By Keith Coffman CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) - Lawyers in the trial of Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes will make their closing arguments on Tuesday to jurors who must decide whether he is a calculating mass murderer or was legally insane when he killed 12 people. Prosecutors and the defense have been allotted two hours each to present their case by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour, after testimony in the almost three-month-long capital trial ended last week. When the shooting stopped, 12 moviegoers lay dead and 70 were either wounded by gunfire or were injured fleeing the theater. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Holmes if he is convicted.
A Wal-Mart Stores Inc employee sued the retailer on Tuesday, saying its prior policy of denying health insurance benefits to the spouses of gay employees violated gender discrimination laws. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, seeks nationwide class-action status. Wal-Mart, the largest private U.S. employer, began offering health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses last year, after the Supreme Court in 2013 struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to married gay couples.
MONROEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Author Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville buzzed with excitement for the Tuesday release of her novel "Go Set a Watchman," the sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning "To Kill a Mockingbird." The town has planned a full day of celebrations, including readings, walking tours and a mint julep cocktail hour outside the old courthouse.
David Zink, 55, is scheduled to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. CDT (1900 ET) at a state prison for the murder of Amanda Morton of Strafford, Missouri. Lawyers for Zink have filed a flurry of appeals seeking to halt the execution, including claims that Missouri officials will be violating federal law by using compounded pentobarbital in the execution. Zink is the named plaintiff in a lawsuit brought by a group of death row inmates in Missouri against state officials alleging its lethal-injection protocol is unconstitutional and creates a substantial risk of severe pain.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation on Monday mandating paid sick leave for nearly all workers and establishing a first-of-its kind state-run retirement program for private sector employees. Brown said the four bills, dubbed the "Fair Shot" agenda, will help working, low-income families by ensuring a living wage, retirement security and protection against racial profiling by police. With the passage of the bills, Oregon became the first state in the nation to automatically enroll residents in a defined-contribution plan if they are hired by an employer that does not already offer retirement benefits, according to the task force that designed the measure.
Eric Garner's death, along with the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man in Ferguson, Missouri, last August by a white police officer, sparked protests around the country by people outraged over police treatment of African Americans. "No sum of money can make this family whole, but hopefully the Garner family can find some peace and finality from today's settlement," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said on Monday the settlement with Garner's family was "in the best interest of all parties," adding that the city did not admit liability.
By Luciana Lopez and Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton put the fight for higher wages for everyday Americans at the heart of her economic agenda on Monday and talked tough against Wall Street in the first major policy speech of her White House bid. Clinton said the U.S. economy will only run at full steam when middle-class wages rise steadily along with executive salaries and company profits. With one eye on the growing support for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist who is also seeking the Democratic Party nomination, Clinton laid out a vision of economic equality.
What does it take to get a pardon from President Obama? It’s a question Sala Udin, a former Pittsburgh City Council member and onetime civil rights Freedom Rider, is asking a lot this summer, more than three years after he first asked a president he deeply admires to grant him a pardon for a 44-year-old federal firearms conviction.
By Steve Holland MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Scott Walker jumped into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on Monday, needing to prove he has learned from early missteps and can appeal to voters beyond the conservatives who dominate the first nominating contest in Iowa. The Wisconsin governor, the 15th Republican to announce a presidential candidacy, has a resume that appeals to conservatives and has placed him among the top contenders for his party's nomination in poll after poll. Walker's advisers say he will portray himself as a "fighter who can win" at a campaign launch at 6:15 p.m. EDT in Waukesha, just outside of Milwaukee.