National Roundup

Sheriff, jail ­commander ask judge to dismiss ACLU lawsuit

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Officials in Montana have asked a judge to toss out an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against them.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the ACLU of Montana and the ACLU Immigrant’s Rights Project in February filed the lawsuit against Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin and jail Cmdr. Jason Jarrett, claiming the jail holds inmates illegally at the request of U.S. immigration officials.

Gallatin County attorney Marty Lambert filed a response to the lawsuit Thursday and wrote that Jarrett and Gootkin are acting within state law when complying with requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The plaintiff, Luis Soto-Lopez, was arrested in November.

The lawsuit seeks to end ICE detainers for all current and future people incarcerated at the jail who are being held for federal immigration authorities. It also seeks compensation for Soto-Lopez’s unlawful imprisonment.

Jury convicts woman of first-degree murder

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho woman has been convicted of killing her romantic rival.

The Lewiston Tribune reports a jury on Friday found Jessica Colpitts guilty of first-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of Samantha Fignani, both of Orofino.

Second District Judge Gregory FitzMaurice revoked bail for Colpitts, ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for July. Colpitts will be held at the Latah County Jail until then.

Evidence against Colpitts included recorded phone calls between Colpitts and her boyfriend, Joseph Walker, who was incarcerated on drug charges during the time of the murder.

Walker admitted to Colpitts to having a sexual relationship with Fignani just before the shooting.

Prosecutor E. Clayne Tyler says Colpitts asked Cassie Madsen to drive her to Fignani’s house.

Madsen testified that Colpitts walked up to Fignani’s door and shot her with a .410 shotgun.

ACLU: Report shows evidence of ‘racially biased policing’

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska says a state report illustrates the need for police officers to undergo new training to treat minority motorists more fairly.

The ACLU said Monday that the latest Nebraska Crime Commission report shows “racially biased policing is a persistent problem in Nebraska.”

The report echoed numbers in previous reports: The number of black drivers stopped, searched and arrested is far higher than their portion of the state’s overall population. It also says black drivers were twice as likely to be stopped last year as white drivers.

ACLU of Nebraska attorney Rose Godinez says the data confirms “there is a clear need to recalibrate. We can’t continue to do the same things in terms of police training and watch the data about racial disparities in policing continue to rise.”

Lawyer disputes claim that ­bicentennial tree felled by mistake

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A lawyer for contractor blamed for mistakenly cutting down an oak tree planted for the nation’s bicentennial in southwestern Indiana says the company was following approved plans.

Evansville officials earlier said American Eagle Tree Service mistakenly felled the 42-year-old tree on Dec. 26, leaving behind a plaque stating that it was planted in 1976 in honor of the nation’s 200th birthday. The tree stood in Evansville’s downtown across from the Old National Events Plaza.

Kevin Moyer, a lawyer for the contractor, tells the Courier & Press the Evansville Vanderburgh County Building Authority was using his client as a “scapegoat.”

The authority’s Director Dave Rector said in January that the tree service “acted without our knowledge or direction.” He says Monday the authority stands behind its previous statements.

Class-action ­lawsuit against Poland Spring gets new life

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A judge has given new life to a class-action lawsuit accusing Poland Spring of selling water that’s sourced from wells, not springs.

The same federal judge in Connecticut last year dismissed the lawsuit, but he ruled last week that an amended complaint can proceed with claims in eight states: Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Poland Spring’s corporate parent, Connecticut-based Nestle Waters North America, reiterated Tuesday that it’s a “meritless lawsuit” and said the judge’s decision doesn’t undermine its confidence.

Nestle Waters says Poland Spring meets Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines that allow “spring water” labels if the water is drawn from the same source as a natural spring and meets certain requirements for chemical composition.

Dad who tried to use stun gun on cashier gets 4 years

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland man who tried to use a stun gun on a cashier at a McDonald’s drivethru while in a stolen car with his kids inside was sentenced to more than four years in prison.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports a witness saw Omar Rashad Greely try to shock the cashier and flagged down a nearby Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputy on Aug. 22, 2017, according to court documents.

After the deputy ordered Greely to stop, he started revving his engine and drove off, but not before his two sons — ages 11 and 12 — dashed from the car, a probable cause affidavit said. Officers found Greely after a ground and air search.

He pleaded no contest to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle as part of a plea deal.

Greely told the judge Monday that he hopes to get drug treatment while in prison.