- - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved a measure that would allow police officers to ticket people found with small amounts of marijuana instead of arresting them.

Aldermen voted 43-3 in favor of the ordinance, under which anyone in possession of 15 grams of marijuana - roughly the equivalent of 15 marijuana cigarettes - faces a fine between $250 and $500.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy support the ordinance, and a marked jump in Chicago’s homicide rate may have given the proposal more steam. Homicides are up by about 50 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year.

States across the country are starting to relax their laws on marijuana possession.


State’s only abortion clinic sues to overturn new limits

JACKSON — Mississippi’s only abortion clinic sued Wednesday to stop a law that it says will effectively ban abortion in the state and endanger women’s health by limiting access to the procedure.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization said in the federal lawsuit that the measure would force the clinic to close, is unconstitutional and will ban abortion in Mississippi “by imposing medically unjustified requirements on physicians who perform abortions.” Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, has said his goal is to eliminate abortions in the state.

The law takes effect Sunday, but the clinic is asking a federal judge in Jackson to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the state from enforcing it.


Judge: U.S. misused law to hold witness for trial

BOISE — A federal magistrate says the United States falsely imprisoned a former Idaho man under a law designed to ensure that key witnesses show up for trial.

The ruling from U.S. Magistrate Mikel Williams in Boise still must be signed by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge before it may go into effect, and it’s possible that lawyers with the Department of Justice will appeal, ask the judge not to sign or simply reach a settlement with Abdullah al-Kidd.

Mr. Al-Kidd, a U.S. citizen, sued the government in 2005 after he was arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport and held as a material witness in a terrorism-related criminal case against another man. He said he was jailed for 16 days, repeatedly strip searched and at times left naked in a jail cell. He was never called to testify.


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