Prosecution rests in theater shooting case
The prosecution in the theater shooting trial has rested after aiming to show James Holmes planned and carried out the massacre while knowing it was wrong. Prosecutors relied on emotional testimony from victims, graphic photos and a state-appointed psychiatrist’s videotaped interview with Holmes to undermine his claim that he was too mentally ill to know right from wrong. Holmes’ attorneys plan to start their case next week. The defense wants Holmes to be committed to the state mental hospital. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Marijuana use is decriminalized
Gov. Jack Markell signed a bill that decriminalizes marijuana use. The bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 12-9 and was signed by the governor. It makes consumption or possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in private punishable with a civil fine. Public use will be a misdemeanor, and could result in fines of up to $200 or imprisonment of up to five days.
Schools ban some team mascot garb
Madison’s public school district board unanimously approved a policy banning clothing that displays sports teams with American Indian mascots. The ban prohibits students from wearing clothing that shows the name, logo or mascot of any team that portrays a negative stereotype of American Indians. Students who wear such clothing have to change it or face suspension or expulsion. Supporters say the policy will make American Indian students more comfortable in school; opponents say it infringes on free speech.
Court won’t overturn same-sex divorce
The state Supreme Court declined to overturn a Travis County court ruling granting a divorce to two women who had married in Massachusetts. Then-Attorney General Greg Abbott had asked the state’s highest civil court to void the ruling, arguing that Texas law not only limits marriage to opposite-sex couples, it also forbids any action — including divorce — that recognizes a same-sex marriage from another state. In a 5-3 ruling, the court said Abbott did not have standing to intervene.
Ban on video medical advice overturned
A state law barring doctors from dispensing abortion-inducing drugs on video conference calls was declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. The measure took aim at “telemedicine abortions,” in which doctors prescribed the drugs to women pregnant for 63 days or less, after video consultation. It required doctors to be present and perform a physical examination before the medicine was given.
Executions end during holy month
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif temporarily suspended the use of the death penalty during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In December, Sharif’s government partly lifted Pakistan’s moratorium on executions, specifically for terrorism-related cases, following the Taliban attack on a school in the city of Peshawar that left 150 people dead, mostly children. He later lifted the ban entirely, and since then about 150 inmates have been hanged.
Saudi airstrikes kill at least 10 civilians
Saudi-led airstrikes pounded Shiite rebels and allied forces in Yemen, killing at least 10 civilians, as the United Nations called for $1.6 billion to help millions of Yemenis avoid a “looming humanitarian catastrophe.” The strikes targeted the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, the southern city of Aden. The fighting pits Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against separatists.