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The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated rape and kidnapping charges against a Cleveland man who argued that a 20-year delay in indicting him was unconstitutional.
 
In a unanimous decision, the court also ordered an appeals court to reconsider the arguments of defendant Demetrius Jones using a different legal standard.

In a twist, the ruling in the closely watched case was praised by attorneys on both sides. Jones' lawyer said ordering the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals to apply the different standard gives his client a new and stronger chance to fight the charges.

The state also applauded the decision after arguing that the dismissal of the charges by the appeals court last year created a legal precedent jeopardizing thousands of unsolved rapes being reinvestigated thanks to improved DNA testing.

"This ruling affirms law enforcement's ability to use new DNA technologies to bring criminals to justice," said Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

At issue was the 2013 indictment of Jones on a rape charge based on evidence found when an old rape kit was tested. Jones was accused of raping a woman he knew at his mother's apartment in 1993, according to Ohio Supreme Court documents.

The woman identified Jones to police and at the hospital where a rape kit was obtained, Russell Bensing, Jones' attorney, said in a court filing last fall.

Cleveland police set the investigation aside after two unsuccessful attempts to interview the accuser the following week and never tried to locate Jones or his mother, Bensing said.

Jones was indicted in 2013, one day before the deadline for prosecuting a case that old. His attorneys successfully asked a judge to throw out the case because the state took too long, and last year the appeals court upheld the decision.


Court won't reinstate church official's conviction

•  National News     updated  2016/07/28 08:43


The first U.S. church official convicted over his handling of priest-abuse complaints could soon leave prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed Tuesday that his conviction was flawed.

Monsignor William Lynn, who served two cardinals at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has been imprisoned for almost three years for child endangerment.

But the high court Tuesday declined to reinstate his 2012 conviction. A lower appeals court had found the trial judge allowed too much indirect testimony from other church-abuse victims.

Defense lawyer Tom Bergstrom will ask that his client be released this week. Lynn, 65, has nearly served the minimum of his three- to six-year term.

"He was in the middle of this thing, by direction of the cardinal," Bergstrom said. "He was thrown into this melting pot of awfulness, without a whole lot of experience (and) without a whole lot of education. ... And he did his best."

Prosecutors after two grand jury investigations found that Lynn played a key role helping the archdiocese transfer known pedophile-priests through his job as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

The trial revealed that his bosses kept a half century of abuse complaints in secret, locked files under Lynn's control and that he reviewed them to compile lists of suspected pedophiles.

Lynn was charged, though, with enabling the abuse of a single, 10-year-old altar boy by a priest transferred to the parish despite other complaints.

Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, in sentencing Lynn, said he had "enabled monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children."

Lynn's novel case has reached the state Supreme Court twice, and he has been in and out of prison amid several rounds of appeals.

Prosecutors could ask to retry the case. A spokesman for District Attorney Seth Williams said the office would review its options.

Lynn, during several grueling days on the stand, said he tried his best but "my best was not good enough."




A federal judge on Monday chose a monitor team to oversee reforms of Ferguson's policing and court system, a process expected to cost the St. Louis suburb more than $1 million.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry announced that Squire Patton Boggs, a law firm based in Cleveland, was picked from four finalists to make sure reforms are adequate in Ferguson. City officials say the cost of the monitoring will not exceed $1.25 million over five years, or $350,000 for any single year.

The team will be led by Clark Ervin, who was inspector general for the U.S. State Department and Homeland Security before becoming a partner at Squire Patton Boggs.

A consent decree between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice, approved by Perry in April, calls for diversity training for police, outfitting officers and jail workers with body cameras, and other reforms.

"I'm excited that both the City of Ferguson and the Department of Justice have worked together to complete the process of choosing an Independent Monitor," Ferguson City Manager De'Carlon Seewood said in a statement. "This is a true testament that the collaboration between both parties had a mission and that is to do what's best for the Ferguson community and its police department."







Prosecutors have asked a federal appeals court to delay action for 30 days on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case — to allow both sides time to analyze it.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reportsthe U.S. Attorney's Office said the motion filed jointly Thursday proposes that parties file a briefing schedule or update the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on discussions after 30 days.

McDonnell was convicted in 2014 of doing favors for a wealthy businessman in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

The Supreme Court overturned McDonnell's conviction in June, saying his actions were distasteful but didn't necessarily violate federal bribery laws. The case was returned to the lower court to decide whether there's enough evidence for another trial.




An attorney for a Florida man charged with fatally shooting a patient and employee at a hospital in an apparent random attack says his client is severely mentally ill.

Harley Gutin is an attorney for 29-year-old David Owens. He said Monday that his client is incompetent to stand trial.

Titusville, Florida, police say Owens entered Parrish Medical Center early Sunday and fatally shot 88-year-old patient Cynthia Zingsheim and employee Carrie Rouzer, who was sitting in Zingsheim's room. Owens has been charged with two counts of murder and is being held at the county jail.

Gutin says Owen's family had been trying desperately in recent weeks to get him long-term mental health care.

Gutin says he has no idea how Owens was able to get a gun.



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