National Roundup

Oklahoma
Judge apologizes for sending ­campaign mailer to jurors

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma judge has apologized for using the private information of jurors who served in his courtroom to send them a campaign mailer asking for their support in his re-election bid.

The Tulsa World reports that Tulsa County District Judge James Caputo acknowledged in a letter that the decision to send the mailers “did not inspire confidence in the judiciary.”

The state Code of Judicial Conduct says judges and judicial candidates cannot require court staff to assist in a campaign or use court resources to further political activities.

Caputo had also asked jurors to share on his campaign Facebook page “any memories you had from serving on the jury panel in my courtroom.”

Caputo is up for re-election on Nov. 6.

He’s a criminal docket judge who sometimes handles civil cases in Tulsa County.

Washington
Kids don’t have right to lawyer in certain hearings

SEATTLE (AP) — A divided Washington Supreme Court has ruled in an opinion that children who have been taken from their homes by the state do not have an automatic right to an attorney who represents their rights, and their rights alone, in a dependency court.

The Seattle Times reports the majority court on Thursday also established in the ruling criteria for family court judges to consider when deciding whether to appoint a lawyer to children who are involved in dependency cases.

The appeal before the high court was on behalf of two children in separate cases in King and Pierce counties who were not granted legal counsel during their dependency cases.
Washington is among the minority of states who do not assign legal counsel automatically to children in dependency cases.


Maine
Judge tosses ­fishermen’s suit against Obama ocean monument

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit from a group of fishing associations that challenged the creation of an underwater monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

The fishing groups sued in Washington against creation of Northeast Canyons and Sea­mounts Marine National Monument by former President Barack Obama in 2016.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg granted the Trump administration’s motion Friday to dismiss the suit. His ruling says the groups failed to adequately explain why the monument is too large. Environmental groups cheered the decision. Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Kate Desormeau says it makes clear the monument was legally established.

Attorney Jonathan Wood represents the fishing groups. He says he doesn’t know yet if there will be an appeal, but thinks it’s an issue for the U.S. Supreme Court to ultimately decide.

Nevada
Trial reset for man also held in ­Illinois death

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Trial has been reset to next year in Las Vegas for a man facing felony child sex and abuse charges in Nevada and a separate murder charge in Illinois, where his 6-year-old daughter’s body was found in a St. Louis-area town.

Jason Quate’s trial had been scheduled Monday, but a judge last month granted his court-appointed lawyer more time to prepare.

Prosecutor James Sweetin said Friday that he’ll be tried first in Las Vegas and then in St. Clair County, Illinois.

The case came to light after Quate’s wife, Elizabeth Odell-Quate, told police in June 2017 that her husband forced her into prostitution, killed their youngest daughter and was abusing their two other daughters, 12 and 13.

Elizabeth Quate is due to plead guilty in December in Illinois to a felony concealing a body charge.

Massachusetts
Police: Man uses scissors to stab parents, woman

CONCORD, Mass. (AP) — Authorities say a 25-year-old man who had sought mental health treatment earlier in the day used scissors to stab his parents and girlfriend, leaving his father near death.

The Middlesex district attorney’s office says police responded to an Acton home at 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police say a 56-year-old woman suffered superficial injuries, but a 28-year-old woman had serious injuries and a 57-year-old man suffered life-threatening wounds. Their names weren’t released.

Police arrested Benjamin DiCristina.

Prosecutors say the suspect’s father, who came to the aid of the girlfriend as she was getting choked by DiCristina, isn’t expected to survive.

Not guilty pleas to charges including two counts of armed assault with intent to murder were entered on DiCristina’s behalf.

His defense requested a psychiatric evaluation given his history of mental health problems.

New Jersey
Ex-FBI agent admits taking improper photos of woman at store

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a former FBI special agent has admitted he illegally took photos of a 22-year-old woman with his cellphone while she was in a dressing room at a New Jersey clothing store.

Middlesex County prosecutors say Danuel Brown pleaded guilty Thursday to invasion of privacy. They will recommend that the 30-year-old Piscataway man receive probation when he’s sentenced Dec. 6.

Brown, who worked in the FBI’s New York field office, also had to forfeit his job as part of the plea deal.

Edison police responded to the store in July after the woman called 911. When she confronted Brown, he identified himself as a law enforcement officer.

Investigators determined that Brown put his cell phone underneath the dressing room door and took multiple photos.


Illinois
Lottery ticket leads FBI to bank robbery suspect

PALATINE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a dropped lottery ticket led investigators to the man who robbed a suburban Chicago bank.

Court documents say an FBI agent found an Illinois lottery scratch-off ticket that surveillance video showed falling from the man’s pocket during the Sept. 28 robbery of a Chase Bank branch in Palatine.

Agents tracked the ticket to where it was sold at a gas station in the nearby community of Rolling Meadows. They used store video to match the buyer as the man who redeemed some winning tickets at another gas station and identify his car. Local police stopped the car Tuesday night in Arlington Heights.

Federal prosecutors charged 38-year-old Dexter Riley with robbing about $8,200 from the bank. Court records on Friday didn’t list a defense attorney for Riley.

 

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