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Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:56 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:55 PM
BOSTON — Massachusetts plans to ban some powerful opioids from courtrooms, because state court officials are worried people could be sickened by the drugs.
Under a policy that goes into effect on Jan. 8, fentanyl and carfentanil will be allowed into state courthouses only under certain circumstances. That means lawyers wanting to present the drugs as evidence during a hearing or trial must use photographs, video or witness testimony.
"We have worked to try to find a way to balance the risks posed by the presence of fentanyl and carfentanil into the courthouse environment, the interests of the parties in the admissions of such substances and the rights of the criminal defendants," Massachusetts Trial Court officials said in a memo sent to judges, clerks, and other court staff this week.
Massachusetts is thought to be the first state to impose such a ban, which some medical experts have said is an unnecessary overreaction.
The policy notes that "about two to three milligrams of fentanyl — the equivalent of five to seven grains of table salt — can induce respiratory depression, arrest and possibly death."
Some law enforcement officers have reported falling ill after routine exposure to the drug, like when merely brushing the substance off a uniform, but experts have said that's not medically possible. While the potent drugs are dangerous if they're inhaled or find another way into the bloodstream, toxicologists say even accidental skin exposure shouldn't make someone sick. They say properly packaged drugs would pose no danger in a courtroom.
David Labahn, president of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, said last month that some individual courthouses have banned opioids like fentanyl, but said he's unaware of any similar statewide actions.
Massachusetts' policy says the drugs may be entered as evidence if a judge determines it's necessary for the state to prove its case or "to protect a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial." People with a prescription for a medication containing fentanyl will also be able to bring their medication into a courthouse.
Furthermore, all controlled-substances that lawyers plan to introduce as evidence at won't be allowed into a courthouse unless it has been "chemically analyzed" and found to not contain fentanyl and carfentanil, the policy says. The trial court says that's "because fentanyl and carfentanil take many different forms and appear as common street-level controlled substances."
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 10:49 PM
PALM BEACH, Fla. — The federal government shutdown led President Donald Trump to cancel plans to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office at a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.
As of Saturday evening, the fundraiser was still set to go on with presidential son Eric Trump and his wife, Lara Trump, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel as headliners. About 100 donors were expected Saturday night, with their contributions going to the RNC and Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Eric and Lara Trump and McDaniel also spoke to about 100 local Republican activists in West Palm Beach on Saturday morning, urging them to work to preserve the GOP’s imperiled majorities in the House and Senate.
“We’re very, very lucky that we have majorities in the House and Senate. I mean, we’re very, very, very lucky. But let’s not take that for granted as a party because honestly, 2018 will be as important as ever,” Eric Trump told the Republican group at the West Palm Beach Marriott. “His great work is hugely, hugely impeded if we lose that and I’m going to fight every single day between now and those elections to make sure that those majorities are stronger than ever.”
President Trump had planned to visit Mar-a-Lago on Friday for the 12th time since taking office. But he remained in Washington as congressional Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a spending agreement to keep the government running past midnight.
After Friday’s cancellation, the White House left open the possibility of a Trump trip to Palm Beach on Saturday. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory for an arrival after 2 p.m. Saturday, but rescinded it by mid-afternoon. The latest FAA notification indicated no presidential travel planned to Palm Beach County this weekend.
“No plans to go to Florida while there is a shutdown,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an email Saturday morning.
Brian Ballard, the Tallahassee lobbyist who was Florida finance chairman for Trump’s 2016 campaign, came to Palm Beach for Saturday’s event and said he understood the president’s choice to remain in Washington.
“I think it was the right decision. I haven’t talked to anyone that’s down here for the event that doesn’t agree,” Ballard said. “We’ll celebrate the one-year anniversary sometime soon.”
Trump supporters, who regularly gather near Southern Boulevard and Flagler Drive to cheer the president’s motorcade as it passes, showed up in Trump’s absence, numbering about 25 at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s the one-year anniversary of President Trump and the mainstream media is ignoring all of his accomplishments. All they want to talk about is the government shutdown over DACA and illegal immigration,” said Lamarre Notargiacomo of Vero Beach, who held an “Eliminate Sanctuary Cities” sign.
