Review Category : National News

Colorado Supreme Court Rules Against Municipal Laws Limiting Fracking

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday against two cities’ attempts to limit fracking, saying the legislation passed by the cities of Longmont and Fort Collins are “invalid and unenforceable” because they conflict with existing state laws.

In 2012, voters in the city of Longmont passed a ban on fracking, while in November 2013, Fort Collins voters passed a five-year moratorium on fracking to give the city time to study health and safety impacts of the process, according to court documents.

The group that challenged Longmont and Fort Collins’ rules against fracking, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, called the court’s ruling “a win” for the energy industry and the “people of Colorado who rely on affordable and dependable energy and a strong economy.”

“Nearly all wells in Colorado are hydraulically fractured, or fracked, meaning a ban on fracking is a ban on oil and gas development,” COGA said in a statement Monday. “With this legal battle over, we look forward to working with Longmont, Fort Collins and other communities to find a balance that allows for responsible oil and gas development while respecting the rule of law and meeting the needs of local communities.”

Fort Collins city attorney Carrie Daggett said it will review the court’s decision “carefully and fully to evaluate how it affects the City.”

“These issues are complex, and we’ll thoroughly examine the decisions relative to Fort Collins and Longmont,” Daggett said. “However, it is clear that the Supreme Court has found that the Fort Collins moratorium on hydraulic fracturing is in operational conflict with Colorado law and is therefore preempted.”

Representatives for the City of Longmont or the City of Fort Collins did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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Former Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky Appears in Court to Appeal Child Sex Abuse Conviction

iStock/Thinkstock(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) — Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom Monday as he appeals his child-sex abuse conviction.

In 2012, Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for the sexual abuse of 10 boys, following tearful testimony from his victims.

As officers led Sandusky into the courthouse Monday morning, the former coach, wearing an orange jumpsuit, told waiting reporters, “There’s much to say. For now, [defense attorney] Al Lindsay is gonna say it.”

Defense attorneys and prosecutors then presented their arguments in an hour-long hearing before Judge John Cleland in a Centre County, Pennsylvania courtroom, near the State College campus of Penn State University.

Sandusky sat in the court as defense attorney Lindsay asked the judge for permission to question witnesses, including Sandusky’s former lawyers, about the investigation and trial.

Prosecutors argued that a new hearing shouldn’t be granted.

It was not immediately clear when the judge would make his decision.

If his sentence stands, Sandusky, now 72, would be 98 at his earliest possible release date.

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Federal Judge Orders Woman to Unlock iPhone Using Her Fingerprint

iStock/Thinkstock(GLENDALE, Calif.) — The case of a California woman who was ordered to unlock an iPhone using her fingerprint is raising questions about whether compelling a person to unlock their smartphone could infringe on their right against self-incrimination.

A warrant was issued in February ordering Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan to unlock an iPhone seized from a Glendale, California, residence. She later pleaded no contest to a felony count of identity theft, according to the Los Angeles Times.

While much of the public discussion over encryption has focused on four to six digit passcodes, the California case is raising the question of whether a person’s biometric markers — such as a fingerprint or iris — could be used to help authorities crack into a device.

Mark Bartholomew, a law professor at the University of Buffalo who studies encryption and cyber law, told ABC News “the law is very uncertain on this because it hasn’t caught up to technology.”

At issue is whether pressing a finger to unlock a phone and giving law enforcement access to all of its contents is tantamount to testifying without ever speaking a word.

“It’s one of those things like always technology is way ahead of the law,” Bartholomew said. “These issues of passwords, biometric safeguards, at the same time law enforcement wants them, over time these are going to be teed up for the courts and Supreme Court to weigh in on it.”

But Albert Gidari, the director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, told the LA Times that the action might not violate the 5th Amendment prohibition of self-incrimination.

“Unlike disclosing passcodes, you are not compelled to speak or say what’s ‘in your mind’ to law enforcement,” Gidari told the LA Times. “‘Put your finger here’ is not testimonial or self-incriminating.”

Apple first added Touch ID to the iPhone 5s and has since included the security measure in all of its recent iPhones and iPads. Built into the home button, Touch ID can also be bypassed using passcodes.

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Florida Woman Allegedly Chases Convicted Voyeur Out of Target Store

Target(YULEE, Fla.) — A Florida woman turned the tables on man with a prior conviction for preying on women in public places, catching an alleged encounter on camera.

