Nation Briefly

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A federal judge ruled Friday that Illinois’ restrictions on the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors are unconstitutional and barred the state from enforcing the law. State officials “have come nowhere near” demonstrating that the law passes constitutional muster, the U.S. District Court judge said. Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other supporters of the measure argued that children were being harmed by exposure to games in which characters go on killing sprees or sexual escapades. Opponents declared the law a restriction on free speech and pointed out that similar laws had been struck down in other states.

D.C.: Warning on FEMA clothing

The Federal Protective Service has advised 2,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency workers in Louisiana not to wear FEMA-branded clothing in public because of threats against them. Six people were recently arrested in connection with the threats, officials said. “If you wear a FEMA shirt into the office, when you leave work have a change of clothing in your car so when you go into a restaurant you’re not wearing FEMA clothing,” a FEMA spokesman said. “FPS gave us guidelines, certainly not to make us worry, but to be more aware of our situation.”

New York: Subway searches upheld

A federal judge Friday upheld the New York police department’s practice of randomly searching subway riders’ bags, saying the intrusion on people’s privacy is minimal while the threat of a terrorist bombing is “real and substantial.” Police tightened security in the nation’s largest subway system in July after the deadly terrorist attacks in London’s underground. The U.S. District judge cited testimony that up to 50 percent of terrorist attacks were directed at transportation systems and said the searches were effective.

South Carolina: Killer executed

A man was put to death in Columbia on Friday for the 1994 murder of a store clerk. Shawn Humphries, 34, mouthed “I’m sorry” to his victim’s two sisters before fatal chemicals were pumped into his veins. One of the sister nodded in response. It appeared that a tear rolled down Humphries’ cheek after the exchange. Humphries was convicted for the shooting death of Mendal Alton “Dickie” Smith on New Year’s Day 1994. Prosecutors said Humphries and a friend decided to rob the Simpsonville store where Smith was working after they drank beer all day.

Michigan: New rules for juries

Judges in Michigan cannot use a person’s race, gender, religion or nationality to select jurors under a new rule approved by the Michigan Supreme Court. The order, approved on a 4-3 vote, was released Friday and takes effect Jan. 1. Under the order, discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex when selecting a jury “is prohibited even in cases where the purpose would be to achieve balanced representation.”

Alabama: Bill backs Bible literacy

School boards in Alabama could offer courses in Bible literacy as an elective in public high schools under a new measure viewed by critics as an attempt to promote Christianity in classrooms. House Majority Leader Ken Guin, a Democrat, has pre-filed a bill that would authorize public school systems to offer the elective in grades nine through 12. The course would be based on the textbook “The Bible and Its Influence,” published in September by the Bible Literacy Project, a Fairfax, Va.-based nonprofit.

California: Lesbian may sue school

A federal judge ruled that a lesbian student can sue her school district and her principal for revealing her homosexuality to her mother. Charlene Nguon, 17, may go forward with her suit claiming violation of privacy rights, the U.S. District judge ruled in a decision dated Nov. 28 and announced Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Orange County’s Garden Grove district had argued that Nguon openly kissed and hugged her girlfriend on campus and thus had no expectation of privacy.

Indiana: Egg-toss killer guilty

A jury in Indianapolis has convicted a man of murder for fatally shooting a 15-year-old boy who threw eggs at him. Donald Ware, 37, of Avon, faces 79 years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 15. Prosecutors portrayed Ware, who is white, as a racist motivated by more than anger when he fired a rifle toward the group of black youths throwing eggs at motorists in July. Ware also was convicted of battery in the shooting of a second teen, and two counts of criminal recklessness in connection with shots fired toward two teenagers who were not injured.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Emergency responders surround an ultralight airplane that crashed Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at the Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington, resulting in the pilot's death. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Pilot dead in ultralight plane crash at Arlington Municipal Airport

There were no other injuries or fatalities reported, a city spokesperson said.

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

William Gore, left, holds the hand of Skylar, 9, in a Baby Yoda sweatshirt as they go for a walk in the rain at Forest Park on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Keep your umbrellas, rain gear handy this week in Snohomish County

The National Weather Service says up to 1½ inches are possible through Wednesday.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

In this photo posted to the Washington state Department of Ecology website and taken by the U.S. Coast Guard, people watch as emergency crews respond to the Walla Walla passenger ferry, which ran aground near Bainbridge Island west of Seattle, Saturday, April 15, 2023. (Lt. Cmdr. Brian Dykens/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)
Edmonds-Kingston shuffle: 64-car ferry replaces 202-car boat, for now

The system-wide boat swap stems from the vessel Walla Walla out of service for four weeks for repairs.

Most Read