Alaska Becomes 3rd State with Legal Marijuana

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Smoking, growing and possessing marijuana becomes legal in America’s wildest state Tuesday, thanks to a voter initiative aimed at clearing away 40 years of conflicting laws and court rulings. Making Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the state’s constitution. But when they voted 52-48 percent last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out. Meanwhile, Alaska Native leaders worry that legalization will bring new temptations to communities already confronting high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and suicide. Continue Reading

Dozens Gather for Vigil for Ohio boy Fatally Shot by Police

CLEVELAND (AP) — Groups in northeast Ohio gathered for a protest and evening vigil to honor the 12-year-old boy who was holding a pellet gun when he was fatally shot by police three months ago. WKYC-TV reports dozens attended the snowy candlelight vigil held Sunday for 12-year-old Tamir Rice near the Cleveland recreation center where he was fatally wounded. Tamir had a pellet gun when police responded to a Nov. 22 call about someone with a firearm near the center. About a dozen protesters temporarily blocked traffic outside a police station before the vigil. Continue Reading

Prosecutors Rebut ‘American Sniper’ Suspect Insanity Defense

STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors are scheduled to continue their rebuttal against the defense of the ex-Marine charged with killing famed Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle. The trial of Eddie Ray Routh is expected to resume Monday in Stephenville, though sleet and cold temperatures in North Texas could force a delay. Routh’s attorneys presented their case last week, arguing Routh was legally insane when he shot Kyle and friend Chad Littlefield two years ago. Prosecutors then called two mental health experts who argued that while he used alcohol and marijuana, Routh was legally responsible. The jury could receive the case later this week. Continue Reading

Trial of Maine Man Accused of Luring Teen via Facebook Opens

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A Maine jury will hear opening statements in the murder case of a 21-year-old man who is accused of using Facebook to lure a teenager to her death. The trial of Kyle Dube of Orono begins in Bangor on Monday and is expected to last two weeks. Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment on the trial in the weeks leading up to their court statements. Investigators say Dube used a fake Facebook profile to set up a meeting with 15-year-old Nichole Cable of Glenburn, then killed her in May 2013. He pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and murder in 2013. Continue Reading

NYC, Orthodox Jews in Talks Over Ritual After Herpes Cases

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is negotiating with a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews over how to regulate an age-old circumcision ritual while still preserving religious freedom. In this so-called oral suction, the circumciser sucks the blood from the infant’s cut. Health officials have linked the rite to 17 cases of herpes in babies since 2000. Two died and two others suffered brain damage. Rabbi A. Romi Cohn says he’s had no infections after performing 35,000 circumcisions. Continue Reading

Girls Describe Stabbing Classmate in Interrogation Video

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Police interrogation video of two Wisconsin girls accused of nearly killing a classmate to please a fictional character shows them describing their calculated plan to kill their friend. WISN-TV obtained the 9-hour videotaped interrogation of the girls, ages 12 and 13. One of the girls wipes away tears as she explains how they hoped to please Slender Man by killing their friend in a Waukesha park. She says they told their 12-year-old victim, Peyton Leutner, they were going to get help, but that they really planned to run away and let her die. Continue Reading

Woman whose Baby Boy Missing Ruled Competent to Stand Trial

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A 25-year-old Lansing-area woman whose baby boy is missing and presumed dead has been found competent to stand trial in the 2013 death of her baby daughter. The Lansing State Journal says a psychologist at Michigan’s Center for Forensic Psychiatry, however, hasn’t given an opinion about 25-year-old Melissa Mitin’s mental state when prosecutors say she killed her newborn girl by putting her face down in a wastebasket. An opinion regarding criminal responsibility is expected to be made within three to four weeks. Mitin’s attorney, Frank Reynolds, said at a hearing Thursday in Ingham County Circuit Court that he will rely on his own experts, as well. Continue Reading

Plea Deal Coming in Fatal Punch of Referee

DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer for a soccer player charged in the one-punch killing of a referee during a game says his client has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in which he would serve 8-15 years in prison. Attorney Cyril Hall told The Associated Press he expects Bassel Saad to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter during a hearing Friday in Detroit. A message was left Friday with the prosecutor. Saad’s trial had been scheduled to begin Monday. The 36-year-old auto mechanic from Dearborn is charged with second-degree murder. Continue Reading

Court: Not Disclosing HIV Before Sex is a Misdemeanor

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court says an HIV-positive man who told a partner that they could safely have unprotected sex should face a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge, not a felony. The Court of Appeals says Terrance Williams didn’t expose his partner “out of any malevolent desire” to give him the virus that causes AIDS, though his partner got sick. The court majority called Williams’ 2010 conduct “reckless, selfish and reprehensible.” But it also says the Syracuse man didn’t show “depraved indifference” necessary to support the felony. The four judges declined to decide whether HIV infection no longer “creates a grave and unjustifiable risk of death” because of advances in medical treatment. Continue Reading