News Minute: Here is the latest Northern California news from The Associated Press - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

News Minute: Here is the latest Northern California news from The Associated Press

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A federal judge will consider whether California's policy of locking up prisoners by race violates their constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley of Sacramento granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's policy of locking all inmates of a particular race in their cells after a fight involving any member of that racial group. Attorneys say no other state has a similar policy.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A federal grand jury has returned a three-count indictment charging a San Jose postal inspector with stealing and destroying mail. The indictment alleges that Quan Howard unlawfully opened packages at a San Jose mail distribution center and took a variety items, including a silver bar, jewelry and gift cards. A call to his defense attorney was not immediately returned.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The foul odor of a badly decomposed corpse forced the evacuation of the Alameda County Coroner's Bureau in Oakland. The Oakland Tribune reports 15 employees complained of eye and throat irritation after someone opened a body bag. One person was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) - A mother accused of leaving her young children in a car while she gambled at a Livermore casino is facing child endangerment charges. An officer said 37-year-old Phaley Nget of Oakland was arrested after someone saw the children, ages 2 and 3, alone in the car parked near Casino 580. Nget is being held on $200,000 bail. The children were taken into protective custody.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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