• iStock/Thinkstock(CONCORD, N.H.) -- A lawyer who was a member of the original defense team for Owen Labrie, the former prep school student convicted in 2015 of sexually assaulting a classmate, got emotional on the stand Tuesday as she recounted seeing what she says was an unprepared expert witness getting ready to testify during the trial for which she was a local co-counsel."That was possibly the most terrifying moment of my legal career," attorney Jaye Rancourt said Tuesday. "I was sitting in that room, thinking, I'm [going] to have to go in that courtroom and interrupt this trial and step in and say, 'I can't let it go on.'"The testimony is part of an effort to argue that Labrie's counsel was ineffective and secure a new trial. Labrie, 21, was found guilty in August 2015 of a felony charge of using a computer to lure an underage female schoolmate at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, into a sexual encounter.Although Labrie was acquitted of felony sexual assault, he was convicted of three misdemeanor sexual assault charges and one misdemeanor charge of child endangerment. He was sentenced to one year in jail.Rancourt did not interrupt the trial. She said, instead, she made a decision to be more present and active during the trial and help as much as she could.After Labrie's trial and conviction, however, Rancourt did file a motion for a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel. She was subsequently removed from his new defense team by a judge who ruled that she could not argue against the original group of lawyers of which she was a part. Rancourt testified Tuesday for Labrie's appeals team headed by Robin Melone.Labrie's attorneys are arguing not only that his defense team was ineffective but also that the defense team should have pursued an intranet vs. internet distinction.They say that when he contacted his then-15-year-old accuser, Chessy Prout, on a school email system, or intranet, that was limited to campus servers, and therefore may not be covered under state law that specifies internet service, according to a court petition obtained by ABC News in October 2016.Prout made her identity public in August 2016 during a national TV appearance. She was not present at Tuesday's hearing.In court documents filed in February, Labrie's former attorneys JW Carney and Samir Zaganjori responded to questions about their work on his case."My co-counsel and I carefully reviewed our options for trying this case. ... I met on numerous occasions with the defendant and had dozens of telephone calls with him. He participated in every aspect of the defense and agreed with the overall strategy and all of the specific tactics. If I were confronted with a situation, which we had not anticipatd, he always was complimentary afterwards to the approach I had taken on the fly," Carney said.Zaganjori said Labrie played an "active role" in his defense."I cannot recall a single instance when he expressed displeasure or disapgreement with any decision or recommendation made by myself, Attorney Carney or Attorney Rancourt,” Zaganjori said.Labrie spent two months incarcerated but is now out on bail pending appeal, and must wear a monitoring bracelet while he appeals his conviction.After graduating from St. Paul's, one of the country's most prestigious prep schools, Labrie, who now lives with his family in Vermont, had intended to attend Harvard University. The Ivy League school rescinded its offer after he was accused of sexual assault.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The controversial shooting death of a 15-year-old by a Border Patrol agent across the U.S.-Mexico border nearly seven years ago made its way to the Supreme Court.On Tuesday, the court heard arguments in Hernández v. Mesa, which will determine whether the family of a non-American who was killed on the Mexican side of the United States border can sue over their son’s death in U.S. federal court.Sergio Hernández Guereca, an unarmed Mexican national, was shot and killed in the summer of 2010 by U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa, who was patrolling the border by bicycle.The case reached the Supreme Court at a time when immigration enforcement and border security have been thrust into the national spotlight by the Trump administration.One of President Trump’s executive orders, issued on Jan. 25, called for the "immediate construction" of a physical wall on the southern border, as well as the hiring of an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents.How we got hereIn 2010, Mesa, while standing on the U.S. side of the border, pointed his service weapon at Hernández, who was on the Mexican side of the border, and struck the teen. Hernández died at the scene of the shooting.Beyond that, there is little agreement about what happened between the two sides. The facts of the case have never been argued in court, so for the purposes of the Supreme Court hearing, both parties will rely on the account of the facts brought by the petitioners -- the Hernández family.Hernández was playing a game with friends on the border between El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico in which they would run up and touch the U.S. fence and then run back down, according to court documents.After Mesa arrived on the U.S. side, he caught one of the boys and the other two ran behind a pillar on the Mexican side of the border. Mesa, who remained on U.S. soil, then shot Hernández as he peered out from pillar.U.S. authorities initially claimed that Hernández was throwing rocks and Mesa had shot him in self-defense. But cellphone video later revealed that Hernández was shot as he peered his head out, according to the petitioner’s brief.Hernández’s parents sued Mesa in federal court, but the district court dismissed the claim. The case then moved up to the Fifth Circuit of Appeals, which also sided with Mesa.The Hernández family then appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to take the case in October of last year."We just want to prove our case in court," said Robert Hilliard, lead attorney representing the Hernández family.Hernández’s "parents want justice," he said.Mesa's sideThe Department of Justice concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mesa under a federal homicide charge and that prosecutors lacked jurisdiction under civil rights statutes because Hernández was "neither within the borders of the United States nor present on U.S. property" at the time of the shooting, according to a DOJ announcement in 2012 when the investigation was concluded.Mesa was charged by Mexican authorities, but was never extradited to face those charges."We are very confident" that the Supreme Court will find that the opinion of the Fifth Circuit is in line with the case law,” said Randolph Ortega, Mesa's attorney.Mesa, who is still with the Border Patrol, had to uproot his family and re-locate from the El Paso area because of death threats, said Ortega."It’s been extremely difficult," he said.Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which oversees Border Patrol, declined to comment on pending litigation.The issue before the Supreme CourtThe case brings into question the constitutional rights of non-citizens, which could potentially impact other legislation and expand the scope of U.S law."The Fourth Amendment protects non-citizens against the arbitrary use of deadly force at the border, at least in the co
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, Texas, has been given an all-clear after police responded to reports of gunfire on Tuesday.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A bull that led police on a wild goose chase through New York City earlier Tuesday has died just hours after it was captured, according to a New York Police Department source briefed on the incident.The bull was originally spotted roaming the streets of the city's Jamaica, Queens, neighborhood late this morning after escaping from a slaughterhouse, according to ABC's New York station WABC-TV.A local named Jimmy King told WABC-TV he was nearly mauled by the animal."[If] I didn't move to the left like this, he would have got me," King said. "Thank God I'm alive."At one point, the bull began grazing on someone's lawn. But once police officers closed in on it, the bull got spooked and trotted off again, according to video recorded by WABC-TV.Several times during the chase, the bull squeezed through and narrowly avoided cop cars that tried to pin it down.Police officers were eventually able to corral the animal and shoot it with several darts containing tranquilizers, WABC-TV reported.Once the bull was sedated, it was loaded onto a vehicle for transport to a local animal shelter -- but it didn't survive for long.Animal Care Centers of NYC said the bull was dead on arrival when it arrived at the Brooklyn facility, according to WABC-TV.The police source told ABC News that while the NYPD is good at many things, the department has proved deficient in bull wrangling."We're really not good at it," the source said. "They don't train us for that in the academy."
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  • Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The beloved giant panda Bao Bao departed from Washington, D.C., Tuesday for her new home in China.Bao Bao took off from Dulles International Airport in Virginia this afternoon beginning her long trek to Chengdu. She is traveling aboard her customized FedEx plane, the "Panda Express," accompanied by one of her keepers, Marty Dearie, and a veterinarian. Also on board: nearly 60 pounds of bamboo and other treats and a box of letters from well-wishers."Today marks another milestone in our fight to save endangered species," Smithsonian National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly said. "Our team has worked so hard for so many years to make sure giant pandas stay on the earth."
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- What one Texas woman thought was just her boyfriend dancing in the streets at a Mardi Gras celebration turned into a flash mob marriage proposal.Wendy Hernandez, 23, of Houston, Texas, was celebrating Mardi Gras in Galveston Saturday afternoon with her family and friends, including her boyfriend, John Galloway.Just before the island city’s Mardi Gras parade was about to begin, Galloway, 26, began dancing in the street. He was soon joined by nearly a dozen of his closest friends in a choreographed dance routine to Bruno Mars’ hit songs “Uptown Funk” and “Marry You.”Galloway didn’t even have an idea of what a flash mob was until last December when he asked his friends’ advice for how to propose and they immediately said, “Flash mob,” he said.“I just went to YouTube and we went from there to choreograph it,” Galloway told ABC News. "It wasn't pretty at first."Galloway knew that dancing was the way to the heart of Hernandez, a college student who is also a Zumba teacher and a former professional dancer.“My original plan was to hire professional dancers,” Galloway said. “But that would take the fun out of it and I wanted something that would take more effort and show more emotion.”Galloway recruited around 25 of his friends to help. Those that wanted to dance rehearsed with him weekly from December until this weekend. Those friends with what Galloway described as “less rhythm" worked as self-named security guards on Saturday to make sure no one interrupted the surprise proposal.“I did not catch on at all,” said Hernandez, who watched on the street alongside her family and friends who traveled from Houston. “He’s pretty silly and I thought he was just dancing and thought it was pretty cool.”As a large crowd gathered to watch, Galloway danced his way to the back of his friends and then walked through an aisle they created to get down on one knee in front of Hernandez with the ring.“In the video, you can see my shoulders are shaking for how much I’m crying,” Hernandez said of her shocked reaction.Friends posted videos of the proposal on Facebook, and family made sure they had engagement T-shirts and a cake on hand to celebrate."There were tons of people involved," Galloway said. "There was no way I could have done it on my own."The newly-engaged couple has yet to set a date for their nuptials but they are already planning their first dance at their wedding reception.“I want to do a full-on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ salsa dance,” said Galloway, to which Hernandez replied, “And of course I’m all in.”
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