Kentucky Supreme Court voids victims’ rights amendment
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Supreme Court has voided a proposed amendment on crime victims’ rights because the question posed to voters was too vague.
Voters in November approved the amendment on Kentucky’s version of Marsy’s Law, which would guarantee the rights of crime victims, including the right to be notified of more court proceedings. It passed with 63 percent of the vote.
A circuit court judge ruled before last year’s election that the question on the ballot was misleading, and the Supreme Court agreed in a 22-page ruling on Thursday. The high court ruled that the General Assembly is required to submit the full text of a proposed constitutional amendment to the electorate for a vote.
Kentucky was one of six states that approved versions of Marsy’s Law last year.
Hampton aide says she was investigating boss’s firing
(Information from: Courier Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com)
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — An aide to Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton who was dismissed by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration says she was investigating the firing of her own supervisor earlier this year.
Adrienne Southworth told the Courier Journal on Thursday she “needed answers to what was going on” after her boss, the lieutenant governor’s chief of staff, Steve Knipper, was let go in January. Southworth was then dismissed last month, and Hampton complained publicly, saying “dark forces” were at work in the administration.
Southworth says she wanted to know who Bevin had designated as the person who could fire the lieutenant governor’s staff.
She requested the related records and turned to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office when she says the administration delayed turning over the records.
Bevin’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request from the newspaper for comment.
BACK TAXES-GOVERNOR’S COMPANY
Governor’s company pays $404K to cover back taxes
(Information from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A company owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family has avoided a tax sale by paying more than $400,000 to cover back taxes.
The Daily Progress reports that officials in Albemarle County, Virginia, say the James C. Justice Cos. recently paid all delinquent taxes and fees, plus the first half of 2019 taxes. The money was due June 5.
The county began the tax sale process on 52 of the company’s real estate parcels in March. The tax sale process typically takes about a year but the county was pushing for a quicker sale because of the large amount due.
Many of the parcels are a part of an area called the Presidential Estates. The Justice organization purchased the land in 2010 for nearly $24 million.
ALI MURAL VANDALIZED
Mural of Muhammad Ali vandalized in Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A vandal has painted the words “racist,” ”antisemitic” and “homophobe” on a mural of boxing champ Muhammad Ali in Kentucky.
The words were painted in orange over Ali’s portion of the “Kentucky Rushmore” mural that features other icons from the state, including Abraham Lincoln.
The mural is on the other side of a building that houses a candy store. The Courier-Journal quotes an employee at the shop as saying he first noticed the graffiti Wednesday morning.
The vandalism came days after Louisville’s Ali Week, a celebration of the Kentucky native, who passed away in 2016.
The newspaper reports the words have since been painted over in white. It’s unclear whether police have identified a suspect.
NATIONAL STUDENT POETS
5 high schoolers selected as National Student Poets
NEW YORK (AP) — Five 10th and 11th graders have been named National Student Poets and will serve as regional literary ambassadors through readings, workshops and other programs.
The winners, each of whom receive $5,000, include Christian Butterfield of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Julie Dawkins of Edmond, Oklahoma; and Taylor Fang of Logan, Utah. Other recipients announced Thursday were Salma Mohammad of Fishers, Indiana, and Alondra Uribe of New York City.
The initiative was created in 2011 and is managed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The winners were selected from than 20,000 applicants for Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The student poets will be formally appointed during a July ceremony at the National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, D.C.
MISSING CHILD INVESTIGATION-COURT
Hearing off for man charged with posing as missing child
CINCINNATI (AP) — A pretrial hearing has been canceled for the 24-year-old man charged with impersonating a long-missing child.
A court notice was posted Thursday morning, a few hours ahead of what had been scheduled as the final pretrial hearing for Brian Michael Rini (REE’-nee) of Medina (meh-DYE’-nuh), Ohio.
U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett on May 20 granted a sealed motion filed by Rini’s attorney. Barrett had earlier set a June 24 trial date, but that appears likely to be postponed.
Rini has pleaded not guilty to two counts of lying to federal agents and one of aggravated identity theft.
He’s been held without bond since April, when federal authorities confirmed his identity.
Authorities say Rini claimed to be Timmothy Pitzen, an Aurora, Illinois, boy who disappeared in 2011 at age 6.