National Roundup

Judge suppresses some evidence in bone theft case

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A judge has granted a defense motion to suppress some evidence in the case of a Connecticut man charged with stealing human remains from a Massachusetts cemetery for what prosecutors allege was religious purposes.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that a judge ruled that 34-year-old Amador Medina, of Hartford, should have been advised of his Miranda rights before talking to police after his arrest in December 2015. The judge also ruled that evidence found during a search of Medina’s home based on those statements should be dismissed.

Authorities say Medina stole human bones from two family mausoleums in Worcester’s Hope Cemetery. He pleaded not guilty.

Medina told police he was a priest in Palo Mayombe, an Afro-Caribbean religion.

Judge: Trump administration must implement energy limits

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday ordered the Trump administration to implement energy-use limits for portable air conditioners and other products that were adopted during the last days of the Obama presidency.

The U.S. Department of Energy was required to put the energy efficiency standards into effect after a 45-day period to identify any errors and did not have the authority to continue to assess them, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said.

The ruling came in two lawsuits — one filed by New York, California and other states and the other by environmental groups.

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately comment. The lawsuits over the energy standards are among a spate of legal actions challenging decisions by the Trump administration to roll back environmental protections.

The states argued that the new standards would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save businesses and consumers billions of dollars, and conserve enough energy to power more than 19 million households for a year.
Chhabria gave the DOE 28 days to publish the standards — the step needed to make them legally enforceable.

The standards at issue also cover air compressors, commercial packaged boilers and uninterruptable power supplies. There is currently no federal energy standard for air compressors, uninterruptable power supplies or portable air conditioners, according to the states’ lawsuit.

The Obama administration signed off on them in December 2016 and posted them online for a 45-day review period intended to spot any errors.

Chhabria said the Trump administration did not have the authority assess, modify or withdraw an energy standard after that period.

The other states in the lawsuit are: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Maryland. The City of New York is also a plaintiff.

Judge convicted of fraud, illegally pocketing $300K

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal jury in Chicago has convicted a Cook County judge of fraudulently obtaining mortgages for Chicago investment properties and illegally pocketing more than $300,000.

The conviction of Judge Jessica O’Brien on Thursday after a six-day trial should force her off the bench under Illinois law. The law applies even though the schemes occurred before she became a judge.

Prosecutors say the 50-year-old O’Brien lied to lenders and concealed facts to obtain more than $1.4 million in mortgages. They were obtained for properties she purchased and sold.

Defense attorney Ricardo Meza told jurors earlier that his client made mistakes that weren’t intentional, and thus were not fraud.

O’Brien could face years in prison for the mail and bank fraud convictions, while probation is also an option. Sentencing is July 6.

Man convicted of ritualized abuse of his family

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — A northern Idaho man accused of using his religious beliefs to justify the physical and sexual abuse of his wife and children was found guilty of more than a dozen felony charges.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports a jury on Thursday convicted 49-year-old Dana Andrew Furtney on charges that included lewd conduct, sexual abuse of a child, ritualized abuse and domestic violence.

Against the wishes of his counsel, Furtney testified Thursday that he might have inappropriately touched his daughters while giving massages, but he said it was not for his own sexual gratification.

When questioned about forcing his son to consume feces as part of a religious rite, Furtney told the court “that was my idea.”

Furtney is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Authorities: Boy burned after following dad’s suicide advice

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) — Authorities have arrested an Oklahoma man for allegedly giving his 12-year-old son advice on how to kill himself.

Authorities said Friday that the boy suffered minor burns after following his father’s suggestion that he light himself on fire.

Sheriff’s Maj. Coy Jenkins said 36-year-old Michael Joseph Jensen was arrested Wednesday on a child neglect warrant. He did not know whether Jensen has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Jenkins said the son had previously attempted suicide and was living with his grandparents when Jensen visited. Jenkins said authorities don’t believe that Jensen was serious when he told his son to set himself on fire and shoot himself in the head. But Jenkins said Jensen’s comments started the chain of events that followed.

Parents of murder suspect no-shows in court

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The parents of a suspect in the random shooting deaths of four people didn’t show up for a civil contempt hearing in Florida after refusing to cooperate with prosecutors.

Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe ordered attorneys for Howell Donaldson Jr. and Rosita Donaldson to have their clients show up Friday morning. Their 24-year-old son, Howell Donaldson III, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the October and November shootings of four people in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood.

Their continued refusal to cooperate with prosecutors could result in fines or jail time.