By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The lawyer for acquitted killer George Zimmerman said the rules for Florida murder trials should be changed so jurors are only instructed to consider the lenient standards of the state's "stand your ground" self-defense law when a case merits it. Attorney Mark O'Mara said he will send to the Florida Bar this week a proposal to let judges decide when juries should be instructed to consider stand your ground. "Only include it in those cases where the 'stand your ground, no duty to retreat' issue is relevant," O'Mara told Reuters on Wednesday. O'Mara argued self defense on behalf of his client Zimmerman in the Florida shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2011.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A consulting firm that helped write an environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline complied with federal rules regarding possible conflict of interest, the State Department's inspector general said Wednesday in a report that buoyed supporters of the controversial pipeline and disappointed critics.
PHOENIX (AP) — Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday vetoed a Republican bill that set off a national debate over gay rights, religion and discrimination and subjected Arizona to blistering criticism from major corporations and political leaders from both parties.
By Laila Kearney SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A corruption probe in a small California town has resulted in the arrests of four current and former police officers for stealing impounded cars belonging to mostly poor Latino drivers, prosecutors said on Wednesday. Those arrested on Tuesday in the agricultural town of King City included interim Police Chief Bruce Miller and his brother Brian Miller, who owns a towing company, said Monterey County Chief Assistant District Attorney Terry Spitz. "The victims were economically disadvantaged persons of Hispanic descent who were targeted by having their vehicles impounded, towed and stored by Miller's Tow," Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said in a statement. "The vehicle owners were unable to pay the fees and the vehicles were sold or provided for free to some of the officers." King City has about 13,000 residents and is located 145 miles south of San Francisco and is more than 87 percent Latino, according to U.S. Census figures.
WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man has pleaded not guilty to murder in the July poisoning death of an alleged extortion victim of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
PHOENIX (AP) — The bill has galvanized business leaders and gay-rights supporters nationwide, united libertarians and Christian conservatives and stirred up a passionate debate on topics like religion and discrimination.
CHICAGO (AP) — A reputed lieutenant and longtime friend of recently captured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman indicated in a U.S. courtroom Wednesday that he will change his plea to guilty in a $1 billion trafficking conspiracy that prosecutors say was masterminded by his infamous boss.
The ex-boyfriend of Amanda Knox is distancing himself from the U.S. former exchange student, convicted of murdering her British roommate in an Italian university town, as he pursues his own appeal in the case, his U.S.-based lawyer said on Wednesday. Italian Raffaele Sollecito was convicted of murder along with Knox at a retrial last month in the 2007 stabbing death of Meredith Kercher, in a decision that reversed an earlier appeal judgment that cleared the pair. The facts and the evidence with regard to each of them is entirely different," said Kelly, who acts as Sollecito's spokesman in the United States. Kercher, 21, was found stabbed to death in her bedroom in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia.
By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - A South Florida drug dealer, who was convicted in the pipe-bomb killing of a state highway patrolman during a traffic stop 22 years ago, was executed on Wednesday, state prison officials said. Paul Augustus Howell met with a spiritual adviser and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the hours before his death by lethal injection at Florida State Prison. Howell was sentenced to die in 1995 for the death of state trooper Jimmy Fulford. Fulford, 35, had stopped the car for speeding on I-10 in Jefferson County.
PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill on Wednesday that has been derided by critics as a license to discriminate against gays in the name of religion, saying the measure could result in "unintended and negative consequences." The measure, passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature last week, would have allowed business owners to cite personal religious beliefs as legal grounds for refusing to serve same-sex couples or any other prospective customers. ...
By Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department acted properly in its choice of an outside contractor to review the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a U.S. report said on Wednesday, raising calls by the project's supporters for President Barack Obama to approve it. The State Department inspector general's report cleared the State Department of accusations by environmentalists there was undue influence by the pipeline's developer on a draft federal environmental review of the contentious project. TransCanada Corp had recommended four companies to the State Department to do an environmental review, including Environmental Resources Management, Inc, or ERM, but did not tell the department it had previously worked with the company. Under U.S. law, major industrial projects like Keystone, which would carry 800,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf, must undergo an environmental review.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Henry Casso, a longtime civil rights leader in New Mexico who worked his way out of an orphanage to become a noted educational scholar and a founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, died Tuesday. He was 82.
PLANO, Texas (AP) — A federal judge has allowed a North Texas man to withdraw his guilty plea to trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline with a homemade bomb last year.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former Connecticut securities broker been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges that he swindled investors, including a Greek Orthodox church, out of more than $27 million.
SEATTLE (AP) — The fossilized mammoth tusk discovered at a Seattle construction site will reveal its age, gender and life story, but probably not for another year, because that's how long it will take scientists to dry out the water-logged and fragile tusk, officials at the Burke Museum said Wednesday.
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City medical examiner's office says the cause and manner of death for a 14-year-old autistic boy who was missing for months cannot be determined.
SOMERSET, N.J. (AP) — Real estate developer and media personality Donald Trump is being lauded by the Somerset County Republican Organization.
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Wednesday that "strategic demolition" of some fire-damaged vacant homes will begin within 30 days.
MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — Two police officers in an oil-rich West Texas city spent weeks competing to see who could take the most cardboard signs away from homeless people, even though panhandling doesn't violate any city law.
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A bill expected to become law in Oregon would allow some of the state's elementary, middle and high schools to continue using Native American mascots if local boards and tribes can agree to terms.