State briefs for February 14

Sentencing for former corrections officer delayed

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A former Utah Department of Corrections officer arrested last year after being on the run for nearly a decade is scheduled to be sentenced in April.


William Lawrence, 41, pleaded guilty to forcible sex abuse in 2007, but he failed to appear in court for sentencing in April 2008.

Authorities say Lawrence was accused of handcuffing a woman inside his apartment and demanding sexual acts. He was arrested in Hawaii by U.S. marshals in November.

Lawrence appeared Monday in a West Jordan courtroom, and the judge granted the defense’s request for a new presentence report, delaying sentencing.

His attorney, Adam Elmore, indicated to the court that Lawrence intends to file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

Woman: Officer issued her ticket for honking

HONOLULU — A woman says she was issued a $72 fine on Oahu for honking her horn.

Lynette Atuaia says she was crossing an intersection when she used her horn because she thought another vehicle was cutting her off.

Atuaia says she did not realize the driver was a police officer until after she honked.

She says the officer then pulled her over and issued her a ticket.

Atuaia says the officer told her she should have seen he was an emergency vehicle, but she says the vehicle’s emergency lights and sirens were not on.

A Honolulu Police Department spokesman says Atuaia can contest the ticket if she thinks it was issued in error. Atuaia says she plans to do so.

State AGs: No citizenship question on census

NEW YORK — A coalition of state attorneys general on Monday urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to not add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, saying it could lower participation among immigrants and cause a population undercount.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a letter sent to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

They were joined by Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The governor of Colorado also signed on.

The letter said they oppose a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to add the question, and that it would chill “participation in the 2020 census by noncitizens and naturalized citizens alike” because of fears about confidentiality and possible data-sharing.

Diminished participation would be detrimental to states, the letter said, because it would impact a range of outcomes, from political representation in Congress to federal funding of programs used by the states.


The U.S. Census Bureau is obligated to carry out an “actual enumeration,” the letter said.

“Including a question on the 2020 Census that would manipulate the count by scaring people away from being counted — causing grave harm to the states and our residents — is inconsistent with those obligations,” the officials wrote.