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December 16, 2020 GMT

CHRISTMAS TREE FLAP IN WISCONSIN CAPITOL

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Cities and states often have annual ceremonies to put up, decorate or light a Christmas tree. But in Madison, Wisconsin, this year there was not just one — but two such ceremonies. On Dec. 1, two Republican state lawmakers put up an artificial Christmas tree in the Capitol rotunda. But it was removed yesterday because the lawmakers didn’t have a permit for it. After a lot of political back and forth, the lawmakers returned to put up a second tree — this time broadcasting the effort live on Facebook. The lawmakers, Paul Tittl and Shae Sortwell say putting up the tree was a peaceful protest in defiance of a decision by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. He chose not to put up a tree this year since the Capitol is closed to the public because of the pandemic.

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POLICE SHORTCUT CAUSES COURT TO TOSS OUT EVIDENCE IN N.C. DRUG, WEAPONS CASE

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — They considered it a shortcut. But an appeals court in North Carolina says two police officers who cut through a suspect’s yard late at night to speak with him — ended up short-circuiting justice. The appeals panel says the officers’ indirect approach to the property amounted to an illegal search — and threw out the evidence collected as a result. The panel says the two officers on the Gastonia police force should have used the walkway to the home, instead of crossing through a yard and emerging through trees to chat with the suspect. The officers were doing what’s known as a “knock and talk,” — in which police approach a home and seek permission for a warrantless search. In this case, the search obtained evidence of drugs, a gun and counterfeit money — all of which was tossed because of the officers’ shortcut.