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A Joplin man charged with injuring five people in a shooting in 2016 is competent to stand trial, a judge has ruled.

Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane issued an order Tuesday to proceed with the trial for 31-year-old Tom Mourning Jr, who authorities said has been treated for schizophrenia, The Joplin Globe reported.

He was charged with five counts of first-degree assault, five counts of armed criminal action and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon in the Aug. 13, 2016, shooting.

Mourning is accused of shooting at a couple in a car and then firing at a church van, injuring three people and two comfort dogs.

An attorney for the Missouri Department of Mental Health filed a motion April 1 that said Mourning is able to understand court proceedings and assist in his defense.

After three previous findings that Mourning was incompetent for trial, the Jasper County prosecutor’s office asked the court in October 2020 to have him medicated involuntarily because he was refusing to take his prescribed drugs.

The judge directed the mental health department to follow the proposed treatment, which led to the new ruling that Mourning is competent for trial.


A federal judge has upheld a temporary admissions policy at Boston’s elite exam high schools, ruling against a parents group that said in a lawsuit it discriminated against white students and those of Asian descent.

“This court finds and rules that the plan is race-neutral, and that neither the factors used nor the goal of greater diversity qualify as a racial classification,” U.S. District Judge William Young in Boston wrote in the ruling released Thursday night. The ruling applies only to the current exam cycle.

The Boston School Committee last fall temporarily dropped the entrance exam for Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the O’Bryant School of Math and Science because it was not safe to hold exams in-person during the pandemic.

Instead, the committee used student performance and ZIP code to weigh admission.

A group called the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence, filed a lawsuit in February on behalf of 14 white and Asian applicants in which it called the new policy “wholly irrational.”

William Hurd, an attorney for the coalition, said there will be an appeal.

“We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision,” Hurd said in a statement.

The Boston Public Schools in a statement said its goal has always been to “ensure a safe, fair, and equitable exam school admissions process.”


The city of Norman violated the state’s Open Meeting Act when it approved a budget that cut the police budget by $865,000, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The court upheld a circuit judge’s December ruling that a required notice for the June 16 meeting was worded deceptively. The notice said the council would consider adopting the city’s proposed operating and capital budgets, but it did not say an amendment to slash the police budget by 3.6% would be discussed.

“We find that the language used in the agenda was deceptively vague and likely to mislead regarding the meeting and therefore was a willful violation of the (Open Meetings) Act,” according to the opinion by Chief Justice Richard Darby.

The ruling also found that the city’s budget is invalid.

“We are reviewing it and will comply with the Supreme Court ruling,” city spokesperson Annahlyse Meyer said.

The cut came in the midst of calls to “defund the police” after the May death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The money was to be used for community outreach programs.

“These budget amendments reflect an intentional effort to tackle systemic racism in our community and to be proactive as opposed to reactive in meeting the social service needs of our residents,” Mayor Breea Clark said at the time.

The vote to cut the police budget also led to a failed petition effort to recall Clark and four members of the eight-person City Council.


Prosecutors are asking a New York City court to throw out 90 drug convictions following a review of arrests involving a former narcotics detective charged with corruption.

The mostly low-level cases investigated by Joseph Franco while a NYPD officer in Brooklyn from 2004 to 2011 should be vacated because of his ongoing criminal case in Manhattan, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Wednesday. A 2019 indictment accuses Franco of perjury and other charges alleging he framed innocent people.

The review of the mostly low-level Brooklyn cases dating back a decade or more found no similar misconduct on Franco’s part or that the defendants were innocent, prosecutors said Wednesday. But because of the Manhattan case, “I have lost confidence in his work,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

“I cannot in good faith stand by convictions that principally relied on his testimony,” he added.

Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society’s criminal defense practice, lauded Gonzalez’s decision to vacate the convictions. She urged other district attorneys in the city to perform similar reviews.

Franco “touched thousands of cases throughout New York City, and we may never know the full extent of the damage he caused and lives he upended,” Luongo said in a statement.

During a virtual hearing on Wednesday morning, a judge began the process of vacating the cases at the request of defense attorneys. At issue were 27 felony and 63 misdemeanor convictions, most resulting from guilty pleas.


The husband of a Pennsylvania appellate court judge who is running for the state’s highest court began serving a prison sentence Tuesday in a long-running case, authorities said.

Charles McCullough’s incarceration comes as voters decide whether to back his wife in her bid for an open seat on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court.

Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough is seeking the Republican nomination in May 18′s primary election against two fellow Republican judges.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court denied Charles McCullough’s latest appeals. He is currently representing himself.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s office said McCullough reported as ordered Tuesday morning and was taken into custody to begin serving a state sentence of 2-1/2 to 5 years in prison.

The 66-year-old McCullough, a former Allegheny County councilman, was convicted of theft and misappropriation of funds in 2015 for using his power of attorney to take $50,000 from the trust fund of an elderly woman.

He spent the money in 2006 and 2007, using $40,000 for campaign contributions and sending the other $10,000 to a charity, according to court records.

McCullough was charged in 2009. He had argued at his trial that he had the widow’s approval to use the money and had remained free on appeal since his sentencing.


A former Iowa wastewater treatment plant official has been sentenced to three months in federal prison for manipulating water sample test results to ensure plant discharges into the Missouri River met federal requirements.

Jay Niday, 63, of Sergeant Bluff, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City and was also ordered to pay $8,500 in fines and court costs, federal prosecutors for Iowa said in a news release Friday. In October, Niday pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and falsifying or providing inaccurate information.

Niday was the second former plant official to be charged. Patrick Schwarte, who was a shift supervisor, pleaded guilty in January 2019 to the same two charges and was sentenced to two years of probation.

Prosecutors said Niday and Schwarte instructed other plant operators to raise chlorine levels added to wastewater on days that E. coli samples were taken. The elevated chlorine level would produce test samples showing plant discharges met federal limits for levels of fecal coliform and E. coli. Once the samples were taken, chlorine added to the city’s wastewater was reduced to levels unlikely to disinfect discharged water enough to meet those limits.

Niday told state investigators that administering the smaller levels of chlorine saved the city at least $100,000 in one year.

The city fired Niday and Schwarte in June 2015. No other plant employees have been charged.


A federal judge has tossed a rancher’s claim that he should still have the right to use federal land in New Mexico after it was revoked for killing a wolf.

Craig Thiessen killed an endangered Mexican wolf in Gila National Forest six years ago and has since argued that he should still be allowed to graze his cattle on the 48,000 acres (about 194 square kilometers) of public land, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported  on Friday.

That argument was rejected this week by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory Fouratt.

Thiessen pleaded guilty in 2018 for killing the wolf. He faced a year of probation and a $2,300 fine. Later that year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revoked his company’s permit to graze cattle on the public land.

A court document said he had 286 cows and 143 calves on the property. Thiessen has continued legal action in an attempt to keep his cattle on the land. The federal fish and wildlife service has sued Thiessen to remove the cows.

Hayden Ballard, an attorney who has represented Thiessen, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday by the newspaper.

Representatives from four conservation groups said in a statement that Thiessen had given up his privileges to use the public land after his actions.

Greta Anderson from the Western Watersheds Project accused Thiessen on Friday of animal cruelty by killing the wolf. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that numerous accounts said the young wolf’s leg was caught in a trap and it was then struck with a shovel.


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