U.S. court rejects new abortion curbs

A federal court Tuesday struck down Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy absent a medical emergency.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the law violated a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb.

Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or earlier. Several of those bans had previously been placed on hold or struck down by courts.

Judge Marsha Berzon, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel on the San Francisco-based court, said such bans before viability violate a long string of U.S. Supreme Court rulings starting with the seminal Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed the ban into law in April 2012. U.S. District Judge James Teilborg ruled it was constitutional, but the 9th Circuit blocked the ban from taking effect until it ruled.

— Associated Press

Photos from Tucson attack scene released

Authorities on Tuesday released 600 photos taken in the aftermath of the attack that killed six people and wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January 2011.

The photos show the handgun, high-capacity magazines and knife that Jared Lee Loughner had with him as he carried out the attack in Tucson.

The most graphic image shows a small puddle of blood outside the shopping center amid plastic bags and trash.

The images were made public nearly two months after the Pima County Sheriff’s Department released about 2,700 pages of investigative reports examining the shooting, marking the public’s first view of documents that authorities had kept private since the attack.

— Associated Press

State treasurer quits in corruption probe

Arkansas’ state treasurer resigned Tuesday after being accused of accepting at least $36,000 in cash in exchange for steering business to an investment broker, bowing to bipartisan calls to step down or face removal from office.

Democrat Martha Shoffner, 68, had held the office since 2007 and was reelected in 2010. She was barred by term limits from seeking reelection next year.

Shoffner was arrested in an FBI sting operation Saturday. She appeared in court Monday and was released on her own recognizance.

— Associated Press

No alcohol, drugs found in Lanza’s body

Toxicology tests on the body of the Newtown school shooter did not turn up any alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medications, an official close to the investigation said Tuesday.

Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 before killing himself.

The official said the toxicology tests were completed about five weeks ago. Authorities haven’t revealed whether Lanza had been prescribed medications or whether any disorder was diagnosed that could help explain the massacre.

— Associated Press

Letter carrier sentenced in pipe-bomb attempt: John Tomkins, 48, a Dubuque, Iowa, letter carrier, was sentenced to 37 years in prison by a federal judge in Chicago Tuesday for sending dud pipe bombs with letters signed “The Bishop” in 2007 in an odd but potentially deadly bid to drive up the value of shares he owned.

— From news services