taunton, and 58-year-old Robert Whitney of Concord, N.H. over a six-day stretch in 2001.
He was sentenced to death, but in 2011 a judge ordered a new sentencing trial because one juror had intentionally answered questions dishonestly on a juror questionnaire in an attempt to hide her family’s criminal past.
Sampson’s lawyer said the juror’s lies were relevant.
Prosecutors argued Wednesday there was no reason to set the sentence aside, since issues on the questionnaire were not connected to Sampson’s crimes.

New York
Panel: Teacher Facebook rant didn’t merit firing

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City teacher who ranted about her students on Facebook should not have been fired.
That’s the finding of a state appellate panel, which upheld a lower court ruling that Christine Rubino was entitled to keep her job.
The three-judge panel wrote that while Rubino’s comments were inappropriate it was apparent she was venting “her frustration only to her online friends after a difficult day with her own students.”
Her lawyer said he was grateful for “a very humane decision.”
The city Department of Education said it was reviewing its options regarding her rehiring.
In her comments, the P.S. 203 teacher called her fifth graders “devil’s spawn” and said she “hated their guts.”

Teen gets new trial in attack on police officer 

MIAMI (AP) — A teen convicted of an attack on an off-duty Miami-Dade police officer will get a new trial.
The Miami Herald reports that in court documents filed Wednesday, prosecutors agreed that 19-year-old Willie Barney should be tried again because the judge should have allowed his defense attorney to dismiss a prospective juror during jury selection.
Instead, the juror was eventually selected and helped convict Barney in the September attack on Officer Wislyn Joseph outside a church. The officer survived a point blank shot to the chest.
Barney had faced up to life in prison during a sentencing hearing next week.
Barney’s attorney originally agreed to the juror. But while mulling over potential jurors the next day, asked to strike the juror. The judge refused and prosecutors originally agreed.

State would allow group to join in abortion lawsuit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas attorney general’s office says it has no objection to an anti-abortion group’s request to help defend a new law banning the procedure 12 weeks into a pregnancy.
The attorney general’s office on Thursday responded to the request by Concepts of Truth to intervene in the federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the new restriction. The Wynne-based group provides counseling to women considering getting an abortion and to women who have had the procedure.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Center for Reproductive Rights sued the state over the ban last month. The groups filed the suit on behalf of Dr. Louis Jerry Edwards and Dr. Tom Tvedten, who provide abortions at a Little Rock clinic.
A hearing is scheduled May 17 over the lawsuit.

Facebook, firm called Timelines settle lawsuit

CHICAGO (AP) — There’s a settlement in a lawsuit against Facebook Inc. in which Timelines Inc. alleges the media giant violated its trademark of the word “timeline.”
Word of a settlement came in a filing this week in U.S. District Court in Chicago. No details were disclosed. A judge is expected to formally dismiss the lawsuit Thursday.
In 2009, Chicago-based Timelines launched, which enables users to track historical events and their personal lives online.
Two years later, Facebook released a feature it called “timeline,” which similarly highlights users’ lives in chronological order.
Facebook asked the presiding judge to throw out Timelines’ lawsuit, arguing the word “timeline” is too generic to be trademarked.
But the judge refused, noting Facebook itself sought legal protection of common words it’s trademarked, including “poke” and “like.n