National Roundup

 Arizona

Fraternity under scrutiny for party marking MLK Day
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona State University fraternity’s operations have been suspended following accusations that the local Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter hosted a distasteful party in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, replete with racist stereotypes and offensive costumes.
“We regard the behavior exhibited as completely outrageous, extraordinarily offensive and wholly unacceptable,” said James Rund, ASU’s senior vice president for Educational Outreach and Student Services. “This kind of behavior is not tolerated by the university, and we intend to take swift and immediate action.
Pictures from the party made their way onto social media websites, depicting guests dressed in basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and holding watermelon-shaped cups. 
 
West Virginia
Judge: Lawsuit improved state’s juvenile system
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A judge says changes spurred by a lawsuit have improved West Virginia’s juvenile corrections system.
Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn issued his final order in the case on Tuesday. He directed the state Supreme Court’s Adjudicated Juvenile Justice Rehabilitation Commission to continue monitoring the system.
Aboulhosn says in the order that the Department of Juvenile Services has adopted new policies and practices to address issues raised by the lawsuit. These issues included room confinement, strip searches and disciplinary procedures.
Mountain State Justice filed the lawsuit in 2012 over conditions at the former Industrial Home for Youth in Salem. The lawsuit evolved into an examination of the state agency.
 
Kansas
Judge refuses to split military school abuse suit
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a Kansas military academy’s request to split up a lawsuit brought by 11 former cadets alleging the school fostered a climate of abuse.
Attorneys for St. John’s Military School in Salina contended each ex-cadet’s claims were unique and that jurors in a single trial could get confused.
But U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum ruled Friday that all the ex-cadets allege the school failed to protect them from abuse by other students. He says the claims involve common questions of law and fact.
Lungstrum also said he was not persuaded that the risk of prejudice from a single trial is so great that the parties and the court should suffer the “great inconvenience and added expense” of 11 separate trials.
Trial is set for March.
 
California
3 charged in LA-area wildfire that burned 5 homes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three men were charged in federal court Tuesday with causing a wildfire in the Southern California mountains that destroyed five homes and injured six people.
Clifford Henry Jr., 22, of Glendora, and two homeless men — Steven Aguirre, 21, and Jonathan Jarrell, 24 — were charged with unlawfully setting a campfire, and each could face up to five years in prison if convicted, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.
The three men were arrested Thursday and would spend the night in federal custody, U.S. attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek said.
It was not immediately clear whether they had obtained attorneys. They were expected to appear in federal court on Wednesday.
The fast-moving wildfire burned more than 3 square miles, destroying five houses and damaging about 17 homes and other buildings. It prompted an evacuation order for thousands of people in the communities of Glendora and Azusa before winds eased and fire crews were able to begin surrounding it.
 
New York
Court to hear Apple’s appeal over monitor
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court judge has temporarily suspended the work of a court-appointed monitor assigned to make sure Apple Inc. has safeguards in place to comply with antitrust laws.
Judge Raymond J. Lohier Jr. signed the order Tuesday. He suspended the two-year appointment of a monitor until a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals can decide “as soon as possible” if a longer suspension is necessary.
A lower-court judge appointed a monitor after concluding last summer following a trial that Apple had colluded with book publishers in 2010 to raise electronic book prices.
Apple claims the monitor was “conducting a roving investigation” that interfered with Apple’s business. The monitor disputed that.
Lohier ordered the government to submit arguments by Friday on its opposition for a stay.
 
Florida
6 gay couples sue to overturn marriage ban
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Six gay couples have filed a lawsuit in South Florida seeking to overturn Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on behalf of the couples by Equality Florida Institute Inc. The lawsuit claims Florida’s gay marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
Similar claims have been made in other states, where judges in many cases have struck down gay marriage bans as discriminatory. Florida attorneys said there are about 40 lawsuits challenging same-sex marriage bans pending around the country.
Florida voters enshrined a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution in 2008. Attorneys for the gay couples say they believe public opinion is different now and that judges are increasingly concluding the laws are unconstitutional.
 
Maine 
Man crawls 2.5 miles after crash in snowmobile
MEXICO, Maine (AP) — A Maine man said he crawled 2 1/2 miles in below-freezing temperatures to get help after breaking his leg in a snowmobiling accident.
Nicholas Brown said it took him more than six hours to crawl down a hill in the town of Mexico last week to get to a friend’s house.
The 57-year-old Brown told the Sun Journal in Lewiston that he had gone to his snowmobiling club’s house last Thursday to leave membership applications and maps.
He lost control going around a corner on some ice on his way home at about 9 p.m.
He didn’t have a cellphone, so he used his elbows to crawl on his belly a mile and a half to a road. Then he got up on his hands and knees to crawl, arriving at the friend’s home at 3:30 a.m. Friday.

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