National Roundup

Kentucky
Senate confirms Jennings as federal judge

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Senate has confirmed another new federal judge for Kentucky.

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rebecca Grady Jennings as judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. She was nominated by President Donald Trump last year.

On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Claria Horn Boom to serve as U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky.

Jennings has served as director at the law firm Middleton Reutlinger in Louisville and chaired the firm’s litigation practice.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced Jennings’ confirmation.

Oregon
Charge dropped for man who won’t file taxes citing religion

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a tax evasion charge against a man who describes himself as a Christian who refuses to give money to the government to support abortion.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Thursday the judge ruled that the government failed to provide evidence that Michael Bowman tried to conceal or mislead government officials. Prosecutors accused Bowman of not filing an accurate tax return since at least 1997.

Bowman said he’s been up front with the Internal Revenue Service, refusing to file a return or pay taxes since 1999 without some accommodation afforded to him for religious beliefs.

The charge was dismissed without prejudice, meaning prosecutors could seek a new indictment. Assistant U.S Attorney Donna Maddux said the government is considering options.

Bowman still faces four misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file tax returns.

Louisiana
Officer gets 5 years in 2015 case linked to colleague’s death

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former New Orleans police officer has been sentenced to five years in prison on malfeasance and obstruction of justice charges connected to the 2015 death of a fellow officer.

Police said Wardell Johnson failed to properly search an arrested suspect in June 2015. That suspect later fatally shot police Officer Daryle Holloway with a gun he is believed to have smuggled into Holloway’s SUV. Johnson also tried to cover up his sloppy police work.

Johnson pleaded guilty in October 2015. Before Johnson was sentenced Friday, Holloway’s mother faced him and told him that — but for his shoddy work — her son might still be alive.

Johnson was among officers who had arrested Travis Boys in an assault case hours before Holloway was shot while driving Boys to jail.

Missouri
Judge questions officer’s handling of 2000 murder investigation

SIKESTON, Mo. (AP) — A southeast Missouri police detective’s badge and gun have been removed after a judge questioned his handling of 2000 homicide investigation and recommended that a man serving a life sentence for the killing should be freed.

The Southeast Missourian reports that Sikeston city officials also have reassigned John Blakely to the city’s fire division. His investigation of Sheila Box’s killing helped send David Robinson to prison for life. Since Robinson was sentenced, another man has confessed and two witnesses have recanted.

In February, a judge appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to hear evidence in the case recommended that Robinson be exonerated and found Blakely was “lacking in candor or competence, or both.” The Missouri Supreme Court hasn’t yet ruled on the recommendation. Blakely doesn’t have a listed phone number.


Iowa
Woman resolves lawsuit over work harassment

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Hispanic woman who says her white Iowa co-workers used images of Donald Trump to racially harass her has dropped a lawsuit against their employer.

Alexandra Avila dismissed her lawsuit against Sedgwick Claims Management on Monday, three months ahead of a scheduled trial.

Her attorney, Paige Fiedler, says the dispute has been resolved “to the parties’ satisfaction” but declined to elaborate, including on whether there’s a monetary settlement. Sedgwick’s attorney declined comment.

Avila’s lawsuit made headlines when it was filed days before the 2016 presidential election. She alleged her co-workers at a Coralville office harassed her for months after learning she was angered by Trump’s description of Mexican immigrants as rapists.

She alleged they called her an “illegal immigrant” even though she’s a U.S. citizen, repeatedly put pictures of an angry Trump as her computer screensaver, sent her racist memes and signed her up to volunteer for Trump’s campaign.

Colorado
Next chief justice of State Supreme Court announced

DENVER (AP) — Colorado officials say Justice Nathan B. Coats has been named chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

The Denver Post reported Thursday that the court’s associate justices chose Coats for the job upon the retirement of Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice, who in March announced her retirement after 31-years on the bench.

Coats will begin his new role on June 30. He is the 46th member of the court to be named chief justice since Colorado’s 1876 statehood.

Coats joined the state Supreme Court in April 2000 after serving for 14 years as chief appellate deputy district attorney for the Second Judicial District in Denver. He also served as a member of the Appellate Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

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