Most Senate Democrats voted against a spending bill to keep the government running for four weeks because the legislation did not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields from deportation about 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors by their parents.
Another group of Trump supporters gathered a few blocks away near the garishly decorated “Trumpmobile” and other vehicles adorned with pro-Trump messages. That group left for Palm Beach to drive by an anti-Trump demonstration that police said drew 600 to 700 protesters.
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 7:17 PM
— Jim Rodford, bassist for popular rock band The Kinks from 1978 to 1996, has died at 76, according to the band.
The Kinks, whose hits include “You Really Got Me,” “Lola,” “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” “A Well-Respected Man,” “Victoria” and “Waterloo Sunset,” made the announcement Saturday on its official social media accounts.
“It is with deep sadness that we have learned that Jim Rodford passed away – he toured and recorded with the Kinks for many years and will be greatly missed. He was much loved by all of us #JimRodford,” the band said on Twitter.
It is with deep sadness that we have learned that Jim Rodford passed away - he toured and recorded with the Kinks for many years and will be greatly missed. He was much loved by all of us #JimRodford https://t.co/LmWFGd9ZRV— TheKinksOfficial (@TheKinks) January 20, 2018
Founding member Dave Davies also expressed his sorrow over Rodford’s “sudden loss.”
“I’m devastated Jim’s sudden loss I’m too broken up to put words together it’s such a shock I always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion – strange – great friend great musician great man – he was an integral part of the Kinks later years RIP,” he wrote on Twitter.
I’m devastated Jim’s sudden loss I’m too broken up to put words together it’s such a shock i always thought Jim would live forever in true rock and roll fashion - strange - great friend great musician great man - he was an integral part of theKinks later years RIP #JimRodford pic.twitter.com/rL5vAuuVwp— Dave Davies (@davedavieskinks) January 20, 2018
Although Rodford did not play for the band when they burst onto the scene in the ’60s, he was credited by Davies as being an integral part of “The Kinks” in their later years. Rodford would later return to the band The Zombies.
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 5:50 PM
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An assault rifle is a prize in a raffle to raise money for programs to help disadvantaged children.
Channel 9 found out that phone calls to buy tickets for the raffle go to three Central Florida county jails.
The flyer advertising the raffle was created by the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency.
It advertises a chance to win an AR-15 rifle. There are phone numbers on the flyer to buy $20 tickets.
Every one of the numbers directs the caller to someone's desk at the Orange, Seminole and Osceola County jails.
Some were perplexed by the offer.
“Probably a good value, but it’s very bizarre and counterintuitive,” said Andrew Shure.
Information on the raffle to win the $1,200 gun was tweeted by the St. Cloud police.
The local Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency chapter said the $6,800 or so raised would be used for community projects, like buying gifts for underprivileged children.
“They could raffle off a car or something other than a gun. That doesn’t make sense to raffle off a gun,” said Laura Stephenson.
Officials in Orange and Seminole counties seemed surprised that calls for information about the AR-15 raffle were going to county jail offices.
There is an asterisk on the flyer that said the winner must comply with applicable laws and background checks.
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 8:35 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 9-year-old girl unwittingly ate, and handed out to other classmates, THC-laced candy, school officials said.
The girl brought the candies to school last Thursday and said she could not see; another girl ate them and started to feel dizzy, Albuquerque School of Excellence Dean of Elementary School Students Kristy Del Curto told KRQE.
“We noticed the student who initially brought the edible to our school was acting strange. She started saying she couldn’t see,” Del Curto said.
Three students shared one gummy and the student who handed it out had three or four pieces, Del Curto said.
Paramedics were called and monitored the students, who eventually recovered.
The student who brought them to school did not know they were medicinal, THC-laced gummies, Del Curto said.