Judge declares man's truck 'his home' in ruling that could affect hundreds of homeless people

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 6:03 AM

Seattle Judge's Ruling Could Affect Hundreds of Homeless People

A Seattle man is celebrating after a judge ruled that the truck he has been living in is his home and the city can't sell it to pay for a hefty parking ticket and fines. The ruling could affect hundreds of homeless people living in their vehicles.

The judge's ruling is based on the 123-year-old Homestead Act that says the government can't force anyone to sell their home to satisfy debts. This is apparently the first time anyone has successfully argued that a vehicle can be a home.

>> On KIRO7.com: Washington becomes 1st state to approve net-neutrality rules

Steven Long has lived in a truck on the streets of Seattle since 2014. But last year, when his truck was parked on Poplar Street South for five months, the city impounded it. He said living outside took a toll.

"I had eight colds that year and pneumonia, to boot," he said. "And I normally have only one or two colds a year."

Long is not alone. A 2017 survey by the nonprofit All Home counted more than 5,400 people living on Seattle's streets. Nearly half of them were living in their vehicles.

"It's one of the first big victories in the area of vehicle residency in particular," says Columbia Legal Services lawyer Ann LoGerfo.

LoGerfo and Long's legal team argued that state law says a home cannot be sold to pay one's debts. Long's truck, the judge determined, is indeed his home, and couldn't be held for the $900 impound feeds he owes.

"So the impound system where there's an impound and you can't get your vehicle – and here a house – out until you pay pretty hefty fines violates the homestead act," LoGerfo said. 

LoGerfo said that this ruling means a vehicle is to be treated like a home. 

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The city of Seattle argued that impounding Long's vehicle did not constitute a "forced sale." 

Moreover, the courts "have consistently held that there is no constitutional right to housing."

The city attorney would not talk on camera but issued a statement: "The City disagrees with the trial court's ruling and is evaluating its options."

Long hopes the ruling will help others living in their vehicles.

"Hope they would never have to see or do what I had to live through," he said.

The city may still ticket anyone who parks a vehicle for more than 72 hours. But if it is someone's home, they may not impound it.

The city can appeal.

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4 children killed in violent police standoff laid to rest in Florida

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 8:31 PM

The children killed in an Orlando police standoff with their mother's boyfriend are from top left (clockwise) Lillia Pluth, Irayan Pluth, Dove Lindsey and Aidan Lindsey. The children were laid to rest Saturday in Orlando.
The children killed in an Orlando police standoff with their mother's boyfriend are from top left (clockwise) Lillia Pluth, Irayan Pluth, Dove Lindsey and Aidan Lindsey. The children were laid to rest Saturday in Orlando.

Funeral services for four Orlando children killed during a 21-hour police standoff  with their mother’s boyfriend were held Saturday. 

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The services, which were open to the public, took place at St. James Catholic Cathedral in Orlando, according to an attorney representing the family.

The funeral marked a difficult day for the family of Dove Lindsey, 1, Aiden Lindsey, 6, Lillia Pluth, 10, and Irayan Pluth, 12.

The day also proved too emotional for the children's mother, Ciara Lopez. 

"I remain stuck in that one night, that one night where everything changed, standing outside that apartment, waiting for different news," she said in a statement. 

Detectives believe Gary Lindsey, 35, shot the children either shortly before or after police officers came to the door of his apartment June 10 in response to a domestic battery call from Lopez. She had escaped the apartment.

Lindsey fired at the responding officers, seriously wounding Officer Kevin Valencia, who remains in a coma. Lindsey was then holed up in the apartment for almost a full day. Officers found him dead in a closet when they entered the apartment the following day.

>>Related: Wife of Orlando officer in coma: ‘My kids need a daddy. This community needs a real hero'

The children were found in their beds, police said. 

Some of the officers who worked during the standoff went to the service. 

"It's heartbreaking to see, obviously a small casket, with an infant inside," said Orlando Police Chief John Mina. 

Lindsey was Lopez’s boyfriend and the mother of all four children. Lindsey was the father of two of the children.

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Common herpes viruses may be linked to development of Alzheimer’s disease, study finds

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 7:16 PM

A new study by scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, discovered a link between the most common herpes viruses and Alzheimer’s disease.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/Getty Images
A new study by scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, discovered a link between the most common herpes viruses and Alzheimer’s disease.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Two common herpes viruses may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and projected to affect 14 million people by 2050.

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That’s according to new research published Thursday in the journal Neuron, for which a team of scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, used genetic data from three different brain banks to examine differences between healthy brain tissue and brain tissue from individuals who died with Alzheimer’s.

The medical community still doesn’t know what causes the disease, so the Mount Sinai scientists set out to try and identify new targets for drugs. Instead, they stumbled upon repetitive hints that the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients had higher levels of viruses.

