Judge upholds limits on funeral protests

A federal judge has upheld a Missouri law requiring protesters to stay at least a football-field length away from funeral sites, beginning an hour before they start until an hour after the services end.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. caps a nearly eight-year legal fight over Missouri’s funeral protest restrictions that were prompted after members of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, which is opposed to homosexuality, protested at the funeral of a Missouri soldier who had been killed in Iraq.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said the law is now in effect. Gaitan’s ruling was dated Monday.

— Associated Press

Ex-state official found guilty in federal case

A jury convicted former state treasurer Martha Shoffner (D) of federal bribery and extortion charges Tuesday, saying her acceptance of $36,000 from a bond trader who did business with the state was a felony rather than just a lapse in ethical judgment.

Shoffner wept quietly before the jurors, who deliberated for about three hours, returned to the courtroom, but showed no reaction as U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes read the 14 consecutive guilty verdicts.

Shoffner was arrested in May when FBI agents raided her home in Newport, finding $6,000 that was delivered by bond dealer Steele Stephens after he began cooperating with authorities.

— Associated Press

New sanity review in theater massacre: A judge overseeing the Colorado movie-theater shooting case appointed an evaluator Tuesday to conduct a second sanity examination of accused gunman James Holmes. Holmes, 26, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges linked to the 2012 shooting in a suburban Denver cinema that killed 12 moviegoers and injured 70.

Cash, checks stolen from Houston megachurch: Authorities are investigating after $600,000 in checks and cash was stolen from a safe at pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch. Police said Tuesday that $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from a safe sometime after 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The theft was reported Monday morning by a church employee and an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who provides security at the facility.

— From news services