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Stoddard firefighter charged with arson due in court

•  Legal Exams     updated  2016/04/25 10:46


A volunteer firefighter charged with arson in connection with a brush fire that burned 190 acres in New Hampshire and prompted the evacuation of 17 homes is due to make his first court appearance.
 
David Plante is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Keene.

The 31-year-old Stoddard man was charged Friday with one count of arson, but more charges are expected. He remains in custody after refusing to meet with a bail commissioner.

The fire started Thursday in Stoddard, about 40 miles west of the state capital of Concord. No injuries were reported.

Police have not said what evidence led them to Plante. It's unclear if he has an attorney.



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.




A JetBlue flight attendant accused of trying to sneak a suitcase full of cocaine through Los Angeles International Airport has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge.
 
City News Service says Marsha Gay Reynolds entered the plea Friday to possessing cocaine with intent to distribute.
   
Authorities say during a random security screening at LAX in March, the former Jamaican beauty queen left her carry-on luggage, kicked off her Gucci high heels and bolted down an upward-moving escalator.

Authorities found about 70 pounds of cocaine in her luggage. Reynolds, who lives in Queens, later surrendered in New York. If convicted, she faces 10 years in prison.


Arkansas funeral home pleads guilty over stacked bodies

•  Ethics     updated  2016/04/23 10:46


The company that owns an Arkansas funeral home where bodies were found stacked on top of each other in unrefrigerated areas pleaded guilty Friday after felony charges were dropped against the father and son who own the business.
 
Arkansas Funeral Care pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court to five felony counts of abuse of a corpse after 13 abuse of corpse charges were dismissed against LeRoy Wood and Rod Wood. The plea agreement finalized days before a trial scheduled for Monday also dropped eight corpse abuse charges against the Jacksonville funeral home.
   
The company faces up to $100,000 in fines during a sentencing hearing scheduled for May 19.

LeRoy Wood's attorney, Dustin McDaniel, said "none of it was on purpose" and his client "hopes the families of the loved ones who were involved in this know how deeply sad he is that any of this had happened."

"We are at the same time deeply gratified that the state has dropped the charges against them individually," McDaniel said.

The funeral home's license was suspended last year after the state licensing agency investigated complaints by a former employee and found a cooler "filled beyond capacity with bodies" and bodies "stacked on top of each other." Investigators removed 31 bodies and 22 cremated remains from the business.


Federal lawyer gets 30 days for forging document

•  Legal Events     updated  2016/04/22 10:46


A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney was sentenced to 30 days in jail Wednesday for forging a document to make it look like a Mexican man who wanted to stay in the United States was not eligible to do so.

Jonathan M. Love was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service, must resign his law license and must pay Ignacio Lanuza $12,000 in restitution, Seattlepi.com reported. Love, 58, previously pleaded guilty to a federal deprivation of rights misdemeanor charge, acknowledging he used his position to deprive Lanuza of due process.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Lanuza was stopped by an ICE officer in 2008, and ICE started removal proceedings.

Love was assigned the case in 2009 and submitted a document to the Immigration Court that he said was signed by Lanuza in 2000. Prosecutors say Love doctored the date to make Lanuza ineligible to have his removal cancelled.

Lanuza should have been eligible to contest his deportation because he had been living in the United States for over 10 years, showed good moral character and had a family made up of U.S. citizens. Love's forgery was meant to make it appear as though Lanuza hadn't been in the United States for 10 years and was therefore ineligible for deportation relief.

The motive for Love's actions remains unclear. He said in court Wednesday he didn't know why he did it.




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