>> Related: How to prevent Alzheimer’s: Sleep, drink wine and exercise, researchers suggest

“The title of the talk that I usually give is, 'I Went Looking for Drug Targets and All I Found Were These Lousy Viruses,’” study co-author and geneticist Joel Dudley said in a statement.

While studying brain tissue of 622 people who had signs of the disease and 322 who weren’t affected by it, Dudley and his team found significant evidence suggesting two specific strains of the human herpes virus (HHV-6A and HHV-7), both of which commonly cause skin rashes called roseola in young children, may have seeped into the Alzheimer’s patients’ brains and remained inactive for decades.

>> Related: Have trouble sleeping? Research says that may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s

“I don't think we can answer whether herpes viruses are a primary cause of Alzheimer's disease. But what's clear is that they're perturbing networks and participating in networks that directly accelerate the brain towards the Alzheimer's topology,” Dudley said.

The team found that the herpes virus genes were interacting with specific genes known to increase risk for Alzheimer’s, but the mere presence of the virus isn’t enough to lead to the disease. Instead, Dudley said, something needs to be activating the viruses to cause replication.

>> Related: Why are Alzheimer's disease deaths up significantly in Georgia?

But their findings do align with some other current research, specifically regarding beta-amyloid proteins, proteins known to increase plaque buildup in Alzheimer’s-affected brains. In the new study, the researchers noted that herpes viruses were involved in networks that regulate these amyloid precursor proteins.

The National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the new research, is working to back another study to test the effects of antiviral drugs on people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s with high levels of herpes virus in their brains.

>> Related: This common vegetable may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, study says

While the study findings open a door for new treatment options, co-senior author Sam Gandy said in a statement, the results don’t exactly change what scientists know about the risk and susceptibility of Alzheimer’s or their ability to treat it. That’s because both HHV-6A and HHV-7 are incredibly common. In North America alone, almost 90 percent of children have one of the viruses in their blood by the time they’re a few years old, according to Gandy.

According to 2017 report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate from Alzheimer’s disease has risen by 55 percent in recent decades.

>> Related: U.S. Alzheimer’s deaths up 55 percent, CDC says

Patients, caregivers and publicly funded long-term care facilities bear significant financial and societal costs due to the increasing rates of Alzheimer’s deaths.

Experts recommend more federal funding for caregiver support and education and for research to find a cure.

According to the CDC, it’s estimated the U.S. spent some $259 billion in 2017 on costs related to the care of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

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Teens who laughed, recorded man drowning won’t face criminal charges 

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 6:41 PM

Four teenagers and one adult who recorded a man’s drowning and laughed as it happened will not be criminally charged, the State Attorney’s Office announced Friday. 

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Jamal Dunn, 31, of Cocoa, Florida, died in July 2017.

A passerby found Dunn’s body in a pond at Bracco Pond Park days after he died, investigators said.

In the two-and-a-half-minute video, the teenage boys can be heard yelling, “We’re not going to help you and you never should have gotten in there.”

>> Related: Teens record, taunt drowning man in Cocoa; no charges filed, police say

There is no Florida law that requires a person to provide emergency assistance.

Prosecutors had considered charging the group with failing to notify a medical examiner of a death, but said they could not appropriately apply it in Dunn’s case without new legislation. 

At the time the video was taken, the group ranged in age from 14 to 18.

>> Related: Florida authorities recommend charges against teens who taunted drowning man, police say

After the incident, a Florida state legislator crafted a good Samaritan bill that would have made it a crime not to assist someone in need, but lawmakers rejected it.

“I know that everyone was sickened by the callous disregard for human life exhibited by these young people. We can only hope that this was an isolated and rare circumstance that will never happen again,” State Attorney Phil Archer said. 

“Unfortunately, Florida law does not address this behavior and we are ethically restrained from pursuing criminal charges without a reasonable belief of proving a crime beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”

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Toddler dies after 10 hours in hot car while mother allegedly hangs out with friends

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 6:12 PM



Pixabay
(Pixabay)

A California woman is jailed on charges related to the death of her 18-month-old toddler inside a hot car, according to Mendocino County authorities.

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Deputies were called to Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits, California, Wednesday afternoon after the death of a young boy identified as Chergery Teywoh Lew Mays.

The child had been taken to the hospital by his mother, Alexandra Raven Scott, Detective Sgt. Andrew Porter with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release on Facebook.

Scott, a resident of Humboldt County, went to visit friends in Willits around 3 a.m. Wednesday, leaving the boy inside the car for hours.

“It is believed the child was left unattended in the back seat of the vehicle with the windows rolled up for about 10 hours,” Porter said.

A mug shot of Alexandra Scott, who is accused of leaving her toddler in a hot car for 10 hours while she socialized with friends. The child died from his injuries.(Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

The temperature was about 80 degrees in Willits when the boy was found around 1 p.m., but officials told KTLA-TV it was more like 130 degrees inside the car. 

Scott is jailed without bail on suspicion of willfully causing or permitting a child to suffer great bodily injury or death.

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