National Roundup

Connecticut
Man charged in death of brother

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man is facing a manslaughter charge in connection with the death of his brother nearly two years ago.

South Windsor police on Tuesday arrested 29-year-old Daniel Epstein and charged him with first-degree manslaughter upon his release from Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.

He was being held on $1 million bail pending an appearance Tuesday in Superior Court in Manchester.

Police started investigating in August 2017 when a nurse who went to the brothers’ South Windsor home to administer daily medication found conditions in the home that made her suspicious. She called police, who found 31-year-old Marc Epstein dead in a bedroom.

Daniel Epstein’s case was not listed in online court records and it was unclear if he has a lawyer.

Iowa
Civil judgment to stand against man acquitted in mom’s death

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa judge says a civil trial verdict holding a man responsible for his mother’s death will stand although the man was acquitted after a criminal trial on a murder charge.

The Marion County District Court judge last week rejected Jason Carter’s request to set aside the civil verdict that ordered him to pay $10 million to his mother’s estate. His father, Bill Carter, had filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against his son, saying Jason fatally shot 68-year-old Shirley Carter in June 2015 to gain access to his parents’ assets. Jason Carter denied the allegation.

In March a jury found Jason Carter not guilty of the murder charge.

Judge Martha Mertz said in her ruling last week that the result of the criminal trial does not make the civil jury’s finding invalid.

Jason Carter’s attorney says she intends to appeal Mertz’s ruling.

Louisiana
Deputy accused of sexual abuse remains with sheriff’s office

ST. BERNARD, La. (AP) — A lawsuit claiming a teenage girl was subjected to sexual abuse by a Louisiana jail deputy has been settled and the deputy remains with the agency.

The New Orleans Advocate reports the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office settled the federal lawsuit against 69-year-old Eddie Williams for $200,000 in March.

The suit was filed in December 2016. It claimed Williams ordered the girl to masturbate and disrobe in front of a surveillance camera while she was incarcerated from June 2015 to January 2016.

The newspaper says an attorney for the sheriff’s office confirmed the amount of the settlement. The report says Williams still works for the sheriff’s office but is now employed in the fleet maintenance division.

California
Court agrees to listen to Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway’ appeal

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — “Stairway to Heaven” will get another hearing, this time to a packed house.

A panel of 11 judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Monday to hear Led Zeppelin’s appeal in a copyright lawsuit alleging the group stole its 1971 rock epic from an obscure 1960s instrumental.

In a 2016 trial that included testimony from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant, a jury found that “Stairway to Heaven” did not significantly resemble the song “Taurus,” written by the late Randy Wolfe and performed by his band Spirit.

Page said he wrote the music for the song and Plant the lyrics, and that both were original.

But in September, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit ruled that the judge at the trial had failed to advise the jury properly, and ordered a new trial. The judges unanimously found that the trial judge was wrong to tell jurors that individual elements of a song such as its notes or scale may not qualify for copyright protection, because a combination of those elements may qualify if they are sufficiently original.

Led Zeppelin’s lawyers moved to the next level of appeal, asking for the larger group of judges to rehear the case, and the request was granted. The 11-judge panel will hear the case in late September in San Francisco.

Texas
'Texas 7' death row inmate claims judge was anti-Semitic

HOUSTON (AP) — A Jewish death row inmate who was part of the "Texas 7" gang of escaped prisoners has filed an appeal claiming the former county judge who convicted him was anti-Semitic and frequently used racial slurs.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Randy Halprin alleges in his federal appeal that ex-Dallas County Judge Vickers Cunningham referred to him with anti-Semitic language.

Halprin argues that Cunningham should've recused himself.

Halprin was among the inmates who escaped from a South Texas prison in 2000 and committed numerous robberies, including one in which a suburban Dallas police officer was fatally shot.

Cunningham didn't respond to the newspaper's request for comment.

Cunningham faced allegations of bigotry last year after telling the Dallas Morning News he has a living trust that rewards his children for marrying straight, white Christians.

Maryland
Judge: Secret Service agent can sue officers over detention

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing two white U.S. Park Police officers of unlawfully detaining a black Secret Service agent who was waiting to accompany a Cabinet secretary's motorcade.

U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm in Maryland ruled Monday that a jury can decide if Gerald Ferreyra and Brian Phillips violated Agent Nathaniel Hicks' constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizures.

Hicks says he did nothing during the 2015 roadside encounter to justify being detained for approximately an hour after the officers confirmed he was an on-duty Secret Service agent.

Hicks claims Ferreyra pointed his weapon at him after seeing a gun on the front seat of the agent's parked vehicle. The suit says it appears Hicks was singled out because of his race.
 

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