National Roundup

 Oklahoma

Cherokee girl’s parents’ lawyers seek $1M in fees 
NOWATA, Okla. (AP) — Attorneys for the adoptive parents of a 4-year-old girl caught up in a custody dispute are seeking $1 million in legal fees from the Cherokee Nation and the girl’s biological father, who is a member of the tribe.
Attorneys representing Matt and Melanie Capobianco have filed paperwork seeking legal fees incurred while fighting the lengthy custody battle over 4-year-old Veronica.
In September, Dusten Brown handed Veronica over to the Capobiancos after the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted an emergency stay keeping the girl in Oklahoma.
The Tulsa World reports that attorneys for the Capobiancos are seeking $1 million to be split among four law firms. The newspaper says none of the money would go to the Capobiancos.
 
California
Man busted for selling rustled cow costumes 
REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) — Police in Southern California have busted a cattle costume rustler after he tried to sell the stolen suits online.
Redlands police say the two 7-foot cow costumes created for the Chick-fil-A chain were nabbed in separate restaurant burglaries.
The costumes turned up for sale for $350 apiece on Craigslist on Oct. 30.
An undercover officer arranged to buy the bovine attire in time for Halloween. When the seller produced the black-and-white outfits, he was arrested.
Forty-three-year-old Robert Michael Trytten, of Riverside, is being held for suspicion of possession of stolen property on $275,000 bail.
The costumes were valued by the restaurant at $2,800 apiece.
Police also recovered a pop-up canopy stolen from the restaurant. All the property was returned to Chick-fil-A.
 
Ohio
Court orders county sheriff to be removed 
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered a northeast Ohio sheriff removed from office because he doesn’t have the required experience.
The court ruled against Stark County Sheriff George Maier (MEYE’-er). He was appointed early this year in Canton to fill a vacancy.
The court ruled his service from 2007 to 2011 with the Ohio Department of Public Safety only reflected part-time law-enforcement work.
Ohio law requires a sheriff to have four recent years of full-time law-enforcement work.
The court ordered the reinstatement of the acting sheriff. Party leaders must appoint a sheriff to replace the elected Democrat who was unable to serve because of poor health.
 
Louisiana
Ex-officer who won new trial seeks bond 
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — One of five former New Orleans police officers who won a new trial in connection with deadly shootings on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina is seeking his release from prison.
Former Sgt. Kenneth Bowen on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to release him pending prosecutors’ appeal of the judge’s decision in September to order a new trial.
Bowen’s attorney, Robin E. Schulberg, said her client is willing to submit to whatever conditions of release the court would choose to impose. Prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to Bowen’s request.
Less than a week after Katrina’s 2005 landfall and levee breaches, police shot and killed two unarmed people and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge. Bowen and three other former officers were convicted of federal civil rights charges stemming from the shootings and a subsequent cover-up.
A fifth former officer, Arthur Kaufman, was convicted of charges that he orchestrated the cover-up. Kaufman, who wasn’t charged in the shootings themselves, was serving a six-year prison sentence when Engelhardt agreed last month to free him on bond pending a new trial that hasn’t been scheduled yet.
Bowen, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and the other three officers convicted at trial have remained in custody since they surrendered to federal authorities following their 2010 indictment.
Engelhardt cited allegations of “grotesque” prosecutorial misconduct in his decision to throw out their convictions. The Justice Department has appealed his ruling.
Schulberg argued that her client’s prolonged detention is unconstitutional under the circumstances.
 
Louisiana
Texas Brine sued by their insurer ov­er big sinkhole  
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — One of the insurers for Texas Brine Company has filed a lawsuit accusing Texas Brine of ignoring warnings about the potential for disaster if it continued mining an Assumption Parish salt dome cavern.
The suit arises from the massive sinkhole created after the cavern collapsed in 2012.
Liberty Insurance underwriters Inc. says in the federal lawsuit that Texas Brine’s own people and others warned for years about the potential problems. The lawsuit cites internal company reports, memos and an email suggesting Texas Brine officials were warned with increasing specificity since the mid-1970s — before the cavern was even permitted and mined — that the area where the cavern was planned was close to the salt dome’s outer face, according to The Advocate.
Liberty, which faces $50 million in exposure as Texas Brine’s third insurer in line, is asking U.S. District Judge Lynne Hughes in Houston to declare the company does not owe Texas Brine under the policy because of their prior knowledge.
Liberty’s lawsuit quotes internal documents portraying Texas Brine as pushing back against suggestions from the one-time well owner, Vulcan Materials Co., to mine the cavern at a shallower depth than had been planned to avoid the deeper trouble areas.
“Texas Brine knew in 1998 that the western wall of Oxy Geismar #3 was already ‘precariously’ close to the edge of the salt dome, and that to continue increasing the level of salt reserves mined could ‘cause a disaster,’” the Liberty lawsuit concludes.
The sinkhole is now 26 acres, has led to a 15-month evacuation of about 150 homes in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities, home buyouts, the emptying of surrounding storage caverns and a barrage of lawsuits against Texas Brine and Occidental Chemical Corp., a New York-based company from which Texas Brine leased the site.
Texas Brine mines caverns from deep, solid columns of salt known as salt domes with wells drilled and pumped with fresh water. The water dissolves the salt and leaves behind a cavity. The watery brine byproduct is shipped by pipeline to petrochemical plants.

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