Convicted NJ murderer loses lawsuit over teeth

TRENTON, N.J. - December 26, 2011

Last Friday in Trenton, U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper dismissed Michael LaSane's lawsuit against prison officials including former state Department of Corrections chief George Hayman. The suit alleged LaSane didn't receive proper care after he underwent dental surgery in 2007.

LaSane pleaded guilty in 1997 to murdering Ocean County schoolteacher Kathleen Weinstein during a carjacking the year before. The plea was thrown out in 2004 after it was revealed LaSane's mother had had a romantic affair with his defense attorney.

Weinstein secretly recorded the crime as it unfolded, and the tape was played during LaSane's trial in 2007 despite considerable efforts by Weinstein's husband to have it excluded.

A jury convicted LaSane and he was sentenced to life plus 60 years, but that sentence was later reduced to life plus 30 years.

Prosecutors contended he decided to steal Weinstein's1995 Toyota Camry as a present for his 17th birthday. Her body was found in a wooded area in Berkeley Township, her hands and feet bound with duct tape. She was smothered with her own clothing, authorities said.

In his lawsuit, LaSane claimed his requests to be allowed to eat soft food were ignored after he underwent surgery to remove a cyst in the roof of his mouth. He named Hayman and several officials at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

In her decision, Cooper ruled that LaSane hadn't exhausted the administrative appeals process and therefore wasn't entitled to sue under federal civil rights laws governing prisoners.

LaSane could not be reached by phone Monday.

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