National Roundup

LAUSD to pay $1.4M for sex abuse scandal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Unified School District officials were ordered Wednesday to pay a special needs fourth-grader $1.4 million after she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a male classmate in Chatsworth.
Santa Monica jurors decided on the sum following an eight-day trial that found poor program supervision at Superior Street Elementary was to blame, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The boy assaulted the girl behind a shed and tree in spring 2010, at a supervised after-school program.
One staffer supervised as many as 100 students, giving the 10-year-old boy opportunity to take the 9-year-old girl to locations on campus and force her to submit to and perform sex acts, according to court records.
They were caught the fifth time after a teacher heard them behind the shed. The boy admitted to the multiple assaults that day.
The school district didn’t immediately provide comment. Before trial, the girl’s family had declined a settlement offer of $225,000.
On the eve of the trial, lawyers for the school district admitted the boy had a troubled history in the after school program, and supervision was known to be substandard.
The boy had a long history of sexual aggression, and had punched a child in the genitals, made sexually inappropriate remarks and exposed himself to students, according to court records.
The girl’s attorneys said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has other emotional problems, including a fear of males, nightmares, flashbacks and crying spells.

Judge hearing gun lawsuit is also gun owner

DENVER (AP) — A federal judge assigned to hear a lawsuit filed by sheriffs challenging Colorado’s new gun laws is a gun owner herself but says she doesn’t believe a recusal is warranted.
Judges typically disclose potential conflicts of interest in cases they hear.
In court documents filed Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger says she owns and is proficient in the use of firearms. Magistrate Judge Michael Watanabe also is assigned to the case. He doesn’t own any firearms but disclosed that he has worked with two sheriffs who are among the plaintiffs.
Both judges said they don’t believe recusal is necessary.
The sheriffs contend that new Colorado laws limiting the size of ammunition magazines and expanding background checks infringe on the Second Amendment. The state hasn’t filed a response yet.

County to pay $2 million to settle retaliation suit

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Orange County has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit by a former sheriff’s lieutenant who was demoted after running against ex-Sheriff Mike Carona.
The Orange County Register says a settlement was signed last week to end Bill Hunt’s six-year-old case. Most of the money will cover Hunt’s pension and reimburse his legal fees.
Hunt was demoted to patrol duty after losing the 2006 election for sheriff but retired instead. In December, a judge awarded him reinstatement and granted him back pay, saying Carona had engaged in a campaign of retaliation.
Carona was sheriff for nine years before he was indicted for corruption in 2007. He’s serving a 5 1/2-year federal sentence for witness tampering.

Judge apologizes for lag unsealing case documents

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge apologized last week for an 18-month delay in unsealing documents in a case involving an alleged leak of classified information to a reporter.
The documents include two warrants and related materials for the email accounts of Stephen Kim, a State Department adviser who faces charges of leaking secret information about North Korea to Fox News reporter James Rosen.
The warrants and materials, which had originally been ordered unsealed in November 2011, will be unsealed this week. Royce Lamberth, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, said that a “series of administrative errors by the court’s staff” caused the delay.
A third search warrant, along with an affidavit for some of Rosen’s private emails, had also been ordered unsealed in November 2011, but those weren’t unsealed until last week. Those materials showed that as part of the Kim investigation, the government tracked Rosen’s comings and goings from the State Department, and an FBI agent said there was probable cause to believe the reporter broke the law. Rosen wasn’t charged.
There was also a delay in unsealing Lamberth’s 2010 order that the government wasn’t required to notify Rosen that his emails had been the subject of a warrant. Although that order was posted on the court’s website, it was not available on the public docket until now.
“The clerk’s office has been unable to explain why none of these errors were discovered as a result of our ‘quality control’ efforts to double-check docket entries and orders daily,” Lamberth wrote in an opinion unsealing the records.
The judge said the court will review performance of personnel involved as well as the court’s administrative processes.
“The court apologizes to the public and the media for the administrative errors made by the court’s staff in these matters,” he wrote.
The clerk’s office declined to comment.

Lawyers for death row inmate ask SCOTUS to act

ATLANTA (AP) — Lawyers for a Georgia death row inmate are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in to prevent the execution of their client, who they say is mentally disabled.
Lawyers for Warren Hill have long argued he is mentally disabled and shouldn’t be executed. Three experts for the state who originally said Hill was not mentally disabled now say he is, citing advances in research.
A federal appeals court temporarily halted Hill’s execution in February to consider whether he should have a new hearing on the new testimony. The court ruled last month Hill is procedurally barred from having a new hearing. No execution date has been set.
The Supreme Court previously granted a similar request from lawyers for Troy Davis, a Georgia death row inmate who was later executed.?