National Roundup

Former KKK leader gets prison for sex crime

OZARK, Ala. (AP) — A onetime Ku Klux Klan leader is going to prison after being convicted of sexually abusing a woman in southern Alabama.

The Dothan Eagle reports a Dale County judge sentenced 31-year-old Steven Joshua Dinkle to 10 years in prison. Circuit Judge William Fillmore also fined him $1,000 in an order signed Thursday.

Dinkle was convicted of sexual abuse in June after prosecutors claimed he recorded himself sexually abusing an incapacitated woman. A letter from the victim filed this week in court asks for a tough sentence for Dinkle.

Prosecutor Kirke Adams says the judge gave Dinkle the maximum sentence.

Dinkle is a former exalted cyclops of a Ku Klux Klan group in southeast Alabama. He previously pleaded guilty to helping burn a cross near a predominantly black neighborhood.

Man resentenced for killing his ex-wife in 2011

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man has been resentenced for killing his ex-wife in 2011.

The Lewiston Tribune reports 43-year-old Joseph A. Thomas Jr. was sentenced to 24 years to life in prison, with credit for six years served.

He was originally sentenced in 2011 to 25 years to life in prison.

Judge Gregory FitzMaurice said Thomas has shown an inability to hold his emotions when involved with women. He says Thomas had adequate time to stop his actions before killing Beth M. Irby-Thomas.
Nez Perce County Prosecutor Justin Coleman says Thomas strangled Irby-Thomas while their sons slept in rooms just feet away. Coleman says Thomas then tried to misdirect law enforcement and clean up the crime scene.

New Jersey
Court orders resentencing in military child abuse case

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ordered a new sentencing for a former Army major and his wife convicted of multiple counts of child endangerment, after prosecutors argued their initial sentences were too lenient.

A jury in 2015 convicted John and Carolyn Jackson on multiple counts, and a judge sentenced John Jackson to probation and Carolyn Jackson to two years in prison.

Prosecutors had sought sentences of between 15 and 20 years. During the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden chastised them, saying, “This is not a game. This is not the Giants versus Miami. This is not, ‘How many touchdowns can you get?’”

The appeals court wrote Thursday that the judge made several errors at sentencing, and it called the sentences “substantively unreasonable.”

The Jacksons lived at Picatinny Arsenal, in western New Jersey, with their biological and foster children.

Prosecutors presented evidence that the foster children had suffered broken bones and other serious health problems and were severely underweight and developmentally delayed when they were removed from the family home in 2010.

An older sibling testified the children were beaten regularly and were forced to eat hot pepper flakes and drink hot sauce as punishment. At sentencing, he told the judge his parents should receive the maximum punishment and deserved to “suffer just as much” as their children did.

One of the foster children died, but the Jacksons weren’t charged with causing his death and it wasn’t presented as evidence in the trial.

Defense attorneys argued the Jacksons’ child-rearing methods might have been unconventional but weren’t criminal. They also said the foster children had serious health problems before they joined the Jackson family.

Officer wounded in ambush sues leaders of Black Lives Matter

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A lawsuit accuses Black Lives Matter and five of the movement’s leaders of inciting violence that led to a gunman’s deadly ambush of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge last summer.

DeRay Mckesson and four other Black Lives Matter leaders are named as defendants in the suit filed Friday on behalf of one of the officers wounded in the July 17 attack by a black military veteran, who killed three other officers before he was shot dead.

The suit doesn’t name the officer, but its description of the plaintiff matches East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Tullier.

The attorneys representing Tullier previously sued Black Lives Matter and Mckesson on behalf of a Baton Rouge police officer who was injured at a protest over a deadly police shooting last July.

Lawyer accused of letting inmates use cellphone

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A lawyer who says she’s in a relationship with a prison inmate client and provided him a cellphone behind bars has been indicted on felony charges.

Investigators accuse 36-year-old Alexis Plunkett of allowing 26-year-old Andrew Arevalo and another man to use her phone while in jail.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Plunkett was indicted Thursday on 12 felony charges.

Arevalo, also indicted, and the other accused man, Rogelio Estrada, face charges alongside Plunkett.

Neither Plunkett nor her attorney Michael Becker could immediately be reached for comment.

Arevalo’s lawyer in the case, Lisa Rasmussen, says her client maintains innocence. Estrada has not been indicted.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jay P. Raman says prosecutors decided to take the case to a grand jury because there are multiple defendants and there was a lack of progress in negotiations.

Supreme Court puts ruling striking down fetal law on hold

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered that Wisconsin’s so-called “cocaine mom” law remain in effect while an appeal to a judge’s ruling striking it down as unconstitutional is pending.
The court issued a stay Friday, agreeing to Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel’s request.

The law permits the detention of pregnant women suspected of drug abuse but a federal judge in April ruled it was unconstitutionally vague. Schimel had argued that not allowing the law to remain in effect could have “disastrous consequences.”

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier denied Schimel’s request for an emergency stay.

Opponents of the law argue it discourages pregnant women struggling with addiction from seeking prenatal care, is vague and overly punitive.

Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were against granting the stay.