National Roundup

Settlement for family of teen killed by officer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Relatives of an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by police in Madison, Wisconsin, say they have settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for $3.35 million.

Attorneys for the family of Tony Robinson announced the settlement Thursday. City attorney Mike May says the city doesn't have an immediate statement. The Robinson family plans to address the media Thursday afternoon.

Madison police officer Matt Kenny, who is white, shot the unarmed 19-year-old man in an apartment house after responding to calls about Robinson behaving erratically. Kenny was later cleared of criminal wrongdoing and an internal investigation found he didn't violate any police policies.

The shooting sparked protests throughout the city and calls for examination of police use of force.

Inmate gets18 years for drug sales while in jail

ATLANTA (AP) - A Ware County inmate has been sentenced to more than 18 years for distributing methamphetamine and heroin while in custody at Ware State Prison in Waycross, Georgia.

U.S. Attorney John Horn, in a news release, said a federal judge added 18 years and four months to the sentence 35-year-old Kevin Patterson already was serving.

Horn's spokesman, Bob Page, says Patterson used a contraband cellphone to set up drug deals, conspiring with two other inmates to deal 649 grams of methamphetamine and 334 grams of heroin. The drugs were sold in five separate transactions between July 2014 and October 2015.

Page says co-defendant, 26-year-old Alex Altamirano, who is also at Ware, linked Patterson to 30-year-old Denis Pineda, Altamirano's nephew and an Atlanta drug trafficker.

Patterson introduced Pineda to a drug buyer, who was a former inmate working with police. Page says Patterson expected to earn $500 every time a deal was made.

Patterson pleaded guilty in August, while Pineda and Altamirano were convicted in May.

Ex-legislator must pay $4.3M in defamation case

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - An Oklahoma jury has ordered a former state legislator to pay $4.3 million to an insurance company in a defamation case.

The defamation charge arose because Wayne Pettigrew, who was a director at First Trinity Financial Corp. until he left the company in 2013, issued a news release after his departure calling for an investigation into the company and its CEO related to stock purchases.

The Oklahoman reports that a jury found Pettigrew breached his fiduciary duties to First Trinity and defamed the company and CEO Gregg Zahn.

First Trinity was awarded $800,000, and Zahn was awarded $3.5 million. The jury says Pettigrew intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon Zahn.

Pettigrew says his attorneys are preparing an appeal.

New Hampshire
Lawyer in prep-school sex-assault case: Defense wasn't ideal

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A lawyer who represented a New Hampshire prep school graduate at his sexual assault trial says the defense team's work wasn't ideal.

Owen Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, was convicted in 2015 of misdemeanor sexual assault and child endangerment, but acquitted of rape, for his encounter with a 15-year-old classmate in a game of sexual conquest at St. Paul's School in Concord. He also was convicted of a felony computer charge that requires him to register as a sex offender for life.

Labrie is now seeking a new trial, arguing his lawyers harmed his case in part by failing to challenge the felony charge earlier.

On Thursday, attorney Samir Zaganjori said waiting to challenge the charge until after the verdict was not "ideal representation" but he said overall Labrie received effective counsel.

Bond denied for woman accused of abducting Muslim

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - An El Paso woman will remain in jail after a federal magistrate denied bond following testimony that she abducted another woman because her "lifestyle brought shame to the Muslim community."

The judge determined Wednes­day that 35-year-old Norma Juarez Taha was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Court records show Taha was charged with one count of kidnapping after allegedly abducting the 20-year-old woman from her home, drugging her and taking her to Juarez, Mexico.

People in the home where she was taken took her to the border crossing earlier this month and turned her over to U.S. officials.

A court-appointed attorney for Taha says the victim's allegations are a fabrication and that Taha has always been law-abiding.

Taha is a naturalized U.S. citizen who's described in court documents as Mexican-Muslim.

Woman convicted in killing seeks new DA analysis

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Attorneys representing a woman convicted and imprisoned at age 19 in the 2001 killing and sexual mutilation of a homeless man in Las Vegas are asking to have evidence in the case re-examined.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that attorneys for Kirstin Lobato said Wednesday that they hope the Clark County district attorney's office newly formed conviction review unit will examine the evidence. They say the evidence can be analyzed through forensic testing that was not available at the time of Lobato's second trial in 2006.

Lobato was convicted in the 2001 death of Duran Bailey. Last year, the Nevada Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing on several claims raised by Lobato, who appealed her conviction in the slaying and mutilation case.

Divided State Supreme Court upholds DNA fee

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court says a $250 fee charged to a Racine woman to collect and process her DNA samples was correctly levied, even though it did not have to be assessed at the time of her conviction.

The court ruled 6-1 to uphold a state appeals court decision finding that the fee was legally assessed to Tabitha Scruggs. Justice Shirley Abrahamson dissented.

Scruggs was convicted of burglary in April 2014. She was ordered to provide a DNA sample and pay a $250 surcharge. That charge was not mandatory when she was charged but was when she was sentenced.

The Supreme Court says Scruggs did not prove that imposition of the DNA surcharge was punitive.

Abrahamson argues in her dissent that imposition of the fee amounted to illegal extra punishment.

Published: Fri, Feb 24, 2017