National Roundup

4 finalists submitted for state high court

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Gov. Pete Ricketts has received four finalists to fill a vacancy on the Nebraska Supreme Court.

The Judicial Nominating Commission for the Supreme Court, Fourth District sent the governor four names Monday that he can consider. The candidates are Christine P. Costantakos, Jonathan J. Papik and John A. Svoboda, all of Omaha; and Cathy S. Trent-Vilim of La Vista.

The Fourth Judicial District is consists of portions of Douglas and Sarpy counties. The vacancy is due to the resignation of former Nebraska Supreme Court Judge Max Kelch.

Kelch resigned on Feb. 15 after less than two years on the high court. Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha is seeking to have Kelch disbarred after Kelch was named in a judicial ethics complaint, which has remained confidential.

Man gets 100 days, $315 fine for choking police chief

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Mason City man has been sentenced to 100 days in jail and fined $315 for putting the Nora Springs police chief in a chokehold at a Mason City hospital.

Court records say 37-year-old David Tyree pleaded guilty March 6 to assault on a peace officer and was sentenced Friday in Cerro Gordo County Court in Mason City.

Authorities say Nora Springs Police Chief David Jesse Dugan had taken Tyree to Mercy Medical Center in January but didn’t say why. The criminal complaint says Tyree put his forearms around Dugan’s throat from behind while at the hospital. Someone intervened to free Dugan, who did not suffer serious injuries.

Village takes traffic camera case to state’s high court

NEW MIAMI, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio village ordered to pay back $3 million in citations stemming from automated traffic cameras is taking its case to the state Supreme Court.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal News reports New Miami has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to hear its appeal. Lower courts have ruled that New Miami isn’t immune to legal action because it gained funds by collecting fines under a traffic camera program that was declared unconstitutional in 2014.

The village argues sovereign immunity is guaranteed to municipalities across the state and necessary for preserving “fiscal integrity.”

The village cited nearly 45,000 motorists in 15 months. Josh Angel, an attorney representing one of the motorists, says the village’s appeal is a “stalling tactic.”

New Miami has said it will continue to challenge the ruling.

Judge: Trump administration violated law over smog findings

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Trump administration violated federal law when it failed to meet a deadline to identify all parts of the U.S. that don’t meet air quality standards for smog, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete the designations by the end of April.

His ruling was for two lawsuits, including one filed by California, 13 other states and the District of Columbia.

The EPA had until October 1, 2017, to designate what parts of the country were in and out of compliance with tougher smog standards adopted during the Obama administration.

The states’ lawsuit said smog can cause or aggravate diseases including heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema, and the new standards would save hundreds of lives each year.

The designations trigger a process that forces polluted regions to take steps to improve air quality.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement on Monday that the state will “closely monitor” the EPA to make sure it meets the court’s order.

The EPA acknowledged that it violated the Clean Air Act by failing to issue the air quality designations by the October 1 deadline, but said it was moving fast and would complete the process no later than April 30, according to Gilliam’s ruling.

Gilliam rejected the states’ request that the EPA move faster on some designations and make all designations effective immediately.

Becerra and Democratic officials in other states have repeatedly clashed with the Trump administration over the its push to loosen environmental regulations.

Becerra was joined in the smog suit by the attorneys general in Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state. Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency also joined the suit.

Judge tosses lawsuit over birth control rules

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge has tossed the Massachusetts attorney general’s lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s administration over rules allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women.

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton ruled against Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey on Monday. Gorton said the state lacks standing to sue.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law in November that aims to guarantee insurance coverage for women’s birth control regardless of changes in federal policy.

Judges in California and Pennsylvania last year blocked the new birth control rules. Federal prosecutors said last month that they plan to appeal the California judge’s decision.

New Mexico
3 of 4 members of prison gang convicted

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three members of the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico prison gang have been convicted in a Las Cruces federal court while a fourth defendant has been acquitted of all charges.

After nearly a week of deliberations, jurors on Monday convicted Anthony Ray Baca, Daniel Sanchez and Carlos Herrera of engaging in a criminal racketeering enterprise including committing violent crimes to further the purposes of the gang that formed in the aftermath of a deadly 1980 prison riot in Santa Fe.

Rudy Perez was accused of helping provide the shanks used to kill inmate Javier Molina last year, but was found not guilty of all charges.

Baca was accused of conspiracy to murder two top state corrections department officials, but the plot was foiled when the FBI intercepted a note in 2015.


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