Candice Spivey says the man, whom police identified as Jeffery Polizzi, had approached her two years ago, asking her what she described as inappropriate questions. But Spivey recognized the man this time, quickly thinking to record a video on her phone as she chased the suspect out of a Target store.

“Do you remember running into me in the grocery store?” Spivey of Yulee, Florida, asks Polizzi in the video.

“Call the cops,” she shouts as the man begins to run away from her.

Spivey was shopping in the bikini section of her local Target April 26 when she says Polizzi approached her.

“You want to make sure it’s not too sheer or clear,” the man can be heard saying in the video.

She claims the same man harassed her two years ago inside a Publix supermarket as he was secretly filming their encounter.

But she said her reaction was different this time.

“I wanted an identification on who he was so I could put this out there,” Spivey said of her video.

Spivey posted the video to her Facebook page, where it now has a whopping 1.6 million views, with dozens of women saying Polizzi, 31, did the same thing to them.

Police eventually caught Polizzi, charging him with reckless driving after he allegedly fled the scene. It’s unclear whether he has entered a plea or has a lawyer. Polizzi has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

It’s not the first time he has been accused of inappropriate retail encounters. Polizzi was previously convicted of “taking photographs of women in dressing rooms” in 2009, according to court documents.

Spivey says she has no regrets about her actions.

“If that is what you have to do to be safe and protect yourself, you do what you got to do,” she said.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who has had suspicious encounters with Polizzi to come forward.

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Over 90 Detroit Schools Close as Teachers Hold ‘Sick Out’

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — Detroit Public School teachers are fighting for their paychecks by initiating a “sick out” Monday that has closed over 90 of the 105 public schools in the city.

“The teachers feel, and I feel, that no one is listening to us when we try to explain what’s going on here. I feel like we’re being held hostage by our legislatures,” Detroit Federation of Teachers interim president Ivy Bailey told ABC News Monday. “The teachers are not only fighting for themselves, but more importantly, they’re fighting for their students.”

“We have teachers who are on 26 pay periods,” Bailey explained. “What happens is they take their salary and they pro-rate it throughout the year [with] additional pay periods in the summer, so they can get paid over the summer — because teachers do not get paid in the summer.”

She explained that the state gave the district $48.7 million to get through the rest of the school year but that did not include money to cover summer payments.

“When we figured out what was going on and looked at the payments of those teachers, technically Thursday of last week is the last day that they’re actually being paid,” Bailey said.

“In theory, they’re working without pay,” she said. “There’s no guarantee — based on what the district has told us — that they will receive payment after June 30, which is not fair. No one should work for free. And so rightfully so, we’re all upset about that.”

Bailey said when they asked if the money they received would include money for all employees who are on a 26 pay period, they were told “yes.”

She said this is not happening anywhere else in Michigan — just Detroit, where the economy has been struggling for years.

Detroit schools are currently under a state of financial emergency and are run by an emergency manager instead of a school board and superintendent.

“I’m hoping today will accomplish an awareness across the city of Detroit — what’s happening to our schools systems is an atrocity,” Bailey said. “If you are an emergency manager and you’re supposed to be the person who came here to straighten out our finances, and now they’re worse than they ever were … I believe we have every right to be upset. And there is no accountability for what has gone on with these emergency mangers.”

Detroit Public Schools did not immediately provide a comment on Monday, but Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes said in a statement Sunday evening that the planned “sick out” would be “counterproductive and detrimental.”

“It is unfortunate that the DFT [Detroit Federation of Teachers] has chosen to make a statement in this way,” Rhodes said.

“I am on record as saying that I cannot in good conscience ask anyone to work without pay. Wages that are owed to teachers should be paid. I understand the frustration and anger that our teachers feel,” Rhodes said. “I am, however, confident that the legislature will support the request that will guarantee that teachers will receive the pay that is owed to them. The DFT’s choice for a drastic call to action was not necessary.”

“I am confident that the Michigan Legislature understands the urgency of this situation and will act in a timely manner to ensure that operations of the school district continue uninterrupted,” he said, adding that he’s working with policy makers in Lansing “to move this legislation forward.”

“A district-wide sick out will be counterproductive and detrimental to the efforts of everyone working to help the District,” he said. Rhodes said he hopes to continue his “strong relationship” with the Detroit Federation of Teachers “so that jointly we can achieve our mutual goal of creating a New DPS under local control that we can be proud of.”

