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Monday, Mar 02nd

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Opponents Of LGBT Protections Forged Signatures Or Everyone In Houston Has The Same Handwriting

HoustonNext week, a judge will begin hearing arguments over the validity of conservatives’ petition seeking to overturn Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law that would protect LGBT people and other groups from discrimination but has yet to take effect because of these legal challenges.

The city of Houston rejected the signatures last year on technical grounds; many full pages of signatures could not be accepted because they were not filled out properly by petition circulators as city law dictates. Evidence has now surfaced suggesting that some of the signatures may have also been forged.

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Mistrial for white ex-police chief in black man's death

Mistrial for ex-police chiefA judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a former small-town white police chief charged with murdering an unarmed black man in 2011.

Judge Edgar Dickson made the decision in the Richard Combs case just after 2 a.m. Tuesday, after the jury told him it remained deadlocked. Dickson thanked the jurors for their service, then dismissed them.

Combs shot and killed 53-year-old Bernard Bailey in May 2011, but wasn't charged with murder until last month.

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Supreme Court rules for homeowners over mortgage dispute

SC rules for homeownersThe U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of homeowners seeking to back out of mortgages when lenders are accused of failing to follow a federal “truth in lending” law.

On a 9-0 vote, the court handed a win to an Eagan, Minnesota couple, Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski, over the $611,000 loan they obtained in 2007 from Countrywide Home Loans Inc, now part of Bank of America Corp.

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Sister: Cuban spy hailed by Obama fine, in US

Rolando SarrafThe Cuban spy traded to the U.S. for jailed Cuban intelligence agents but out of contact with his family for nearly a month is in the U.S. and is doing fine, his sister told The Associated Press in a brief interview Tuesday.

Vilma Sarraff, who lives in Spain, said her 51-year-old brother Rolando called her for the first time since his Dec. 17 release amid a big thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. The brother told her he is "free and doing fine."

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Judge rules S.D. same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

SD marriage ban overruledA federal judge on Monday declared South Dakota's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, but stayed the decision pending appeal.

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier issued a summary judgment in favor of the six couples who filed the lawsuit last year in Sioux Falls. The federal complaint challenges a 1996 law passed by the Legislature and a voter-approved 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which means such cases are now pending in 30 states with gay marriage bans.

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Albuquerque Police Officers Face Murder Charges Over 2014 Shooting

Albuquerque police charged with 2014 murderMonths after a deadly encounter that touched off contentious protests, two police officers who were captured on video shooting and killing an unarmed man in the foothills of Albuquerque, N.M., will face murder charges. James Boyd, 38, was killed after illegally camping in the city.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg announced Monday that "a single count of open murder" has been filed against each of two officers: Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez of the Albuquerque Police Department. Sandy retired late in 2014 at the rank of detective.

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Supreme Court rejects Louisiana gay marriage case, takes no action on four others

SC rejects Louisiana gay marriage caseThe U.S. Supreme Court, which is in the midst of deciding whether to take up the issue of gay marriage, on Monday declined to take an early look at a challenge to Louisiana’s state ban.

The court took no action on four other pending cases concerning gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, but could act on those cases as soon as later this week.

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