- Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015
Federal judge who issued Kentucky gay marriage rulings dies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A federal judge whose ruling striking down Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage led to an appeal heard this week in the U.S. Supreme Court died Wednesday. He was 66.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II died at home in Louisville surrounded by family after battling cancer for several years, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky announced.

“John Heyburn untangled countless legal knots and delivered sweeping legal opinions on cases of incredible complexity over his more than two decades on the federal bench,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

Last year, Heyburn struck down Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage and on recognizing same-sex marriages from outside the state. The rulings were reversed on appeal, but the Supreme Court heard arguments on them Tuesday.

Heyburn wrote that the ban on marriages performed elsewhere treated “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

“Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons,” wrote Heyburn, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.


Ex-Louisville basketball player Jones cleared on rape charge

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Two months after his arrest on allegations of sexually assaulting two women at an off-campus apartment party, former Louisville basketball player Chris Jones and two other men were cleared Wednesday of rape and sodomy charges by a grand jury.

Jones was facing two counts of rape and two counts of sodomy. The two other men, 21-year-old Jalen Tilford and 19-year-old Tyvon Walker, were charged with sexually assaulting one of the women. Those two men also were cleared of rape and sodomy charges.

Scott Drabenstadt, an attorney for Tilford, said Wednesday that surveillance video seen by the grand jury showed the two women, ages19 and 20, “frolicking in the stairs and in the hallway” after the alleged incidents. The video from the apartment complex, near campus, shows the women arriving, leaving the party, returning and leaving again.

“And this is after they were supposedly, one of them raped by three men and the other raped by Chris Jones. Just ridiculous. Thank God that video existed,” Drabenstadt said.

Jones, a senior, was kicked off the basketball team for violating curfew a day after scoring 17 points in a 55-53 win over Miami. The party where the alleged incident occurred was held Feb. 22, the day after the Miami game. Jones and the other men were charged in the case a few days later.

Dina Bartlett, an attorney for the women, said she was disappointed in grand jury’s decision. She said the women were “heinously assaulted.” Bartlett has maintained that Jones was given special treatment because he was a basketball player.


After losses, Kentucky Sen. Alvarado rising quickly in GOP

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Ralph Alvarado came back to politics after someone spray painted a racial slur on his front porch. He came back after an embarrassing 15-point loss to a Democrat in 2006. And he came back after an agonizingly close loss in 2010 that cost more than $100,000.

After his latest comeback, the 45-year-old Republican doctor finally claimed a prize: a seat in the state Senate representing Clark, Fayette and Montgomery counties as the first Hispanic member of the Kentucky General Assembly. Except maybe “prize” is the wrong word.

“The office was treated like a trophy. And I treat it like an absolute hammer,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to build something.”

Alvarado defeated Sen. R.J. Palmer in November, a rare feat to knock off an incumbent who was also leader of the Senate Democrats. In the four months since taking his seat, Alvarado sponsored eight bills that passed the state Senate - more than any other senator. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul asked Alvarado to introduce him in Louisville as he announced his campaign for president before assembled media from around the world.

“I am excited about the impact he will have as we seek to build a bigger, better and stronger GOP,” Paul said in a statement.

And Wednesday GOPAC, a national Republican recruiting organization, named him an “emerging leader” of 2015, giving him access to speech coaches, fundraisers and strategist to help mold him for a run for higher office - whatever, and whenever, that might be.


5-year-old killed as she waits for bus in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Louisville police say a 5-year-old girl waiting for her bus has died after being hit by a car.

The Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/1InV12Shttps://cjky.it/1InV12S ) reports officers found the Maupin Elementary kindergartner pinned underneath a pickup truck around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said the girl was waiting with friends when she darted into the street for an unknown reason. The girl, whom officials haven’t identified, was taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The driver didn’t have a stop sign at the intersection. Mitchell says no charges are expected.

Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Mandy Simpson says grief counselors were being sent to Maupin Elementary, which is about a half-mile from the crash site.


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