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Judge frees Chicago from federal hiring oversight

Judge frees Chicago from hiring oversight

A federal judge Monday released Chicago from federal oversight of its hiring practices after finding it in “substantial compliance” with a decades-old decree to prevent illegal patronage.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Schenkier made the ruling following a joint request from both the attorneys for the nation’s third-largest city and lawyer Michael Shakman, who sued the city in 1969 to stop the practice of hiring workers based on political ties.

Shakman’s lawsuit led to the nationally influential “Shakman decrees,” which banned patronage hiring and firing, with exemptions for certain positions such as executive and policy posts.

The federal monitor has been in place since 2005, when at Shakman’s request the city was held in civil contempt as a result of criminal investigations of job rigging.

— Reuters

Appeals court rejects anti-sodomy law

An appeals court has ruled that an Alabama law criminalizing consensual, homosexual conduct is unconstitutional.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously overturned the state’s anti-sodomy law Friday. The judges said it was the first time the law’s constitutionality had been addressed since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar Texas law in 2003.

The state attorney general’s office brought the case to the appeals court after a prosecutor failed to get a jury to convict a defendant on the felony charge of first-degree sodomy. The jury had convicted the defendant of the lesser, non-felony charge of sexual misconduct.

The Human Rights Campaign says Alabama is one of a dozen states with anti-sodomy laws on the books.

— Associated Press

Teen pleads guilty in Detroit mob assault

A teenager pleaded guilty Monday and agreed to testify against others in a Detroit mob beating of a motorist who accidentally struck a child with his pickup.

Bruce Wimbush acknowledged that he punched Steve Utash once in the jaw during the April 2 attack on the city’s east side.

The mob pounced on Utash, a 54-year-old tree trimmer from suburban Macomb County, after he stopped to help the 10-year-old boy who had stepped in front of his truck. Utash spent days in a coma after the beating.

Wimbush, 18, told Wayne County Circuit Court Judge James Callahan that he “got emotional” when he saw the accident while walking home from high school.

Wimbush pleaded guilty to assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced July 7.

— Associated Press

Fla. governor signs medical marijuana law: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a law Monday allowing for the limited use of a special strain of marijuana to treat epileptic seizures and other diseases. State lawmakers passed the measure this spring with bipartisan support after impassioned appeals from parents seeking access to the form of marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web,” named for a Colorado girl whose epileptic seizures have shown some response to the drug.

‘Duck Dynasty’ star’s kin to run for Congress: Zach Dasher, 36, a nephew of “Duck Dynasty” reality TV personality Phil Robertson, said Monday he would run for the U.S. House of Representatives in northeastern Louisiana as a conservative Republican. The political newcomer will seek the seat of Rep. Vance McAllister (R), who was rocked by a sex scandal earlier this year.

— From news services

The Freddie Gray case

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This was supposed to be the strongest Republican presidential field in memory, but cracks are showing. At Saturday night's debate, Marco Rubio withered in the face of unyielding attacks from Chris Christie, drawing attention to the biggest question about his candidacy: Is he ready to be president? How much the debate will affect Rubio's standing Tuesday is anybody's guess. But even if he does well, the question about his readiness to serve as president and to go up against Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, will linger.
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