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Chain Reaction Bike Crash Puts Brakes on Race

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The start of a 5K bike race in Brooklyn, New York came to a screeching halt, literally, for dozens of riders, when a stalled motorcycle caused a chain reaction crash that caused a massive tangle of bikes and riders.

Seven people were injured in the pileup Saturday night, which was caused when the motorcycle that was to lead the riders stalled, and was rear-ended by dozens of competitors already moving at full tilt in the annual Red Hook Criterium Finals.

The resulting wreckage blocked the entire course for some time.

The scrum was caught on camera by a few cyclists, like Antoine Fabry, who recorded the mishap and uploaded the accident to YouTube.

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Violent Protests Break Out During May Day Marches in Seattle

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — May Day marches in Seattle ended with several violent outbreaks by demonstrators that left five officers injured and nine people arrested, according to police.

Police reported being hit by rocks, batons and Molotov cocktails during Sunday clashes by black-clad protesters wearing masks and sunglasses.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released a statement commending police for their work in containing the protests while disavowing the acts of the demonstrators.

“It is unfortunate and deeply regrettable that in a city that goes to incredible lengths to respect First Amendment rights, there are some who disregard our values and engage in senseless acts of violence and property destruction,” Murray said. “This city condemns any acts of physical violence against our police officers, and my thoughts are with the officers who were injured.”

The protests had been trending for several hours on Twitter with the hashtag #MayDaySea.

Around the world, union members have traditionally marched on May 1 for workers’ rights. In the United States, the annual events have become a rallying cry for immigrants and their supporters for better wages and fair work accommodations.

Seattle traditionally sees large, disruptive May Day gatherings. Last year, police arrested 16 people during demonstrations and in 2014 10 people were arrested.

In 2013, police arrested 18 people from a crowd that pelted them with rocks and bottles.

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Massive Fire Engulfs Historic Manhattan Cathedral, No Injuries Reported

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A massive fire ravaged a Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Manhattan that left the building in ruins — on the same day its Serbian Orthodox parishioners had celebrated Easter.

The New York Fire Department said the fire broke out on the first floor of the Cathedral shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday. There were no reported injuries or evacuations at the time the fire broke out. Roughly 170 firefighters mobilized to combat the blaze.

#FDNY members operating at 4-alarm fire at 25th & Broadway #Manhattan pic.twitter.com/gjrnQ0MAjC

— FDNY (@FDNY) May 1, 2016

Parishioners and onlookers were left in shock as they watched the flames completely engulfed the historic landmark.

170 #FDNY members on scene of 4-alarm fire at 25th & Broadway #Manhattan pic.twitter.com/Y9vTqFNBLQ

— FDNY (@FDNY) May 1, 2016

Officials weren’t sure how the fire started but said that one person suffered minor injuries from smoke inhalation.

The historic church was built in the 1850s as an Episcopal church.

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Arrests Made as May Day Protesters Clash with Seattle Police

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — What started as a peaceful May Day march in Seattle on Sunday led to clashes with police.

Police in riot gear deployed blast balls during confrontations with the anti-Capitalist protesters and pepper spray was used to disperse the crowds. The Seattle Police Department said officers reported molotov cocktails being thrown at them.

A handful of arrests were made and at least two officers were injured, according to Seattle Police.

Seattle police said officers were directed to put on eye protection after protesters were reportedly seen putting something into spray bottles. Police also said there were continued reports of protesters throwing rocks and bottles and property damage included broken windows.

The group of about 200 protesters marched through the streets for International Workers’ Day carrying signs including a large banner that said, “We are ungovernable.” When asked what they were protesting, they said they were angry with “the system,” and the people who run the government.

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May Day Protesters Clash with Seattle Police

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — What started as a peaceful May Day march in Seattle on Sunday led to clashes with police.

Police deployed blast balls during confrontations with the anti-Capitalist protesters and pepper spray was used to disperse the crowds.

At least four people were arrested and at least two officers were injured, according to the Seattle Police Department.

The group of about 200 protesters marched through the streets for International Workers’ Day carrying signs including a large banner that said, “We are ungovernable.” When asked what they were protesting, they said they were angry with “the system,” and the people who run the government.

Seattle police said officers were directed to put on eye protection after protesters were reportedly seen putting something into spray bottles.

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