Alex's Feed
Dec 3, 2014

U.S. couple leaves Qatar after convictions overturned in child death

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A U.S. couple whose convictions were overturned in the death of their adopted daughter in Qatar left the Gulf Arab state on Wednesday after a travel ban that had kept them in the country was lifted, their supporters and the U.S. ambassador to Qatar said.

Matthew and Grace Huang boarded a flight at the airport in Doha and are bound for their home in Los Angeles, said a statement on the website of the California Innocence Project, an organization that works to win the release of wrongfully convicted inmates.

Dec 3, 2014

FBI seizes data from Los Angeles school district over iPad program

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – FBI agents investigating the purchasing process for the Los Angeles school district’s $1.3 billion effort to supply students with iPads have seized 20 boxes of documents, the district’s superintendent said on Tuesday.

The surprise involvement of the FBI in the controversial project follows the October resignation of Superintendent John Deasy, who drew criticism over the process used to select Apple Inc to provide iPads and Pearson Plc to provide built-in curriculum. He was replaced by Roman Cortines.

Dec 2, 2014

U.S. couple stuck in Qatar in child death case can leave: ambassador

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Qatar will soon lift a travel ban that has kept a U.S. couple from leaving the Gulf Arab state even after their convictions were overturned in the death of their African-born adopted daughter, the U.S. ambassador to Qatar said on Tuesday.

Ambassador Dana Shell Smith said on Twitter that Matthew and Grace Huang should be able to leave the country on Wednesday once the travel ban was lifted, and added she expected no further prosecution appeals in the case.

Nov 21, 2014

L.A. school district settles teacher sex abuse suits for $139 million

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles school district has agreed to pay $139 million to families of students subject to sexual abuse by an elementary school teacher who infamously took bondage-style photos of some pupils, school officials said on Friday.

The Los Angeles Unified School District and attorneys for the families settled all remaining litigation in the case involving the teacher as jury selection was underway for a trial in some of the cases. The school district had previously paid $30 million to settle dozens of other related lawsuits.

Nov 21, 2014

Judge overturns capital sentence of Wyoming’s only death row inmate

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday vacated the death sentence of Wyoming’s only inmate awaiting capital punishment, in a ruling that faulted the murder convict’s trial lawyers for not adequately presenting to jurors evidence of his mental impairment and troubled life.

Dale Eaton, 69, was found guilty in 2004 in the 1988 kidnap, rape and murder of 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell, whose body was found near Casper, Wyoming soon after her disappearance. She had been traveling from Colorado to Montana when she stopped in Wyoming and encountered Eaton.

Nov 20, 2014

More charges for California man in drive-by shootings that killed four

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A man linked to a spate of seemingly random drive-by shootings in the Los Angeles area over the summer that killed four people was charged on Thursday with several additional counts of murder stemming from the attacks, prosecutors said.

The latest charges against Alexander Hernandez, 34, who has been in jail without bail since police arrested him in August, accuse him of three murders and five attempted murders, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Nov 20, 2014

California man convicted in 1978 murder to be freed based on DNA evidence

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An inmate convicted of murder in the 1978 shooting death of a Southern California man should be freed after 36 years behind bars based on DNA analysis and investigative reports withheld from his trial attorney, a prosecutor said on Wednesday after a judge overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial.

The California Innocence Project, which worked to win the freedom of Michael Hanline, now 69, and pressed local prosecutors to re-examine the evidence, said his case represents the oldest conviction ever reversed in state history.

Nov 19, 2014

Mother says Vatican criticism of daughter’s Oregon assisted suicide hurtful

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The mother of a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer who took advantage of Oregon’s assisted suicide law to end her life said on Tuesday that the Vatican deeply wounded her by unfairly calling into question her daughter’s decision.

Debbie Ziegler, the mother of Brittany Maynard who ended her life at her Portland home on Nov. 1 by taking a fatal dose of medication, wrote on the website of Compassion & Choices, an organization that supports assisted suicide and worked with Maynard in the final weeks of her life.

Nov 18, 2014

Owner of closed California sushi spot pleads guilty to selling whale meat

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The owner of a shuttered Los Angeles-area sushi restaurant has pleaded guilty to allowing meat from the endangered sei whale to be served at the upscale establishment, in a case that outraged animal rights activists, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Brian Vidor pleaded guilty in federal court in California on Monday to one count of illegally selling whale meat at his Santa Monica restaurant, The Hump, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Mitchell.

Nov 15, 2014

Atlantic City Taj Mahal casino set to close within four weeks

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The planned closure of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City will occur within four weeks, as it joins four other gambling establishments that have shut their doors this year in the faltering New Jersey resort city, according to court papers filed on Friday.

Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc, which operates the Taj Mahal, filed for bankruptcy in September as it outlined plans to close the casino, which has suffered declining gambling revenue and falling occupancy in its 2,000 rooms, around Nov. 13. The Taj Mahal this year had more than 3,000 workers on its payroll.