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National Digest: N.J. high court to rule on same-sex marriage; Mo. execution halted

High court to rule on same-sex marriage

The state Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a case on whether same-sex marriage should be legal in the state and whether licenses can be issued while it decides.

Last month, a lower-court judge agreed with gay rights advocates that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June makes it necessary for the state to grant same-sex marriages, starting Oct. 21.

The state wants that delayed until the appeals are fully resolved.

The court is expected to rule before Oct. 21 on the question of issuing licenses and is scheduled to hear the full case on Jan. 6 or 7.

The administration of Gov. Chris Christie (R), who is considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, asked the court to take the case without first going through an appeals court.

In a brief filed Friday, it argued that the issue is too important to be decided by just one judge.

— Associated Press

Request for lawyer
for Libyan is denied

A Libyan who is under indictment in the deadly 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa must arrive in New York and prove he cannot afford a lawyer before a public defender can be appointed to represent him, a judge said Friday.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in Manhattan rejected an application from David E. Patton, head of the Federal Defenders of New York, to appoint an attorney for Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, also known as Abu Anas al-Libi.

Ruqai, 49, was captured last Saturday and has been undergoing questioning aboard a U.S. Navy warship in the Mediterranean. He is charged in federal court in Manhattan with conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the United States at the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. ­Near-simultaneous bombings in August 1998 at those embassies killed more than 200 people, including a dozen Americans.

In his application, Patton relied on a part of the federal criminal code’s rules requiring that a person making an arrest outside the United States take the defendant “without unnecessary delay” before a magistrate judge.

Federal prosecutors argued that the application is premature, in part because Ruqai “has not been criminally arrested.”

— Associated Press

Governor vetoes
tough gun legislation

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill Friday that would have imposed the nation’s toughest restrictions on gun ownership, saying it was too far-reaching.

The legislation would have banned sales of most semi­automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines, part of a firearms package approved by state lawmakers in response to mass shootings in other states.

“I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi­automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights,” Brown wrote in his veto message.

He also said that the state already has some of the nation’s strictest gun and ammunition laws.

— Associated Press

Elephant kills zookeeper: An elephant at a Missouri zoo accidentally killed a longtime zoo manager Friday, Springfield city officials said. John Phillip Bradford, 62, who had worked at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield for 30 years, was working in the elephant barn Friday morning when the elephant swung its head and struck him, city spokeswoman Cora Scott said. The elephant, Patience, has been at the zoo since 1990 and will remain part of the zoo’s exhibit.

— From news services

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