Louisiana news briefs

From The Associated Press.

Court gives OK to juvenile concealed handgun ban
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s Supreme Court has upheld the state’s ban on possession of concealed handguns by juveniles, rejecting arguments that a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2012 prohibits the Legislature from enacting concealed weapon laws.
Tuesday’s opinion written by Justice Marcus Clark said the amendment does not prohibit sensible firearms regulation and that “common sense, science and social science” all hold that possession of a handgun by a juvenile is dangerous to the public.
The 2012 amendment says that any gun restriction in state law must be subject to “strict scrutiny” by the court — meaning the state carries a heavy burden to prove the restriction is necessary to meet a government interest, such as public safety.

Jobless rate drops to 5.7%
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s unemployment rate dropped sharply to 5.7 percent in December, even as the state’s labor force expanded.
A separate survey shows payrolls fell slightly from November, but remain 19,000 jobs above December 2012. Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes — were released Tuesday by the U.S. Labor Department.
It’s the fourth straight month unemployment has fallen in Louisiana, as the state’s job market recovered from a slowdown in early 2013. Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in November and 5.6 percent in December 2012.
Rhode Island had the nation’s worst jobless rate at 9.1 percent, while North Dakota was again lowest at 2.6 percent. Unemployment rates fell or were unchanged in 44 U.S. states in December. The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers added jobs to payrolls in 30 states and cut jobs 19.
The national unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in December from 7 percent in November. It was also below the 7.9 percent level of December 2012.

2 teens killed, 4 others injured in high speed crash
PINEVILLE (AP) — State police say two teenagers were killed and four others injured in a single vehicle crash in Rapides Parish.
Troopers say the accident happened around 9 a.m. on Ridgolette Road west of U.S. 71.
Trooper Scott Moreau says a Jeep driven by a 16-year-old of Pineville topped a small hill at a high rate of speed and the vehicle became airborne.
Moreau says the SUV left the roadway and hit a large tree.
He says the driver suffered minor injuries.
Moreau identified the dead as 17-year-old Logan Cameron Ammons, of Ball, and 15-year-old Christain Gage Lavallie, of Pineville.
Four other passengers received moderate injuries and were taken to two Alexandria hospitals.

State execution method change won’t end challenge
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s shift to a two-drug lethal injection method has worsened the risk of cruel and unusual punishment for a DeSoto Parish man scheduled for execution next week, an attorney for the condemned killer said Tuesday.
Gary Clements is asking a federal judge to postpone the Feb. 5 execution date set for Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of the 1992 beating and scalding death of his 6-year-old stepson.
Clements has argued the judge should delay the execution because of continuing questions about the drugs that will be used, how the state will obtain them and whether the method violates Sepulvado’s constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment.
The Department of Corrections announced late Monday that the Louisiana State Penitentiary didn’t have the pentobarbital that its execution protocol said would be used for the injection. The department said it rewrote the protocol to also allow for a two-drug combination used in Ohio that includes the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone.
In new court documents filed Tuesday, Clements said that two-drug method could put Sepulvado even more at risk. The attorney cited witness statements describing a man recently executed in Ohio as gasping, struggling and convulsing for up to 15 minutes after the drugs began flowing.
“Defendants know or should that this method of execution creates a substantial risk of pain from death by suffocation. The harm to which Defendants will subject Sepulvado ... is substantial and objectively intolerable,” Clements, director of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, wrote in the court filing.

Sentences, conviction
upheld in AK-47 slayings
BATON ROUGE (AP) — An appeals court has let stand a Baton Rouge man’s manslaughter convictions and 80-year prison sentence for the AK-47 assault rifle slaying of a mother and son in 2009.
A three-judge panel of the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal rejected Derrick George Gordy’s claim that 40-year-old Patricia Aldridge’s chilling 911 call should not have been played for the East Baton Rouge Parish jury that found him guilty in May 2012.
Gordy was charged in the deaths of Aldridge and 21-year-old Ronald Thacker Jr. outside their home.
“We are very pleased that the 1st Circuit has agreed with the state’s position as to the 911 call. This call was relevant and an important piece of information that the jury needed to hear,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Monday.
Gordy, who was 16 at the time of the killings, also argued to the appellate court that his consecutive 40-year prison terms are excessive and tantamount to a life sentence. Gordy is now 21.

Slaughter to seek appeal
of SU foundation ruling
BATON ROUGE (AP) — An attorney for former Southern University System President Ralph Slaughter says he’s asking an appeals court to reverse a state judge and let a jury decide whether Slaughter owes nearly half a million dollars to the private SU System Foundation.
District Judge Tim Kelley ordered Slaughter to repay the foundation $475,000, which included salary supplements totaling $400,000 and $75,000 in foundation money that Slaughter used to pay lawyer Jill Craft after he sued Southern over his 2009 dismissal.
The foundation contends in a lawsuit against Slaughter that he received the $400,000 in salary supplements without foundation board approval
Slaughter attorney John McLindon wants the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to overturn Kelley’s 2012 rulings and send the case back to a district court jury to consider the matter.

State execution method change won’t end challenge
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s shift to a two-drug lethal injection method has worsened the risk of cruel and unusual punishment for a DeSoto Parish man scheduled for execution next week, an attorney for the condemned killer said Tuesday.
Gary Clements is asking a federal judge to postpone the Feb. 5 execution date set for Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of the 1992 beating and scalding death of his 6-year-old stepson.
Clements has argued the judge should delay the execution because of continuing questions about the drugs that will be used, how the state will obtain them and whether the method violates Sepulvado’s constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment.
The Department of Corrections announced late Monday that the Louisiana State Penitentiary didn’t have the pentobarbital that its execution protocol said would be used for the injection. The department said it rewrote the protocol to also allow for a two-drug combination used in Ohio that includes the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone.
In new court documents filed Tuesday, Clements said that two-drug method could put Sepulvado even more at risk. The attorney cited witness statements describing a man recently executed in Ohio as gasping, struggling and convulsing for up to 15 minutes after the drugs began flowing.
“Defendants know or should that this method of execution creates a substantial risk of pain from death by suffocation. The harm to which Defendants will subject Sepulvado ... is substantial and objectively intolerable,” Clements, director of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, wrote in the court filing.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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