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New allegations against embattled Metro Councilwoman Judy Green have surfaced.

Last week, LEO outlined charges from Green’s staff of political bribery and identity theft. This weekend, the Courier-Journal reveals more.

…the councilwoman made a side agreement with 100 Black Men so it would ask for more money than needed and reroute $2,400 for other purposes at Green’s request — including youth football banquets and buying 10 tickets for a Kentucky Derby fundraiser.

“It was made clear upfront that some of the money would be redirected … and that (Green’s office) would tell us where to redirect it,” Rob Jordan, president of 100 Black Men, said in an interview last week.

The arrangement also was confirmed to the newspaper by Charles Alexander III, who is the treasurer of 100 Black Men and Green’s political campaigns.

Green’s attorney says the charges are politically motivated or brought by disgruntled employees. Her colleagues on the council are largely withholding comment until after an Ethics Commission hearing on a summer jobs program that allegedly benefitted Green’s family.

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A report in LEO Weekly cites police reports, leaked documents and people close to Metro Councilwoman Judy Green to outline a pattern of alleged wrongdoing and ethical violations.

Green’s involvement in a summer jobs program that reportedly benefited her family will be the subject of a Metro Ethics Commission hearing later this month. The LEO article further details accusations of wrongdoing tangentially and not-at-all related to the ethics complaint:

On Sept. 7, Public Integrity Unit officers Sgt. Oscar Grass and Jamie Hill interviewed Green’s legislative aide, Andrea Jackson, about the Green Clean Team. Specifically, they asked her about an anonymous complaint they received suggesting Green took out a credit card in Jackson’s name without her consent.

“I don’t know if you know Council-woman Green’s personal life or finances that well. She and her husband, James, could possibly be having some financial difficulties,” Sgt. Grass said during the interview. “But we were told that at one time you became aware that Councilwoman Green has gotten some kind of Visa card or a bank card in your name. Is that the case?”

“Yeah,” Jackson told police.

“Is that something you authorized her to do?” Grass asked.

“No,” she replied.

The first indictment has been issued in a criminal probe into last year’s explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine that left 29 coal miners dead.

The mine’s Chief of Security Hughie Stover has been accused of lying to investigators and trying to destroy mine records, reports the Charleston Gazette.

Stover is accused of falsely telling federal agents in January 2011 that Massey’s Performance Coal Co. had a policy dating back to 1999 that forbade security guards from giving advance notice of inspections. The indictment alleges that Stover “had himself directed and trained security guards … to give advance notice by announcing the presence of an MSHA inspector over” the mine radio.

Governor Steve Beshear is the latest Kentucky official to ask Florida Governor Rick Scott to rethink his plans to cut a prescription drug tracking system.

It’s estimated that many of the prescription pills that are abused in eastern Kentucky come from Florida. In 2009, that state’s legislature approved a system to track prescriptions and reduce the number of so-called pill mills.

As part of his plan to cut spending, Governor Scott has proposed cutting the program. That first prompted a response from Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky, who asked his fellow Republican Scott to reconsider, saying that Kentuckians and Floridians alike are dying of prescription drug overdoses.

In a letter released Tuesday, Beshear echoed those sentiments. Kentucky has a prescription tracking system, and Beshear credits it for pushing pill mills out of the commonwealth.

A Greenup County sheriff has also reportedly taken issue with Scott’s plans to cancel the tracking program.

A federal judge has determined that the widows of two men who died in a mine fire in West Virginia five years ago cannot hold federal mine inspectors responsible for the deaths.

The ruling comes in spite of an internal review that found the inspectors culpable.

From NPR:

U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver accepted that “stinging assessment,” as he called it, but still dismissed the lawsuit Bragg and Hatfield filed against MSHA officials.

Copenhaver said he couldn’t “impose a legal duty” on MSHA and its inspectors and managers because that “would directly conflict with Congress’ decision to place the primary responsibility for mine safety on mine operators.”

 

Late last year, Kentucky State Police trooper John Hawkins told WFPL the increase in meth lab busts was so sharp that police were on track to find more than one thousand before the end of the year.

Well…that happened.

Kentucky State Police (KSP) released the 2010 methamphetamine lab statistics today and the number indicates an all-time high in the Commonwealth. KSP reports that there were 1,080 meth labs found during 2010, exceeding all previous year totals.

The top five counties with the highest incidents of meth lab occurrences were Jefferson (154 labs), Laurel (113 labs), Warren (70 labs), Barren (57 labs) and Hardin (53).

There’s legislation pending in the General Assembly that would make decongestant and meth ingredient pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. The bill has the support of many law enforcement officials (but not all), and it has a number of opponents as well. It’s not clear whether the bill will pass both chambers of the General Assembly, but if it does, it’s also not clear whether Governor Steve Beshear will sign it.

Like their counterparts in many states, Kentucky Justice Cabinet officials are having a hard time obtaining a drug needed for lethal injection executions.

The AP reports today that thirteen states have asked the U.S. Justice Department for help getting sodium thiopental. (Kentucky’s supply expired in October.) Those states are: Alabama; Colorado; Delaware; Florida; Idaho; Mississippi; Missouri; Nevada; Oregon; Tennessee; Utah; Washington; and Wyoming.

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia and Tennessee are looking to buy the drug from England. Nebraska purchased sodium thiopental from India.

by Graham Shelby

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear hasn’t decided if he’ll sign a bill that would make medicine containing the meth ingredient and decongestant pseudoephedrine available by prescription-only.

The Governor says he wants to reduce the number of meth labs in the state, but is concerned about the effect of the measure on law-abiding citizens. In addition, he says it’s hard to know if any new law enforcement system is going to be effective before it’s implemented.

“When we first put our system that we have now in, for about the first two years, the lab numbers really dropped, and then of course they came back up as people figured out somehow how to get around the system. And I’m concerned that I don’t know how effective it will be,” he says.

Beshear says he intends to listen to the debate in Frankfort before making up his mind. That debate will continue next week. Proponents of the bill say the measure would drastically limit meth-makers access to a key component of the illegal drug methamphetamine.

Legislation that would make over-the-counter cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine prescription-only is making its way through the General Assembly. Here’s the legislative update and the reaction from one law enforcement official.

The issue has divided lawmakers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and law enforcement officials, and it will be interesting to see if Kentucky follows the example set by Oregon and Mississippi.

Kentucky journalist Jim Higdon‘s nonfiction book about the Cornbread Mafia is tentatively set to be published next year under the Globe/Pequot imprint Lyons Press.

Higdon posted the news on The Marion County Line Wednesday.

In 1989, federal investigators called the Marion County-based Cornbread Mafia the largest domestic marijuana producing organization. The release date for Higdon’s book is April 20th, 2012. Seriously.

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