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Police union defends ex-officer in black musician's death
Headline News | 2016/06/01 15:50
The police union defended a former officer charged in the fatal shooting of a legally armed black man, saying they believe the officer identified himself before the confrontation.
 
Former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja has been charged with manslaughter and attempted murder in the Oct. 18 death of Corey Jones. Raja's bail was set at $250,000 during his first court appearance Thursday.

Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association President John Kazanjian said the union believes Raja, who was fired after the shooting, identified himself before confronting Jones on an Interstate 95 ramp before dawn.

Charging documents said Raja, who was investigating a string of auto burglaries, did not identify himself before opening fire. He was driving an unmarked cargo van with no police lights and was in civilian clothes: a tan T-shirt, jeans, sneakers and a baseball cap, the documents said.



Man admits kidnapping teen girl, raping her during captivity
Headline News | 2016/05/31 22:28
A man who kidnapped a 14-year-old girl when she accepted his offer of a ride home from school because her feet were sore, held her in captivity for nine months and raped her repeatedly at his trailer acknowledged his crimes on Thursday.
 
Nathaniel Kibby pleaded guilty to kidnapping, aggravated felonious sex assault and criminal threatening, and prosecutors asked for a sentence of 45 to 90 years in prison for him.

Kibby, who had pleaded not guilty shortly after his arrest, had been scheduled to go on trial next month on nearly 200 felony charges related to the girl's October 2013 disappearance and the months that followed. But he changed his plea to guilty at a hearing on Thursday.

Before the 35-year-old Kibby could enter his new plea, a prosecutor said Kibby had kidnapped the girl by offering her a ride home from her school and then brandishing a gun when she attempted to get out of his car.

Prosecutor Jane Young said the girl and Kibby didn't know each other and she accepted the ride because she'd worn boots to school and her feet were blistered. Young said when the girl tried to get out of the car in a parking lot Kibby pulled out the gun and threatened to "blow her brains out."

Kibby also pleaded guilty to witness tampering and other offenses. Last week, a judge ruled Kibby's lawyers could not question the girl before his trial about her exposure to media coverage and the amount of freedom she was given to move about his trailer in Gorham, where prosecutors say he used a stun gun, zip ties and a shock collar to control her.

Kibby was charged with kidnapping the girl on Oct. 9, 2013, as she walked home from her high school in Conway. The girl returned to her home in North Conway the night of July 20, 2014, but prosecutors have not elaborated on the circumstances of her return. She waited until a week after she was home to reveal Kibby's identity. She was able to identify Kibby because she spotted his full name inside a cookbook in his home.

Lawyers hired by the girl's family said she had suffered "numerous acts of unspeakable violence" during her months of captivity. Their statement was largely a plea for privacy and did not elaborate on what she endured. The girl, who is now 17 years old, attended Thursday's hearing.



Iran's president slams US court ruling on frozen assets
Headline News | 2016/05/06 05:22
Iran's president said Wednesday that a U.S. court ruling that allows for the seizure of Iranian assets amounts to theft and indicates continued "hostility" toward his country.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the families of victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other attacks linked to Iran can collect nearly $2 billion in frozen funds from Iran as compensation.

Rouhani was quoted by state TV as warning that the United States would have to face up to "all the consequences of this illegal action," without elaborating. "The move indicates Washington's continued hostility against the Iranian nation," Rouhani added, speaking during a Cabinet meeting.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet tasked a group of top officials with examining the court decision and defending Iran's "rights."

The U.S. court's ruling directly affects more than 1,300 relatives of victims, some who have been seeking compensation for more than 30 years. They include families of the 241 U.S. service members who died in the Beirut bombing.



High court won't step into Mich. dispute over harness racing
Headline News | 2016/05/04 05:23
The Supreme Court won't step into a dispute between Michigan gaming officials and a group of harness racing drivers over allegations of race-fixing.

The drivers had refused to speak to state investigators without a grant of immunity from prosecution. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that they had a constitutional right to remain silent.

Michigan officials argued that gaming officials did not have to grant immunity before taking action against the drivers. The drivers were never charged with any crimes.

The justices on Monday left in place the appeals court ruling. Harness racing is a form of horse racing.




High court nominee praises lawyers for helping the poor
Headline News | 2016/04/21 17:08
Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland praised lawyers for their work with low-income Washingtonians Thursday in his first public remarks since his nomination last month.

Garland was on familiar turf, speaking at the federal courthouse in Washington, where he is chief judge of the appeals court.

Giving people living in poverty access to the courts is critical for society, Garland said. "Without equal justice under law," Garland said, using the phrase engraved above the entrance to the Supreme Court, "faith in the rule of the law, the foundation of our civil society, is at risk."

Garland's nomination is stalled in the Senate, where GOP leaders say the next president should choose the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He has met with roughly 40 senators so far, with no sign that Republicans will allow hearings on his nomination, much less a vote.

At those meetings, Garland has typically said nothing for public consumption.

His appearance Thursday was part of the White House's effort to familiarize the country with the nominee by having him speak on a noncontroversial topic, free legal assistance for the poor.



Court convicts Israeli in Palestinian teenager's 2014 murder
Headline News | 2016/04/20 17:08
A Jerusalem district court has convicted the main suspect in the July 2014 murder of a Palestinian teenager.

The court convicted 30-year-old Yosef Haim Ben David on Tuesday of murder, rejecting a plea that he was not responsible for his actions. Ben David is to be sentenced next month and could face life in prison.

Two other Israelis have already been sentenced for their roles in the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in revenge for the death of three abducted Israeli teens earlier that summer. The Israelis snatched Khdeir from an east Jerusalem neighborhood, drove him to a Jerusalem forest and burned him to death.

The gruesome killing sparked deep outrage in Israel and was part of a series of events that helped spark the Gaza war later that summer.



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