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An Ohio judge has acquitted a certified nurse practitioner of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in the 2017 death of a man at a Columbus nursing home, the second acquittal since the indictment of seven workers at the facility.

A Franklin County judge acquitted 55-year-old Kimberly Potter of Delaware of all charges Wednesday, ruling that prosecutors had failed to make their case and the defense didn’t need to respond, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Defense attorney Gregory Peterson called it “an ill-conceived prosecution from the very beginning.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s office indicted Potter and six nursing home employees in 2019 on patient neglect and records tampering counts; three were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the March 2017 death at Whetstone Gardens and Care Center on the city’s northwest side. The indictments alleged failure to treat serious wounds on the patient who died, and falsification and forged signatures about treatment in a second case.

In October, a county jury acquitted Jessica Caldwell, 33, a floor nurse and unit manager at the nursing home, of involuntary manslaughter and gross patient neglect in connection with the death.

“From the beginning, Whetstone vehemently disagreed with any suggestion that our employees contributed to the tragic death of a former patient,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, spokesman for the nursing home.

Samantha Elliott was sworn in as New Hampshire’s latest U.S. district judge on Wednesday.

She is replacing Judge Paul Barbadoro, who took senior status on March 1.

Elliott was a partner at Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, P.C., where she served as firm president from 2015-2020. Her areas of practice included business and commercial disputes, employment and discrimination, product liability, property rights, and municipal defense in civil rights litigation.

Elliott served as a co-chair of the founding board of 603 Legal Aid, after serving as a member of the boards of New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the Legal Advice and Referral Center. She also served as the lawyer representative on the New Hampshire Court Accreditation Commission and as a member of the Federal Court Advisory Committee.

Federal regulators say Spire Inc. will be allowed to continue operating a natural gas pipeline in the St. Louis region until a long-term decision is made about the project’s future.

The 65-mile pipeline, which runs through parts of Missouri and Illinois, was granted a temporary operating permit Friday by leaders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The order will last as long as it takes for the agency to determine the project’s future, as it was ordered to do in June when a court revoked the line’s approval, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Spire sent emails to its 600,000 customers in November warning that natural gas service could be disrupted this winter if the pipeline was shut down.

Political leaders and the Environmental Defense Fund, which filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down the pipeline, criticized the utility for creating undue panic.

In June, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that FERC had not adequately demonstrated a need for the project.

The ruling vacated approval of the pipeline, and ordered to FERC to determine what to do with the project.

Also on Friday, Spire filed an appeal asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ruling that struck down the pipeline’s authorization.

A King County Superior Court judge has upheld a requirement issued by the Port of Seattle for all Port employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 15 as a condition of employment.

Judge Samuel Chung denied the motion for a preliminary injunction against the mandate sought by two unions representing Port employees in a lawsuit, The Seattle Times reported.

In an email to Port employees Friday, Steve Metruck, the Port’s executive director said, “I want everyone to stay safe, healthy … and remain here at the Port.”

A Port spokesperson said 90% of Port employees have been fully vaccinated. The other 10% have until 5 p.m. Monday to show they are vaccinated. They can also submit an exemption request for medical or religious reasons, or request an extension demonstrating they are in the midst of becoming vaccinated, the spokesperson said.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 117 and 763 filed the lawsuit and represent about 225 employees, including police officers and bus drivers.

“We are disappointed that the Port has put our members in a position of having to choose between maintaining their careers or doing something that violates their conscience or risks their health,” the unions said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unvaccinated people are more than six times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus, and more than 11 times more likely to die from the disease.

In October, a Thurston County Superior Court judge denied a motion for a primary injunction brought by state troopers, corrections officers and ferry workers against Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate for state workers.

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the third-degree murder conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian woman in 2017, saying the charge doesn’t fit the circumstances in the case.

Mohamed Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home. He was sentenced to 12 1/2 years on the murder count but was not sentenced for manslaughter.

The ruling means his murder conviction is overturned and the case will now go back to the district court, where he will be sentenced on the manslaughter count. He has already served more than 28 months of his murder sentence. If sentenced to the presumptive four years for manslaughter, he could be eligible for supervised release around the end of this year.

Caitlinrose Fisher, one of the attorneys who worked on Noor’s appeal, said she’s grateful that the Minnesota Supreme Court clarified what constitutes third-degree murder, and she hopes that will lead to greater equity and consistency in charging decisions.

“We’ve said from the beginning that this was a tragedy but it wasn’t a murder, and now the Supreme Court agrees and recognizes that,” she said.

Messages left Wednesday with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, were not immediately returned.

The ruling could give former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin grounds to contest his own third-degree murder conviction in George Floyd’s death in May 2020. But that wouldn’t have much impact on Chauvin since he was also convicted of the more serious count of second-degree murder and is serving 22 1/2 years. Experts say it’s unlikely Chauvin would be successful in appealing his second-degree murder conviction.

The ruling in Noor’s case was also closely watched for its possible impact on three other former Minneapolis officers awaiting trial in Floyd’s death. Prosecutors had wanted to add charges of aiding and abetting third-degree murder against them, but that’s unlikely to happen now. The trio are due to go on trial in March on charges of aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

A Maine nursing home on Deer Isle will close at the end of October, citing both the coronavirus pandemic and the recent struggle to find qualified workers.

At one point, Island Nursing Home dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak that lasted about six weeks and resulted in 100 cases and 14 resident deaths, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I don’t have any idea what we’re going to do,” Jess Maurer, executive director of Maine Council on Aging, told News Center Maine.

A statement written by the Island Nursing Home board of directors said there’s simply not enough qualified workers.

“We have spent months exhausting every staffing resource at our disposal and beginning this fall, we will no longer be able to meet our minimum staffing requirements,” the statement said.

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss is joining with other Democratic members of Congress, including U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, to push for the manufacturing, production, and distribution of vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.

The group launched the COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus, which they say will advocate for the one solution that has proven to work and that a majority of Americans and scientists agree is crucial to ending the pandemic: vaccines.

“The world needs America to lead. The fight against COVID-19 is a transnational challenge that calls for vision and boldness,” Auchincloss, who represents the state’s 4th Congressional District, said Friday in a written statement. “The United States can reclaim moral leadership with vaccine diplomacy.”

Auchincloss said the goal is to encourage a U.S.-led program to increase the vaccinated populations of poor countries to protect those populations but also to block the spread of dangerous COVID-19 variants to the United States.

Other members of the caucus include representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.

Maine’s supreme court has upheld a 40-year prison sentence imposed on a man who killed his roommate in Old Orchard Beach.

Dustan Bentley pleaded guilty to murder in the death of 65-year-old William Popplewell, who was beaten, stabbed and strangled with a ligature.

Police arrested Bentley as he was attempting to use a ratchet and strap to pull the body into the trunk of his car, which was lined with a shower curtain. An autopsy revealed the victim suffered multiple broken bones and had been stabbed up to 30 times.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled that there was nothing in the record to indicate that the judge made a mistake.

“At no point did the court depart from sentencing principles or abuse its discretion in coming to or issuing its sentence,” the court said.

Bentley and Popplewell met at a Portland homeless shelter, and Bentley later moved into Popplewell’s apartment in Old Orchard Beach in December 2018. Popplewell was killed in March 2019.

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