Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • Clerk’s error wins woman $1 million in Lotto

    Pamela Ivey won $1 million in the Mega Millions Lotto after a store clerk accidentally added the game's multiplier feature to her ticket, which quadruples the amount the player can win.

    Ivey, who bought the ticket in Georgetown, Ky., didn't ask for the "Megaplier," which doubled the price of her ticket from $5 to $10, but she took it anyway, WLKY-TV reports.

    "I glanced at her name tag and it said Susan and I thought, 'Oh Susan, don't do that to me,'" Ivey said.

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  • FIRST LOOK: Glock guns fly off the shelves in Arizona

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • Jared Loughner's dad said he chased after his son on the morning of the shooting, when he spotted him grabbing a black bag. (AP)

    • North Carolina's school board is ending an economic integration program in schools. (The Washington Post)

    • Glock pistol sales have surged in Arizona. (Bloomberg)

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  • Court struggles to prosecute accused drug mule who has no language

    How do you prosecute a deaf, mute and illiterate man charged of running drugs for a powerful gang?

    That's the question facing Philadelphia's district court, as a "relay translator" attempts to mime court proceedings to Juan Jose Gonzalez Luna, who does not understand sign language. Cops say he was found with 2 pounds of cocaine in his car.

    Gonzalez, who mimed to lawyers that he lost his hearing in a childhood fever in Mexico, makes the perfect drug mule, prosecutors say. He can't answer any questions.

    Jeremy Roebuck at the Philadelphia Inquirer tells the fascinating story:

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  • Loughner’s ‘devastated’ parents may break silence

    AP110110033872The parents of Arizona shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner are "hurting real bad" and are "devastated," according to their neighbor Wayne Smith, who brought them the mail Monday as they holed up in their home, away from the prying eyes of the media.

    Smith said Randy and Amy Loughner are planning to release a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal's Charles Forelle. It would be their first public comments since their son was accused of a gun attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) that killed six people. Randy Loughner has already written the statement but has not decided on how he will release it, Forelle reports.

    Unnamed sources told the Journal that the Loughners hadn't realized the extent of their son's problems.

    Smith and two other neighbors painted a picture of a private family largely unknown to their neighbors. Smith, who has lived by them for decades, said he didn't know the couple's last name until Saturday.

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  • FIRST LOOK: Hubble telescope finds mysterious green blob in space

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • Scientists are trying to find a universal, one-time flu vaccine by studying people who recovered from the swine flu last year. (Health Day)

    • Jared Loughner's father may break his silence today. (WSJ)

    • The Federal Reserve is the most profitable bank ever. (The New York Times)

    • About a quarter of abortions last year were done by medication, not surgery, in the early days of an unintended pregnancy. (AP)

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  • Arizona paper looks at state’s emerging ‘fringe’ image

    Arizona was getting a reputation as "a place where the fringe can flourish" even before Saturday's attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) that left six dead, Shaun McKinnon of the Arizona Republic writes.

    "Somehow a state once known for its singular landscapes and colorful history was gaining a reputation, however undeserved, as a political and social backwater," writes McKinnon, mentioning the public debate over the state's immigration law and organ transplants for those on state Medicaid. The shooter in Tucson "added another player to the roster."

  • NYC teachers’ union loses case over evaluations

    teacherA judge has swatted down the New York City teachers' union argument that performance ratings for 12,000 teachers should not be released because the information is inaccurate.

    "There is no requirement that data be reliable for it to be disclosed," Manhattan Judge Cynthia Kern wrote, according to the New York Post.

    The Post and other news organizations asked New York City's education department for the performance rankings using the Freedom of Information Law. The United Federation of Teachers union argues the data is flawed and teachers may face "harassment" from parents if they find out their child is in class with a teacher who received a poor ranking. The union is expected to appeal the decision.

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  • Meet Loughner’s new lawyer

    AP071203064671Arizona shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner has been assigned high-profile federal defender Judy Clarke as his attorney, who is known for being one of the best at fending off death-penalty sentences for her clients.

    When Loughner appeared in Phoenix federal court this afternoon, Clarke was officially named his attorney.

    Clarke most famously defended the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski; Eric Rudolph, the Atlanta Olympics and abortion clinic bomber; al-Qaida terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted in the 9/11 attacks. She was also on the team that represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and she co-defended Susan Smith, who drowned her two children.

    Why would someone take on such a horrifying client list?

    Jack King of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who was hired by Clarke when she was president of that group, tells The Lookout she takes on these tough cases because "she has a really good heart and she's a really outstanding lawyer."

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  • Texas school police ticketing students as young as 6

    AP070827025456School police officers in Texas are doling out more tickets to children as young as 6, who under past disciplinary practices would have been sent to the principal's office instead, according to a report by a Texas nonprofit.

    "Disrupting class, using profanity, misbehaving on a school bus, student fights, and truancy once meant a trip to the principal's office. Today, such misbehavior results in a Class C misdemeanor ticket and a trip to court for thousands of Texas students and their families each year," says the Appleseed Texas report (PDF). It examined data from 22 of the state's largest school districts and eight municipal courts.

    Over six years, school police issued 1,000 tickets to elementary school children in 10 school districts.

    The study found that where a child attends school -- not the severity of the allegation -- was the best indicator of whether the child would be ticketed instead of sent to the principal's office. Black students and special education students were overrepresented among those ticketed.

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  • Friend says Loughner long had a grudge against Giffords

    AP110108141117A close friend of alleged Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner tells Mother Jones that he received a voicemail from Loughner hours before the shooting saying, "Hey, man, it's Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later." The friend immediately suspected Loughner when he heard that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) had been shot.

    Loughner, 22, had been angry at Giffords for years and considered her a fake, according to the friend, Bryce Tierney, also 22. Loughner became even angrier when he attended a campaign event and she didn't fully answer his question, Tierney said:

    "'He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question. The question was, "What is government if words have no meaning?"'

    "Giffords' answer, whatever it was, didn't satisfy Loughner. 'He said, "Can you believe it, they wouldn't answer my question," and I told him, "Dude, no one's going to answer that,"' Tierney recalls. 'Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.'"

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