National Roundup

Texas
Couple wins suit over bogus mass grave prediction

HOUSTON (AP) — A judge has awarded nearly $7 million to a Southeast Texas couple who sued a self-described psychic over her bogus 2011 tip of mass graves on their land.
The Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday that a judge May 7 ruled against Presley “Rhonda” Gridley. She failed to show up to respond to the defamation lawsuit filed by Joe Bankston and Gena Charlton of Liberty County.
A judge ruled Gridley game false information to the Liberty County law officers claiming dozens of bodies were buried at a home. Nothing was found in an extensive search.
No charges were filed against Gridley, who couldn’t immediately be located for comment Thursday.
An attorney for the couple says the next step will be pursuing whether the $6.8 million verdict will be collectible.

Pennsylvania
2 jurists picked for ex-judge’s cocaine case

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — The state Supreme Court has picked two judges to handle the criminal case of a former western Pennsylvania judge charged with stealing cocaine from police evidence files in cases before him.
Former Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky’s preliminary hearing Thursday has been postponed indefinitely.
He was charged by the state attorney general last month after retiring abruptly without explanation and moving to Anchorage, Alaska last June. His attorney has declined to specifically address allegations that Pozonsky stole the drugs and tried to replace some of them with baking soda before a supervising judge removed from hearing criminal cases early last year.
Senior District Judge Michael Gerheim of Armstrong County has been appointed to handle Pozonsky’s preliminary hearing. Senior Bedford County Judge Daniel Lee Howser will handle the case in Common Pleas Court.

Tennessee
Judge lectures female attorneys to dress properly

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge has drafted a letter, telling female attorneys to dress professionally at court.
The Tennessean reported Rutherford County Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor said he has received a number of complaints from lawyers concerning other attorneys’ apparel choices.
Taylor said he found judges weren’t holding female attorneys to the same standard as male lawyers.
In his notice, Taylor wrote he has advised women attorneys that jackets should have sleeves that extend below the elbow and noted attorneys’ personal appearance in court is a reflection upon the legal profession.
Attorney Lisa Eischeid said Taylor is equally demanding of male attorneys and said she once saw him hold a man in contempt for appearing without a jacket.

New Jersey
Judge upholds NJ school’s ban on strapless dresses

SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) — The right to bear arms doesn’t extend to eighth-grade girls in a central New Jersey school district.
A judge has found the girls will not suffer “irreparable harm” by being made to wear at least one strap on their dresses at a dance off school grounds Friday.
The Readington Middle School school board last month decided to ban girls from wearing strapless dresses to the dance to spare them from wardrobe malfunctions. The principal had earlier prohibited the dresses because she said they would distract boys.
A lawyer for two parents tried to stop the ban. But a judge on Wednesday found the girls are not being deprived of their rights.

Missouri
St. Louis circuit attorney pushes for ‘gun court’

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce is renewing her call for creation of a “gun court” to better respond to firearms-related crimes in the city.
Joyce told KMOX Radio that St. Louis has a huge gun problem. Her comments followed an especially brutal night Monday when 17 people were shot.
A proposal to establish an “armed offenders docket” has been under discussion for about a year. Enabling legislation failed in the Missouri Legislature this past session. Joyce is calling on judges to set up the gun docket on their own.

Massachusetts
GPS distraction blamed for death of pedestrian 

MENDON, Mass. (AP) — Police say an 18-year-old woman distracted by her GPS struck and killed a man walking along the side of a Mendon road.
Chief Ernest Horn says the Franklin woman told investigators that she was not familiar with the area and glanced down to adjust her GPS navigation system.
Horn says she struck 56-year-old Danvirgil Zamfir of Woonsocket, R.I., who had parked his pickup truck in front of Nipmuc Marine & Auto and was walking alongside the vehicle to a boat trailer, just after noon on Wednesday.
Zamfir was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The woman was not arrested but will be summoned to court to face charges of vehicular homicide, driving to endanger, impeded driving and failing to stay in marked lanes.

New York
Man, 66, back in NY to face ‘83 charge of rape

GENESEO, N.Y. (AP) — A 66-year-old Ohio man has been brought back to western New York to face charges stemming from a 30-year-old rape case.
New York State Police announced last week that Gary Smith had been arrested in West Jefferson in central Ohio after investigators received a tip about his location.
Authorities say Smith was charged in 1983 with raping a woman in Livingston County, south of Rochester. He failed to show up for his trial two years later and had been sought by police ever since.

Minnesota
Man accused in sex assaults is guard at mall

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A prosecutor says a former Minneapolis police officer accused of sexually assaulting young girls shouldn’t be working at a shopping mall.
Assistant Anoka County Attorney Paul Young has asked a judge to find Bradley Schnickel in violation of his release. Schnickel works as a security guard for the mall and an apartment building. One of the conditions of his release prohibits him from contact with juvenile females.
Schnickel tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press his conduct has not been in conflict with the court’s conditions.f

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