Boston bombing suspect’s friend released; California court deals blow to pot stores

May 6, 2013
Massachusetts
Bombing suspect’s friend is released

A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been released from federal custody while he awaits trial for allegedly lying to federal investigators probing the April 15 bombings.

Robel Phillipos was charged last week and faces up to eight years in prison if convicted. The 19-year-old was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with Tsarnaev.

Prosecutors initially asked that Phillipos be held while he awaits trial, arguing that he poses a serious flight risk. But prosecutors and Phillipos’s lawyers said Monday in a joint motion that they now agree that Phillipos can be released under strict conditions, including home confinement, monitoring with an electronic bracelet and a $100,000 secured bond.

Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler agreed to the request during a hearing Monday afternoon.

— Associated Press

California
Cities can ban pot stores, court rules

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries, a decision likely to further diminish the network of storefront pot shops and fuel efforts to have the state regulate the industry.

In a unanimous opinion, the court held that California’s medical marijuana laws — the nation’s first and most liberal — neither prevent local governments from using their land-use powers to zone dispensaries out of existence nor grant authorized users convenient access to the drug.

The ruling came in a legal challenge to a ban enacted by the city of Riverside in 2010, but 200 other jurisdictions have similar prohibitions on retail pot sales, the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access estimates.

Of the 18 states that allow the medical use of marijuana, California is the only one where residents can obtain a doctor’s recommendation to consume it for any ailment the physician sees fit as opposed to only for conditions such as AIDS and glaucoma.

— Associated Press

Kansas
Wild cats seized from private farmland

A tiger and two mountain lions were among a menagerie of wild cats seized from private farmland in rural northeast Kansas, where they lived in inadequate chain-link enclosures and weren’t properly fed or watered, authorities said Monday.

Authorities found a tiger, two mountain lions, three bobcats, two lynx, a type of African cat called a serval and two skunks on the property. They were taken Sunday from the land belonging to a relative of the animals’ owner and were turned over to animal sanctuaries in Texas, Florida and Kansas.

— Associated Press

Newtown educators get Citizen Honors medals: The six educators killed in the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School were honored by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society on Monday with the society’s Citizen Honors medals. The society said it chose Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto to receive its highest award it gives to a civilian, after receiving dozens of nominations for their actions during the shooting.

— From news services

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