Supreme Court says state liable for trooper ­misconduct

Delaware

Supreme Court says state liable for trooper ­misconduct

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A divided Delaware Supreme Court says the state is liable for the actions of a trooper who sexually assaulted a woman he had arrested.

In a 3-2 decision Tuesday, the court vacated a jury finding that the state was not responsible as Joshua Giddings' employer for his misconduct. The court said that was a legal issue, not a factual issue for a jury.

The court said the estate of the woman, who died in 2015, is entitled to judgment on the issue of liability. If the parties cannot agree on damages, a trial will be held.

Giddings killed himself in 2009 after being charged with forcing a shoplifting suspect to perform oral sex on him.

Investigators said DNA found in clothing provided by the woman matched Giddings' DNA.

Wisconsin

High court upholds ban on cemeteries, funeral homes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the state's ban on joint ownership of cemeteries and funeral homes, rejecting a lawsuit from a cemetery owner who argued that the prohibition is anti-competitive, irrational and unconstitutional.

The court's 5-2 ruling upheld a state appeals court decision from last year rejecting the lawsuit filed by Highland Memorial Park, a cemetery in New Berlin, and its owner E. Glenn Porter.

Justice Shirley Abrahamson, writing for the majority, said the laws in question do not violate equal protection clauses of the state or U.S. constitutions. Abrahamson wrote that the laws are "rationally related to the legitimate government interests" of protecting vulnerable customers. They also limit or minimize the manipulation of money required to be held in trust by funeral directors and cemetery operators, she wrote.

Justices Dan Kelly and Rebecca Bradley dissented, saying there's no rational basis connecting the laws to a legitimate government interest. They argued the laws should be declared unconstitutional.

The conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty represented the cemetery and its principal owner. A spokesman for the law firm hasn't returned a message seeking comment Wednesday.

A spokesman for the state Department of Justice, which defended the laws, did not immediately return a message.

Porter, the cemetery owner, wants to expand the business and offer funeral services in addition to the cemetery. He argued that Wisconsin's laws banning joint ownership are overly restrictive and prevent cemetery owners and funeral home directors from conducting business as they see fit.

He said the laws are unconstitutional on due process and equal protection grounds.

The state argued that so-called "anti-combination" laws preserve competition, protect consumers from higher prices and reduce the potential for abuses of mixing cemetery and funeral revenues required to be held in trust.

The Waukesha County circuit court sided with the state and summarily rejected the cemetery's lawsuit in 2016. A state appeals court agreed in 2017 and the Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

Louisiana

4 plead not guilty in federal bird export case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Four men have pleaded not guilty to federal charges arising from what prosecutors say was a scheme to illegally export birds from Louisiana to Taiwan.

One of the defendants, Paul Tallman, is from Destrehan. Three others are from California: Alex Madriaga of Buena Park; Rene Rizal of La Mirada; and Wayne Andrews of Royal Oaks. Records show they entered not-guilty pleas Monday in New Orleans, where an Aug. 27 trial date was set.

A fifth man, William McGinness, of Buena Park, is expected to enter a plea July 2.

An indictment made public June 1 says they conspired to smuggle birds protected under an international treaty governing trade in endangered species. A U.S. Justice Department news release said 90 birds including parrots, macaws and cockatoos were exported.

Massachusetts

Ex-boarding school teacher back in U.S. to face rape charges

MILTON, Mass. (AP) - A onetime teacher at an elite Massachusetts boarding school has been returned to the U.S. from Thailand to face child rape charges involving one former student.

The Norfolk District Attorney's office says 72-year-old Reynold Buono left Milton Academy in 1987 and had been living in southeast Asia for a number of years.

Prosecutors say Buono will be arraigned Wednesday on three counts of rape of a child and three counts of rape of a child with force. He was named in sealed indictments last year.

Milton Academy said in February 2017 that independent investigators had determined Buono molested at least a dozen male students. He headed the school's theater program for more than a decade.

An attorney for Buono rejected the findings of the investigation at the time.

Missouri

@ROUND UP Briefs Headline:Lawsuit claims hot roll caused burn for disabled veteran

OZARK, Mo. (AP) - A popular Missouri restaurant is facing a lawsuit claiming one of its hot rolls caused second-degree burns for a mentally disabled veteran.

The Springfield News-Leader reported Wednesday on the lawsuit filed on behalf of 22-year-old Nathanael Smith against Lambert's Cafe in Ozark.

Smith, of Florida, was discharged from the Army after a severe training accident.

The suit says Smith and his family were at Lambert's last year when the server placed an extremely hot roll on his plate. The suit says he grabbed it and because of his brain injury, his reaction to pain was to clench his fist and dig his hand into the roll.

Smith was taken to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with second-degree burns.

A message seeking comment from Lambert's was not immediately returned.

Georgia

Mother charged after baby found dead in hot car in Georgia

KINGSLAND, Ga. (AP) - Police say the mother of a baby found dead in a car last week has been arrested in southeast Georgia.

The Kingsland Police Department told news outlets that 28-year-old Rhae Odum was arrested Tuesday after her 7-month-old son was discovered inside a car outside a motel on June 19. The mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter and child cruelty.

Police say temperatures were in the 90s before thunderstorms.

Published: Thu, Jun 28, 2018

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