National Roundup

Texas
Inmates with no teeth often denied dentures

HOUSTON (AP) — Inmates without teeth in Texas are routinely denied dentures because state prison policy says chewing isn't a medical necessity and that they can eat blended food.
The Houston Chronicle reports that medical providers approved 71 dentures to a state prison population of more than 149,000 in 2016. It's a sharp decline from 15 years ago, when more than 1,000 dental prosthetics were approved.

Many inmates are elderly, have a history of drug use or came from impoverished backgrounds with sub-par dental care.

State policy says inmates can't get dentures unless they're underweight or suffering from other medical complications.

Death row inmate Paul Devoe soaks crackers in coffee to eat them with his three remaining teeth. Devoe and other inmates have complained about bleeding gums, sore mouths, choking and being unable to eat.

Georgia
High court tosses murder conviction, life sentence

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's highest court has reversed a man's murder conviction and life sentence, saying the trial court shouldn't have allowed the jury to hear a statement he made during interrogation.

A Georgia Supreme Court opinion published Monday says Michael Denay Grant had already "unequivocally invoked his right to remain silent" when he made the statement.

Grant was convicted in the 2013 slaying of Christopher Walker.

The statement exonerated Grant's cousin, who was also present, but also "arguably" incriminated Grant.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard's office didn't respond to an email asking whether prosecutors plan to retry Grant.

The high court upheld the conviction and life-without-parole sentence of Richard Davidson, who was accused of fatally shooting Walker. Grant told police he drove the car in which Davidson fled.

Washington
Court agrees to clear past pot convictions

SEATTLE (AP) — Judges in Seattle have agreed to clear past misdemeanor convictions for pot possession that were prosecuted before marijuana was legalized in Washington state.

The Seattle Times reports that all seven judges of the Seattle Municipal Court signed an order Sept. 11 setting out a process for vacating the cases.

City Attorney Pete Holmes filed a motion in April asking the court to vacate the convictions. He argued that possessing small amounts of marijuana is no longer illegal and clearing past convictions would right the injustices of a drug war that targeted people of color.

About 542 people could be affected. The ruling covers from about 1996 — when municipal courts, rather than county district courts, began handling those misdemeanors — to 2010 when Holmes became city attorney and stopped prosecuting low-level pot cases entirely.

Utah
14-year-old boy fatally hit by target shooter

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Authorities say a 14-year-old boy was accidentally shot and killed while riding in his family's car in northern Utah near a group of target shooters.

The Herald Journal in Logan reports the incident happened Sunday afternoon as the family of four was driving near Monte Cristo Peak.

Rich County Sheriff Dale Stacey says a group was target-shooting with rifles in an area with trees and did not realize there was a road on the other side.

Stacey says the teen was shot in the head and died instantly.

His identity is being withheld until other relatives can be notified. The family is from Weber County.

The incident remains under investigation.

Stacey says local prosecutors will determine if charges will be filed.

Colorado
Woman pleads guilty to role in murder-for-hire

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — A 64-year-old Colorado woman has pleaded guilty to her role in her brother's shooting death.

The Greeley Tribune reports Carol Baker of Greeley pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the August 2017 death of 59-year-old Randy Baker.

Prosecutors say she facilitated a deal between her son and her sister-in-law to kill Baker. She faces 20 to 30 years in prison when she is sentenced in January.

Baker's son, Kelly Raisley, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence. Court records said he agreed to kill his uncle in exchange for $10,000 and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Randy Baker's wife, Kelly Lynn Baker, faces trial in January for first-degree murder.

Court records say the victim had $123,000 worth of life insurance policies and his wife was the beneficiary.

New Jersey
Indictment: Cop beat hospital patient, recorded another attack

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey police officer has been indicted for his alleged role in the assault of a hospital patient and recording another assault of the same patient on his cellphone.

Paterson Officer Roger Then is charged with conspiring to violate the patient's civil rights, concealing the violation and filing a false police report in the five-count indictment handed up Friday by a federal grand jury.

The 29-year-old Paterson resident pleaded not guilty to the allegations following his arrest in May.

Federal prosecutors say Then and fellow Paterson officer Ruben McAusland were involved in the separate assaults on March 5. Authorities say the victim had multiple facial injuries, including an eye injury that required surgery.

McAusland has since pleaded guilty to depriving the patient of his civil rights and an unrelated drug charge. He's due to be sentenced Oct. 9.
 

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