National Roundup

Alabama
Father charged after student shoots himself

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The father of an Alabama elementary school student who brought a gun to school and accidentally shot himself has been charged.

Huntsville police Sgt. Tony McElyea said in a news release Tuesday that 41-year-old Letroy Cole Jr. was charged with receiving stolen property and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. McElyea says police obtained evidence that the firearm was originally possessed by the student’s father.

The shooting happened Monday morning at Blossomwood Elementary School. Police say the student brought the gun to school and had been showing it off when it discharged, shooting him in the hand.

Police say the student’s injuries were not life-threatening and there was no intent to harm anyone. It’s unclear if Cole has a lawyer.

California
Doctor and his girlfriend deny rape allegations

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Defense lawyers say a California surgeon and his girlfriend deny allegations they preyed on two intoxicated women, drugging and raping them.

The Orange County district attorney on Tuesday announced charges against Dr. Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley and said investigators believe there may be many more victims.

Attorneys Philip Cohen and Scott Borthwick say in a statement that Robicheaux and Riley have been aware of the accusations for months and will formally deny the allegations at their first opportunity in court.

It adds the allegations do not involve the surgeon’s medical practice in Newport Beach, a wealthy seaside community south of Los Angeles.

Robicheaux once appeared in a reality TV show called “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.”

Alaska
Attorneys argue cases in cruise industry suit against Juneau

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge said it will take some time to decide a lawsuit brought against the City and Borough of Juneau by the cruise ship industry.

Attorneys for the Cruise Lines International Association and Juneau argued their cases Tuesday before U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland in the lawsuit claiming that taxes were misused, the Juneau Empire reported .

The association filed the suit in April 2016, claiming Juneau used marine passenger fees and port development fees for projects that did not directly benefit the cruise ships visiting the city. The association claims Juneau violated the Tonnage Clause of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits states from charging for a vessel’s cargo without providing a service to the boat.

“It’s a revenue stream that the city has created that it’s re-dispensing as it sees fit,” said Jonathan Benner, the association’s attorney. “We believe that just blows a big hole in the Constitution.”

The city and borough claim the funds have been only used in projects that serve cruise passengers. Bob Blasco, Juneau’s attorney, has argued that passenger fees can be spent on services for the passengers, not solely for the vessels.

The association has not targeted specific expenditures that could be in violation of the Tonnage Clause, Blasco argued.

“They have not identified which actual expenditures they claim to be unlawful,” Blasco said in court. “And so we are put in the position of saying, ‘well, your honor, we don’t know what they’re claiming to be unlawful. The ones that they agreed to, the ones that they requested, those cannot be any kind of violation of the Tonnage Clause.’”

The association isn’t seeking reimbursement for city expenditures with the fee revenue, rather it’s looking to set a precedent for future cases, Benner said. A case similar to this has not been tried, he said.

“All the case law development over two centuries was about situations where fees were being extracted for different kinds of uses,” Benner said. “As far as I’m aware, this is the first and only situation in which a city’s just trying to create a revenue stream out of it.”

Oklahoma
Judge sentences man in fake bomb threat case

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma City man has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for a child pornography charge and for falsely reporting to authorities that his ex-wife wanted to blow up a county courthouse.

Federal prosecutors say 35-year-old Robert Shane Apgar was sentenced Tuesday to 235 months in prison after pleading guilty to the charges last year. Prosecutors say he’ll also be required to register as a sex offender.

A federal grand jury indictment alleged Apgar anonymously reported a bomb threat to the Grady County courthouse and implicated his ex-wife. Apgar admitted in court papers that he made the threat “to try to get my ex-wife in trouble.”

Prosecutors say investigators found the child pornography after executing a search warrant at the home where Apgar was living.

Illinois
‘Drug Llama’ charged with drug trafficking

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Prosecutors say a 31-year-old San Diego, California, woman who went by the online alias “The Drug Llama” faces federal charges in southern Illinois in a conspiracy that included the shipment of more than 50,000 fentanyl pills nationwide.

The U.S. attorney’s office in southern Illinois said Tuesday that Melissa Scanlan used hard-to-access parts of the internet known as the dark web to distribute the misbranded fentanyl starting in 2016. Some pills ended up in southern Illinois.

If convicted of the charges as they stand now, she could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

A judge at a detention hearing in California on Monday ordered Scanlan held at least until she is taken to Illinois.

Virginia
Home detention for woman who faked will to stop home seizure

STAFFORD, Va. (AP) — A Virginia woman who pleaded guilty to faking a will to keep a drug dealer’s home from being seized has received a year of home detention.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that both prosecutors and defense attorneys asked the judge not to impose jail time on 38-year-old Samantha Smith. She had faced five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy to obstruct justice charge.

Smith was not involved in drug dealing, but had a prior relationship with Earnest Warren Wright, 34. After Wright was convicted on heroin charges, he asked Smith to prepare a fraudulent will granting her ownership of the house to prevent the U.S. government from seizing it.

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