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Friday, 18 April 2014 12:11 Published in National News
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Courts and legislatures are slowly shifting away from using eyewitness testimony as the gold standard of evidence. The reason: Studies show it's only right about half the time.
That has led a small group of police chiefs, courts and lawmakers to toughen laws governing the handling of eyewitnesses and their accounts of crimes. Reform advocates say procedures long regarded as solid police work can fundamentally alter what someone believes they saw.
Prosecutors have pushed back against the effort politically. National District Attorneys Association director Scott Burns says reform efforts are targeted at undercutting prosecutors.
State supreme courts in Oregon and New Jersey implemented stringent guidelines for eyewitness testimony. Legislatures in seven states, from Connecticut to North Carolina, along with a number of cities have overhauled their treatment of eyewitness testimony.
Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:48 Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge has delayed a decision about granting Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford's request to throw out a lawsuit filed against him by a former employee.
An attorney for former employee Edmund Michalowski asked at a Thursday hearing for a month to respond to Rutherford's motion. Judge Joan Lefkow agreed. She didn't say when she would rule on Rutherford's request.
Michalowski accused Rutherford in January of sexual harassment and making him do political work while on state time.
Rutherford denies the claims and says they're politically motivated. The lawsuit came in the midst of Rutherford's failed bid for the Republican nomination for Illinois governor.
Rutherford's attorneys argue Michalowski doesn't show how he was harassed or discriminated against. And they argue Rutherford is entitled to government immunity.
Thursday, 17 April 2014 14:43 Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House and Senate have each passed bills that would prevent people younger than 18 from purchasing electronic cigarettes.
But the legislation passed on Thursday would also exempt those products from the state's tobacco taxes, which opponents say would allow the nicotine products to be sold with fewer restrictions.
Supporters say taxing the products would prevent the measure from passing the Republican-led Legislature. They argued that failing to pass a bill would mean children could continue buying the e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices used to heat a liquid nicotine solution and create vapor that is inhaled.
The House voted 129-19 to send its bill to the Senate, where senators voted 27-4 in favor of their version. Both chambers must pass identical legislation by mid-May.