National Roundup

Alaska
State and tribe reach criminal justice agreement

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The state has given a tribal government in western Alaska authority to hand down sentences for low-level offenders in its jurisdiction.

The agreement between the state and the Anvik Village Tribe has been described as a model for other tribes to take more active roles in their communities' criminal justice matters, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Under last week's agreement, law enforcement is required to offer both tribal and nontribal members the option of diverting from the state's court system to the tribal court. The tribe also has a say in whether it wants to take up the case.

The crimes covered in the agreement include most low-level drug offenses, underage drinking and misdemeanor assault.

As the state struggles with a multibillion-dollar deficit, Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said giving tribes more authority in criminal justice matters would serve as a benefit to Alaska.

"In our vast state, criminal justice resources get spread thin," she said. "By partnering with tribal governments, we get culturally based solutions. It's a win-win for the state and the tribes."

The village of Anvik is part of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a consortium of 42 Athabascan tribes in Interior Alaska.

Nick Gasca, deputy general counsel for the consortium, worked on the agreement and said it has drawn interest from tribes across the state.

"Our general feeling is that we're going to see this across our region," Gasca said. "They're going to see the good work that Anvik is able to do, and they're going to want to enter into this diversion agreement."

Gasca said the traditional criminal justice approach has proved unsuccessful in rural Alaska. The goal of the new agreement is to issue sentences that will help change offenders' attitudes and make communities safer, he said.

"The model this is looking at is restorative justice," Gasca said. "The victim is healed, the community is healed and the offender takes responsibility in a way that's meaningful that improves their lives and the community's lives rather than just going to jail and facing a bunch of fines."

The villages will be allowed to impose as much as $1,500 in civil fines or require offenders to repair or replace damaged property under the agreement. If the offender does not fulfill the requirements of the sentencing, the case can be sent back to state court for prosecution.

Connecticut
State Supreme Court to hear appeal in newlywed killing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The case of a man convicted of killing his wife of just three weeks in 2009 is heading to the state Supreme Court.

Justices are scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday on whether Chihan Eric Chyung should get a new trial.

The 53-year-old Chyung was convicted of murder and man­slaughter in 2014 in the fatal shooting of 46-year-old Paige Anne Bennett in their Norwich home. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. A judge dismissed the manslaughter conviction, saying Chyung couldn't be convicted of two homicide charges for one act.

Chyung testified his 9 mm pistol fired accidentally while he argued with Bennett.

His appeal says the jury verdicts convicting him of murder and manslaughter were conflicting. He says murder is an intentional act and manslaughter is a reckless act.

New York
Gunman who killed football player gets 25 years to life

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - A gunman who shot and killed a 23-year-old football player outside a New York restaurant has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Authorities say 26-year-old Jesmond Hart ambushed Jamar Paige in a Rochester Parking lot in 2014, shooting him four times.

A jury convicted Hart of second-degree murder in November. He was sentenced Friday in state Supreme Court in Rochester.

The victim was a standout high school football player who went on to play semi-professional football with the Monroe County Sting in the Northeastern Football Alliance. He was survived by an infant son.

Texas
Man on FBI's 10 most-wanted list arrested in El Paso

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - A man placed on the FBI's list of 10 most-wanted fugitives after authorities said he killed two men in Milwaukee was arrested Sunday in Texas, the FBI said.

Terry A.D. Strickland, 24, was arrested in El Paso and booked into the jail. He has been charged in Milwaukee with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Jail records do not list an attorney to comment on his behalf.

Authorities said Strickland was among a group of men arguing in front of a Milwaukee home July 17. Witnesses saw him go inside the house, emerge with a gun and fire into the small crowd. Authorities said Strickland fatally shot Maurice Brown Jr., 38, who was on the ground, then turned to Michael Allen Reed, 39, and shot him in the head.

"It was vicious," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said when Strickland was added to the FBI's most-wanted list last month. "It was unnecessary. Neither individual posed the slightest threat to Mr. Strickland, but they paid with their lives for occupying the same space."

Authorities have said Strickland fled from the shooting in a black SUV, abandoning his 18-month-old daughter inside the house, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The FBI said agents were led to Strickland after receiving a tip that he may be temporarily living in El Paso. The FBI in El Paso and the El Paso Police Department arrested Strickland early Sunday morning during a traffic stop. He was taken into custody without incident.

Ohio
Ex-death row inmate's bid for new trial rejected

BUCYRUS, Ohio (AP) - A judge in northern Ohio has turned down a one-time death row inmate's request for a new trial based on concerns that have surfaced around a former state crime lab worker.

Attorneys for Kevin Keith made the request and questioned whether the state forensic expert provided unreliable testimony against him at his 1994 trial.

The forensic expert who worked then for Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation has denied manipulating evidence.

But the state public defender and others have formed a task force to review cases involving the longtime forensic scientist whose credibility has been questioned.

A Crawford County judge last week rejected Keith's bid for a new trial.

Keith was convicted of killing three people in Bucyrus in 1994. His sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2010.

Published: Tue, Jan 17, 2017

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