- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014
ACLU, student and school district settle lawsuit

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnewaska School District and a girl represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota have settled a lawsuit that claimed school officials violated the student’s constitutional rights by viewing her Facebook and email accounts without permission.

The school district has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle the 2012 case involving former Minnewaska Area Middle School sixth-grader, Riley Stratton, now 15 years old.

According to the lawsuit, Stratton was given detention after posting disparaging comments about a teacher’s aide on her Facebook page, even though she was at home and not using school computers. The ACLU also said administrators viewed her online conversations with a boy because of a complaint the two were using computers to talk about sex.

“It was believed the parent had given permission to look at her cellphone,” Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt said Tuesday. But Schmidt said the district lacked did not have a signed consent from the parent. That is now a policy requirement, he said.

Stratton said she is happy the case is over and that the school has changed its rules. She said the experience was embarrassing and hard to go through, but that schools elsewhere will hear about the case and will not punish other students the way she was disciplined.


Teen gets 16 years in brutal beating in St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A judge rebuked a teenager Tuesday before sentencing him to 16 years in prison for his role in a brutal attack that nearly killed a St. Paul man last summer.

Cindarion Butler, 17, apologized in court. But Ramsey County Judge Joanne Smith gave Butler the stiffer sentence sought by the prosecutor.

“What you’re telling me is for your own benefit,” Smith told Butler. “Frankly, what I think you’re sorry for is that you were caught.”

Butler was certified to stand trial as an adult. A jury convicted him in January of aiding and abetting first-degree assault and aiding and abetting robbery in the Aug. 4 attack on Ray Widstrand on St. Paul’s East Side.

The convictions called for a sentence of seven to 10 years, but the jury found there were aggravating factors in the case, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1gyzc4r) reported. That allowed Assistant Ramsey County Attorney David Miller to seek the 16-year sentence.


DNR announced Mille Lacs Lake fishing regulations

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Fisheries managers said they hope to steer anglers on Mille Lacs Lake toward northern pike and smallmouth bass to protect the struggling walleye population, as they announced regulations Tuesday for the upcoming season.

The popular lake’s biggest change is extending the 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. nighttime fishing ban until Dec. 1 instead of lifting it in mid-June, said Don Pereira, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He acknowledged it will be a blow to resorts on Mille Lacs that run nighttime launch services.

Except for the opening weekend, nighttime fishing won’t be allowed during the open water season.

Daily and possession limits for walleyes remain unchanged at two fish, which still must be between 18 to 20 inches long, except for one longer than 28 inches.

But the northern pike limit will rise from three to 10, one of which may be longer than 20 inches, and the ban on spearfishing for northerns will be lifted.


Man gets 35 years for death of Minneapolis teen

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A 19-year-old man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for the shooting death of a 13-year-old Minneapolis boy who was on a bicycle.

Donquarius Copeland was sentenced Tuesday in the death of Ray’Jon Gomez in August 2011.

Copeland pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional murder and attempted murder.

Gomez was riding on the back of a friend’s bike when he was hit. The 12-year-old boy steering the bike was also hit by gunfire, but survived.

Authorities say Kemen Taylor persuaded Copeland and Derrick Catchings to shoot at several boys riding bikes in a Minneapolis alley. Taylor was sentenced to life without parole earlier this month.



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