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Family of boy killed by Border Patrol can't sue agent in U.S., court rules

A U.S. Border Patrol agent who killed a Mexican teenager when he fired across the border from Texas into Mexico cannot be sued in U.S. courts by the boy’s family, a federal appeals court ruled. 

The unanimous ruling was issued Friday by the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing most of an earlier 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the court. The border agent's lawyer said the opinion vindicated his client.

An attorney for the teen's family said they hadn't decided whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We leave for others to decide whether this court has lost its moral bearings,” attorney Marion Reilly said in a written statement. “On behalf of the parents of an innocent slain teenager — a human being, regardless of his nationality — we simply note that they and we had not expected such a decision from a court of the United States.”

Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa Jr. shot 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca in June 2010. U.S. investigators said Mesa was trying...

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Oklahoma deputy who mistook gun for Taser not properly trained, report says

Two high-ranking members of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department created a culture of intimidation that allowed the wealthy reserve deputy involved in a controversial police shooting earlier this month to advance through the ranks without proper training, according to an internal report made public Friday.

The nearly 300-page document, released Friday by the attorneys of the man shot and killed by Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, contains interviews with several sheriff's officers who said they were repeatedly threatened by Sheriff's Department Chief Tim Albin and Capt. Tom Huckeby for criticizing Bates.

"Policy has been violated, and continues to be violated, by both Captain Tom Huckeby and Chief Deputy Tim Albin with regard to special treatment shown to Reserve Deputy Robert Bates with regard to his field training, and with Captain Huckeby and Chief Albin creating an atmosphere in which employees were intimidated to fail to adhere to policies in a manner which benefits Reserve Deputy Bates,"...

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Atty. Gen. Eric Holder says farewell at Justice Department

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., in a farewell speech on his last day at the Justice Department, said that the department’s political independence had been restored and that the argument over trying terrorists in civilian courts had been won.

Noting that he had worked at the Justice Department “on and off” since 1976, Holder said “this department has been restored to what it always was, free of politicization and focused on the mission without any kind of interference from political outsiders.”

Holder was apparently referring to the firing in 2006 of seven U.S. attorneys for political reasons by one of his Republican predecessors, Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales resigned in the aftermath.

Holder also claimed victory in a controversy that has rankled him since near the beginning of his tenure as attorney general in 2009. The argument over whether terrorism suspects can be tried in civilian rather than military courts “is over, it's dead,” he told a large crowd of staffers in the Great Hall of...

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Etan Patz jury ends 7th day without verdict in 36-year-old murder case

Jurors deciding the fate of a former grocery store clerk charged in the slaying of 6-year-old Etan Patz ended their seventh day of deliberations Thursday without a verdict after requesting hours of testimony be read back to them.

Judge Maxwell Wiley estimated that the readbacks, to done in court by a court reporter, would take at least four to six hours. They were expected to begin Friday morning.

Throughout previous readbacks, defendant Pedro Hernandez, 54, has sat quietly and looked straight ahead, as he did throughout the trial. His wife and grown daughter sit in court each day a couple of rows behind him in the wooden benches of the spectator section.

The seven-man, five-woman jury has requested readbacks of several witnesses' testimony this week. It also has asked to see a list of all of the witnesses who took the stand during the more than two-month-long trial, and to see all of the evidence submitted.

Jurors' request Thursday afternoon was to hear the complete testimony of two defense...

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At hearing, Sheriff Joe Arpaio says his lawyer investigated judge's wife

The contempt proceeding involving Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio was always going to come down to a test of wills with the federal judge whose order in a racial profiling case had been spurned by the headstrong law enforcement chief.

But the hearing took a startlingly personal turn Thursday when the man who bills himself as “America’s toughest sheriff” admitted that his former lawyer had hired a private detective to investigate the jurist’s wife.

Investigating opponents is not exactly unheard of in Phoenix, where there have been charges in the media that Arpaio had used his office for such inquiries before. Two elected county supervisors and a judge were reportedly among those investigated and charged with crimes in the last decade after feuding with the Maricopa County sheriff.

The Justice Department had filed a lawsuit against the sheriff as part of its investigation into whether Arpaio had abused the power of his office, which he has held for six terms and is expected to seek again next...

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Three SkyWest passengers lost consciousness, not just one, airline says

Three passengers on a SkyWest Airlines flight lost consciousness before the plane made an emergency landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the airline said Thursday. Initially, it had said just one passenger passed out.

It is unclear why the passengers fell ill during the Wednesday flight. Despite early reports of a pressurization issue, the airline said in a statement Thursday that “after examination by maintenance personnel and local authorities, there have been no indications of a pressurization problem or other issues with the aircraft.”

SkyWest spokesman Wes Horrocks told the Los Angeles Times that the three passengers were sitting near one another, in seats 11B, 12A and 12B. They received medical evaluation once the plane landed and were released without needing to go to a hospital, he said.

The plane, operating as a United Express flight, took off from Chicago and was headed to Windsor Locks, Conn. It landed safely at the Buffalo, N.Y., airport on Wednesday morning, according...

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