Alex's Feed
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.

Nov 13, 2014

Hunt on for California driver who killed teen while fleeing police

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – Police in Northern California have recovered a car they believe struck and killed a 14-year-old boy at a crosswalk during a police chase this week, but were still searching for the driver, authorities said on Thursday.

Teenager Ivan Cruz had been holding a scooter and crossing the street with friends in the San Francisco Bay area town of Ashland when he was struck on Tuesday, said Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sergeant J.D. Nelson.

Nov 12, 2014

California nurses strike ahead of larger protest over Ebola measures

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – Nearly 20,000 nurses went on strike in California on Tuesday over patient care issues that include what their union views as insufficient protection for nurses who may care for patients stricken with the deadly Ebola virus, in a prelude to broader national protests expected on Wednesday.

The two-day California strike, by nurses whose union is in the midst of acrimonious contract talks, targeted 86 hospitals and clinics operated by Kaiser Permanente in the northern part of the state and two hospitals run by other healthcare providers, according to National Nurses United.

Nov 9, 2014

Judge voids Arizona human smuggling law, finding it infringes on U.S. government

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – A federal judge has struck down a 2005 Arizona criminal statute against human smuggling in a ruling that found it infringed on the U.S. government’s power to enforce immigration law.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Friday represents the latest setback for the southwestern state that borders Mexico to use Arizona law and local police to stem the flow of unauthorized immigrants. A number of those state provisions have been overturned in court.

Nov 5, 2014

California schools chief re-elected in race that became referendum on education reform

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California’s union-backed schools superintendent has won re-election, defeating a challenger who called for tying teacher pay to student performance and a reshaping of tenure rules in an expensive race that emerged as a referendum on education reform.

According to state election figures, incumbent Tom Torlakson won 52 percent of the vote on Tuesday, compared with 48 percent for Marshall Tuck, a former charter school executive who ran as an education reformer and enjoyed support from several wealthy donors.

Nov 3, 2014

Suspected driver arrested in fatal Halloween hit-and-run in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police have arrested a driver suspected of killing three 13-year-old girls in a hit-and-run incident at a Southern California crosswalk as they were trick-or-treating on Halloween, officials said on Monday.

Jaquinn Ramone Bell, 31, was arrested on Sunday at a Motel 6 in Stanton, a short distance from Santa Ana where the hit and run occurred on Friday night, Santa Ana police Chief Carlos Rojas told a news conference.

Nov 2, 2014

Utah National Guard disciplines four servicemen over bikini-model video

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The Utah National Guard is forcing an officer into early retirement for his involvement in a video featuring bikini-clad models riding in a tank, and three other service members face lesser discipline, a guard spokesman said on Saturday.

The non-commissioned officer allowed part of the video, which surfaced on the Internet last month, to be produced at Camp Williams in the Salt Lake Valley, said National Guard spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Steve Fairbourn.