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Case of American jailed in Cuba back in US court

•  National News     updated  2014/09/29 16:50


A government subcontractor who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over lost wages and legal fees, his attorney told an appeals court Friday.

Alan Gross was working in Cuba as a government subcontractor when he was arrested in 2009. He has since lost income and racked up legal fees, his attorney Barry Buchman told the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A lawyer for the government argued the claims are based on his detention in Cuba, making him ineligible to sue.

The panel is expected to issue a written ruling on the case at a later date.

A lower-court judge previously threw out Gross' lawsuit against the government in 2013, saying federal law bars lawsuits against the government based on injuries suffered in foreign countries. Gross' lawyers appealed.

Gross was detained in December 2009 while working to set up Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development, which does work promoting democracy in the communist country. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Cuba considers USAID's programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Court-martial for Missouri drill sergeant resumes

•  National News     updated  2014/09/29 16:50


The military court-martial of a Missouri sergeant accused of sexually assaulting eight female soldiers has resumed.

A verdict is expected Wednesday after a three-day trial for 30-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Angel M. Sanchez, who is accused of using his supervisory position with the 14th Military Police Brigade to threaten some of the women he was tasked with training.

Sanchez pleaded guilty to three charges at the outset of the military judicial hearing. His accusers said the incidents took place in the bathroom of the female barracks as well as in an office shared by drill sergeants.

Most of the allegations involved women at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, but some involved women in Afghanistan and Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Court reverses woman's conviction in child's death

•  Recent Cases     updated  2014/09/22 16:52


A state appeals court Wednesday overturned the conviction of a South Texas woman imprisoned for capital murder in the 2006 salt poisoning death of her 4-year-old foster son.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a new trial for Hannah Overton of Corpus Christi. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the death of Andrew Burd.

Overton has argued she had ineffective counsel during her 2007 trial, and the state's highest appeals court agreed.

The court in its ruling noted Overton's defense attorneys opted not to present the testimony of an expert medical witness. The court said it "was not a reasonable decision" to withhold testimony by the physician that could have benefited Overton.

She also argued that prosecutors had withheld evidence in her trial, but the appeals court did not address that claim.

Overton contended Andrew had emotional and medical problems, including an eating disorder in which he'd consume odd food items. The boy had elevated sodium levels when he died at a Corpus Christi hospital. Tests also showed he had bleeding on the brain and swelling. A doctor who examined the child testified at Overton's trial that he could have survived if taken to the hospital earlier.



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