National Roundup

Illinois
Michael Jordan, Jewel-Osco reach name settlement

CHICAGO (AP) - Spokespeople for Michael Jordan and a supermarket chain say there's a settlement regarding the alleged misuse of the basketball star's name.

The case involves Jewel-Osco's use of Jordan's name in a 2009 Sports Illustrated ad. In August, a jury awarded Jordan $8.9 million from the now-defunct Dominick's for using his name in a similar ad.

Jewel and Jordan were set for trial in December, but a judge said they may be interested in a quick resolution given the Dominick's judgment. Attorneys disclosed settlement talks in October.

Jordan spokeswoman Estee Portnoy says the deal was reached last week. Jordan will donate the money.

It's unclear how the deal affects the earlier judgment. Dominick's operated under supermarket chain Safeway, which merged with Jewel parent Albertsons.

Albertsons spokesman Brian Dowling says terms are confidential.

New York
Man with samurai sword terrifies Apple customers

NEW YORK (AP) - A man swinging a samurai sword at an Apple store terrified shoppers on Friday.

The man walked into the Manhattan store and began waving the sword, authorities said. A video posted online showed him swinging the sword as he walked down a staircase.

Lawyer Nancy Birnbaum, who lives nearby, told the New York Post she was browsing at the store when she spotted the man on the staircase.

"I thought he was doing some sort of performance art, but then he pulls out this sword with a huge 2-foot-long blade, and it was dead obvious that it was a real sword," she said. "I've never been so terrified in my entire life."

The man appeared to be emotionally disturbed, police said. He was taken into custody at the scene, and his name was not immediately released. No injuries were reported.

Mississippi
Suit accuses Biloxi of running 'debtors prison'

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Biloxi is running a modern-day debtors' prison by jailing people who cannot afford to pay fines, The American Civil Liberties Union argues in a lawsuit.

The group filed suit on behalf of several people including Joseph Anderson, a disabled man who spent eight nights in jail over an unpaid speeding ticket, The Sun-Herald reported.

Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. has placed a hold on the suit pending settlement negotiations, with a joint status report due Jan. 15.

City attorneys are "involved in good-faith discussions with the ACLU. We want to be fair to everyone," said Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel.

He said the city implemented a community service program and legal counsel for defendants in 2005.

"We believe the lawsuit is a good thing and good will come from it," he said.

According to the lawsuit, Biloxi should have known better than to violate people's rights, since neighboring Gulfport, was sued over a debtors prison complaint 10 years ago.

A similar lawsuit was filed in September against the City of New Orleans, with trial scheduled in August 2016.

The SCHR dropped the lawsuit against Gulfport in 2007 after settlement discussions.

The city bought a new court filing system, though John Kelly, chief administrative officer, said the purchase was unrelated to the lawsuit.

New Mexico
Officials: state's child porn law lures offenders

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A weak child pornography law in New Mexico is attracting offenders to the state, officials said.

A 2014 New Mexico Supreme Court ruling limits child porn possession charges to a single count regardless of the number of images involved, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Special Agent in Charge Anthony Maez, who heads the state attorney general's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, said law enforcement has noticed New Mexico's lax rules being discussed online, and that traffickers in child pornography are moving to the state as a result.

"These individuals know New Mexico is more lenient than other states," he said. "So the consequences don't outweigh the crime."

Attorney General Hector Balderas plans to try getting previously failed legislation approved in 2016 to allow a charge to be filed for each image depicting child pornography, as some states do.

The Internet has given people possessing child pornography a way to spread the images quickly. But Maez says authorities have uncovered sex abuse online that may otherwise have stayed hidden.

"It does help us identify these individuals," he said.

Maez said the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, where most of the task force's tips come from, has identified over 9,600 victims of child pornography around the world.

An estimated 5 million children have been affected.

Florida
City sues, but Christmas light show goes on

PLANTATION, Fla. (AP) - A South Florida city is suing to shut down a massive annual Christmas display in a South Florida couple's front yard.

But with the lawsuit stalled in the legal system, the light show in a Plantation suburb will go on this holiday season.

The Sun Sentinel reports the city has declared the Kathy and Mark Hyatt's display a nuisance since it draws hundreds of people each night. A hearing was postponed during the summer and hasn't been rescheduled.

So, for the third year in a row, police will shut down part of the road near the couple's home, keeping cars away from a road that's clogged with pedestrians looking at the lights.

Over the years, the Hyatts have said the display is a matter of property rights.

New York
Venue owners appeal fine for denying wedding

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Lawyers for the owners of an upstate New York wedding venue who refused to host a lesbian wedding argued that they were following their Christian faith.

The owners of Liberty Ridge Farm north of Albany refused to host the 2013 wedding of Melisa and Jennie McCarthy, citing their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. The state's Division of Human Rights ruled that the business owned by Robert and Cynthia Gifford violated New York's anti-discrimination law and fined them $13,000.

Lawyers for the Giffords challenged the ruling Monday before a mid-level appeals court in Albany. The couple's lawyers contend they were exercising their constitutional rights.

Published: Tue, Nov 24, 2015

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