October 22, 2013

Nation & World Dispatches

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo.

Breastfeeding mother faces contempt of court charge

A breastfeeding Missouri mother has been charged with contempt of court after refusing to leave her son behind for jury duty.

Laura Trickle, who says her 7-month-old son doesn’t take a bottle and has to be with her to eat, has a court hearing set for Thursday. If found in contempt, she could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500 and even face arrest, The Kansas City Star reported .

Trickle first received a jury duty notice in January but received a postponement because she was pregnant. She informed court officials she was breastfeeding when she received another summons in August, but was told she must report to court and find a caregiver for her son.

When she showed up in September, she brought along her son, Axel, hoping the judge would grant an exemption. Instead she received a court order saying she “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child.”

MOSCOW

Female suicide bomber kills six people on Volgograd bus

A female suicide bomber blew herself up on a city bus in southern Russia on Monday, killing six people and injuring about 30, officials said. The attack in Volgograd added to security fears ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The suspected bomber was from the North Caucasus, a region in southern Russia where an Islamic insurgency has simmered for more than a decade after two separatist wars in Chechnya. A local official said the suspected attacker was married to an Islamic militant.

Volgograd lies 400 miles to the northeast of the North Caucasus, while Sochi sits to the west along the Black Sea.

NEW YORK

Undercover officer won’t testify before grand jury

The lawyer for an undercover police detective arrested in a New York City motorcyclist-SUV melee says the officer no longer plans to testify before a grand jury.

Attorney John Arlia initially indicated that Detective Wojciech Braszczok wanted to speak to the Manhattan grand jury that’s considering indicting him. But Arlia said Monday he’s advised Braszczok not to do so “because the evidence speaks for him.”

Arlia said he’s confident videos and other evidence will show Braszczok never came close to assaulting an SUV driver who was beaten by several other bikers.

WASHINGTON

Supreme Court will clarify mental disability standard

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to clarify the legal standard for mental disability in the case of a Florida death row inmate who is illiterate and was once judged to be severely mentally disabled.

The justices in 2002 struck down imposing the death penalty for murderers who are mentally disabled, ruling this was cruel and unusual punishment. However, the court did not set a clear standard for mental disability and left the states some leeway in the matter.

Now, the court will decide whether states may rely entirely on a single IQ test.

Florida, like nine other states, has used a cutoff score of 70 on the test to measure for mental disability. Those who score 70 or above cannot be deemed mentally disabled, even if psychologists testify the inmate has severe mental disabilities. Those below that score still may go to prison but cannot be executed.

Freddie Hall, the Florida inmate, was sentenced to die for the kidnap and murder of a woman he abducted from a grocery store in 1978.

—From news service reports

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