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In brief: District Court ruling upheld in Marks case

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has closed the door on a legal case that goes back to the 1999 arrest of Thomas “Tommy” Marks during a fight with sheriff’s deputies in a Spokane cemetery.

The federal appeals court earlier this month upheld a ruling by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Frem Nielsen, who denied Marks’ petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Marks sought the writ on the grounds his constitutional rights were violated when he and a relative, both charged with assault from the cemetery fight, were represented by the same attorney in the state trial, causing a conflict of interest.

His state court conviction became the subsequent basis for Marks later to be charged federally with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The Washington State Supreme Court, in reviewing the dual-client conflict of interest question, did not arrive at a decision that was contrary to federal law, the 9th Circuit ruling said.

Tommy Marks, who now lives in California, is the son of the late Spokane Gypsy leader, James “Jimmy” Marks.

Man held after chase

A Spokane man arrested for eluding police two years ago led police on a car chase on Interstate 90 Tuesday, then attempted to hijack a car, police said.

Alfred Jordan, 33, drove onto the freeway after Spokane police attempted a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon, according to a news release. But his car malfunctioned and slowed to speeds of about 10 mph before he drove the wrong way on the Argonne Road on ramp, then left the car and jumped onto another vehicle that was passing by.

Jordan forced his way into the car before officers were able to stop the car and arrest him.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the Spokane Valley Police Department assisted in the pursuit. Jordan was booked into jail on charges of attempting to elude, second-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license, as well as a warrant for escape.

He was arrested in February 2007 on warrants for escape and drug possession and new charges of eluding police and burglary after police say he successfully eluded them but was then caught after breaking into a house later that day.

Couple win $240,000

A Spokane couple won $240,000 in Washington’s Lottery on Tuesday.

Lester Johnson bought a ticket for the game Hit 5 at the J.B.’s Foods, 5503 N. Alberta St., where a clerk scanned his winning ticket.

“I thought it had to be a mistake,” he said in a news release from the Lottery.

“It’s hard to accept.”

Johnson and his wife, Carol, are retired teachers, and their son, Eric, is a middle school teacher.

The three visited the lottery office in Spokane to claim their prize. They hadn’t decided what to do with the money.

“They say they are going to let the shock wear off first,” the news release said.

Bill Morlin Meghann M. Cuniff Meghann M. Cuniff