National Roundup

Georgia
Court: No right to copy court reporter’s recordings

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s highest court says the makers of a popular podcast series do not have the right to copy audio recordings made during a murder trial by a court reporter.

The second season of the “Undisclosed” podcast featured the case of Joey Watkins, who was convicted of murder and other crimes for his role in the January 2000 slaying of Isaac Dawkins in northwest Georgia. He was sentenced to serve life plus five years in prison.

Undisclosed LLC argued the recordings are court records, and rules governing the courts provide for the right to copy court records.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Nels Peterson wrote in an opinion published Monday that, under common law, court records include only materials filed with the court. The recordings at issue weren’t filed with the court.

Hawaii
Judge orders man to write nice things about ex-girlfriend

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — A judge on the Hawaiian island of Maui has handed down an unorthodox sentence to a man who pleaded no contest to violating a protection order preventing him from contacting his ex-girlfriend.

Judge Rhonda Loo ordered Daren Young on Friday to write 144 compliments about his ex-girlfriend, in response to the 144 “nasty” text messages and calls that he is accused of sending her.

“For every nasty thing you said about her, you’re going to say a nice thing,” Loo told Young. “No repeating words.”

Young, 30, received time served for spending 157 days in jail before being sentenced, the Maui News reported. Besides being told to pay the compliments, he also received two years of probation, $2,400 in fines and 200 hours of community service.

“It’s so childish to think a grown man can be so thumb-happy,” Loo said.

Young told Loo he will not reach out to the ex-girlfriend again and is moving forward with his life.

She sought the protection order, which was issued Feb. 22. He was ordered not to contact her, including by phone.

But two months later, Young called and texted her 144 times within a three-hour period, police said.

“I don’t know whether I should cut off your fingers or take away your phone to get you to stop texting,” Loo told Young. “You probably shouldn’t get a phone, period. I hope she changed her number.”


Washington
Supreme Court declines to hear gun case from West Virginia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is leaving in place an appeals court ruling that concluded police can frisk someone they believe has a weapon.

The court declined Monday to take a case out of West Virginia in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit concluded that an officer who makes a lawful traffic stop and has a reasonable suspicion that one of the automobile’s occupants is armed may frisk that individual for the officer’s protection and the safety of everyone on the scene.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, joined by attorneys general for Indiana, Michigan, Texas and Utah, had asked the court to hear the case. Morrisey said innocent gun owners have the right to carry weapons “without the fear of being unreasonably searched.”

Nebraska
Mom accused of locking kids out in 91-degree heat sentenced

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a south-central Nebraska woman who locked her two children out of their home in 91-degree heat has been given 12 months of probation.

Court records say 29-year-old Kirsten Tunender pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of negligent child abuse after prosecutors lowered the charge from a felony. She was sentenced Thursday in Adams County Court.

Authorities say a neighbor spotted the 2- and 8-year-old girls trying to get into their Hastings home on June 11. When officers knocked on the residence doors, no one answered. Police said the children seemed OK in the 91-degree heat and didn’t need medical attention.


Arizona
Tribe ordered to recognize same-sex marriages

PHOENIX (AP) — A tribal court has cleared the way for gay couples to marry on an American Indian reservation in the Phoenix area after a two-year legal battle that could have repercussions for Native Americans elsewhere.

The court ruled that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry under the constitution of the Ak-Chin community and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

“This decision made it clear that the tribal law was unconstitutional under tribal law” and not just U.S. federal law, said attorney Sonia Martinez, who represented the same-sex couple in the lawsuit. “I have no idea if other tribes are going to do the same thing, but I think it at least opens the door.”

Ak-Chin Indian Community Chairman Robert Miguel said he would not appeal the ruling.

“Today marks the conclusion of a lengthy but necessary legal exercise — one that respects the rights of tribal members and honors the sacred sovereignty and self-governance of the Ak-Chin Indian Community,” Miguel said.

The court ruling said four other Arizona tribes recognize same-sex marriages, including the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the White Mountain Apache tribe. The Arizona Republic reported.

Cleo Pablo, who grew up on the Ak-Chin Reservation south of the Valley, filed the lawsuit.

She and her longtime partner, Tara Roy-Pablo, married shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court extended the right to marry to same-sex couples nationwide. While their marriage was recognized in Arizona, the certificate was meaningless on the reservation.

Pablo said she never set out to be an activist, but just to get the same rights as any other married couple.

“You’re taught growing up that you have to stand up for what’s right,” she said. “I actually did it.”

The tribe is now in the process of reworking its laws and policies on marriage to comply with the ruling, Miguel said.
 

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