National Roundup

Colorado

Boulder council to consider corporate personhood

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- A Boulder city councilman wants to put a referendum on the November ballot that calls for amending the U.S. Constitution to abolish corporate personhood.

Corporate personhood refers to last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the justices ruled that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns because it's a form of protected free speech.

Councilman Macon Cowles plans to ask the council to put the measure on the ballot during their July 19 meeting on July 19.

Cowles says he wants Congress to clarify that money is not constitutionally protected free speech and that corporations should not have all the rights that people do.

Vermont

State Supreme Court to hear police e-privacy case

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Supreme Court is going to hear arguments on an electronic privacy case that could help determine how much access police can have to a suspect's computer and other electronic devices.

The Vermont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union contends that personal computers have such a wealth of personal information that there should be limits on what investigators can look at when they seize one.

The case involves a search warrant issued as part of a criminal investigation into an identity theft case in Burlington.

Arkansas

Okla. man on trial in Ark. for 1st-degree murder

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) -- An Oklahoma man on trial for first-degree murder in Arkansas has told the jury he should be convicted of manslaughter.

Walter Lee Walton of Muldrow is representing himself in the trial in Sebastian County Circuit Court in Fort Smith. He's charged in the September stabbing death of 27-year-old Jeremy Travis of Fort Smith.

The Southwest Times Record reports that Walton told the jury in his opening statement Monday that he never intended for Travis to die. He has said he was suffering an "emotional disturbance" when he attacked Travis.

Investigators say Walton killed Travis after learning his girlfriend was having an affair with Travis and Travis denied the affair.

Walton faces either 10 to 40 years or life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Connecticut

Judge dismisses murder charges against 3 men

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A state judge has dismissed murder charges against three men charged in a 2008 killing after a prosecutor cited a lack of forensic evidence and uncooperative witnesses.

New Haven Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano on Tuesday dropped the charges against brothers Gilbert and Pierre Galan and Tivon Edwards. They were accused in the killing of 25-year-old Christopher Senior, who was shot to death in New Haven.

The New Haven Register reports that prosecutor Brian Sibley Jr. told the judge that efforts to build the case proved futile.

The three defendants had been held on $3 million bail apiece for nearly two years since their arrest. The Galans were freed Tuesday, while Edwards was sent back to prison to serve time in an unrelated weapons case.

South Carolina

Town plans to appeal, try again to incorporate

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (AP) -- The town of James Island is fighting to remain a municipality.

The South Carolina Supreme Court this week ruled for the third time the town wasn't legally formed. But the Post and Courier of Charleston reports town officials will ask the high court to reconsider that decision. If that fails, they plan to mount a fourth incorporation campaign.

The town has tried three times to incorporate since 1993 and all three were invalidated by the court.

Mayor Bill Woolsey says the town near suburban Charleston is continuing to operate and will do so until there's a court order dissolving the town.

Island residents want to incorporate for more control over local affairs and keep Charleston from expanding its limits on the island.

Wisconsin

Competency exam requested in abortion clinic plot

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The attorney for a Marshfield man accused of planning an abortion clinic shooting is raising questions about the defendant's mental competency.

Federal defender Erika Bierma told Magistrate Stephen Crocker Tuesday that she will file a motion for a competency exam for 63-year-old Ralph Lang.

Police investigated a report of a gunshot at a Madison motel May 25. Lang had rented a room at the motel and told investigators his gun accidentally discharged while he was loading it. A complaint says that when asked why he had a gun, Lang told police he planned to shoot abortionists.

Authorities say Lang planned to shoot a doctor and nurses at a nearby Planned Parenthood clinic the following day.

Texas

Governor signs wrongful convictions payment bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A man wrongly imprisoned in Texas for nearly two decades over slayings he did not commit will be paid $1.4 million.

Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill authorizing payments for Anthony Graves for 18 years, the amount of time he was behind bars. A 2009 law says exonerees can receive $80,000 for every year they were imprisoned.

The Houston Chronicle reports a federal appeals court in 2006 overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial for Graves over the 1992 deaths of a grandmother and five children in Somerville. Graves was later declared innocent by a special prosecutor.

Comptroller Susan Combs in February denied compensation because the exoneration document for Graves lacked the words "actual innocence."

Perry, who signed the bill Friday, supported compensation efforts for Graves.

Montana

'Three Cups' author's charity removed from lawsuit

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A Montana lawmaker has dropped out of a lawsuit against "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson and his charity is no longer a defendant.

The lawsuit by Reps. Michele Reinhart and Rep. Jean Price claimed they were induced to buy Mortenson's book or donate to his charity based on false statements.

A similar lawsuit has been filed in Illinois. Both cite media reports alleging Mortenson lied about how he became involved in building schools in Central Asia.

Court documents this month say Price dropped out and the Central Asia Institute is no longer a defendant because the plaintiffs believe Montana's attorney general is about to get involved in investigating the charity.

Attorney General Steve Bullock has said he was looking into the charity but has not commented further.

Published: Thu, Jun 23, 2011

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