- - Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CALIFORNIA

DNA sample collection defended

SAN FRANCISCO | California Attorney General Jerry Brown is defending a law enforcement policy that allows police to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested on felony charges, regardless of the outcome of their cases.

Voters approved the policy in 2004.

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the practice as an unconstitutional search. The group on Tuesday asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to suspend the DNA collection while its lawsuit is pending.

Mr. Brown, who is running for governor, defended the DNA collection as akin to collecting fingerprints and mug shots of all arrestees.

He said the DNA samples have led to arrests of dangerous criminals.

CONNECTICUT

Rip Torn applies for probation

LITCHFIELD | Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped a felony burglary charge against actor Rip Torn, clearing the way for him to seek special probation that might settle charges that he broke into a bank while drunk and armed in January.

The Emmy-winning actor, 79, applied for accelerated rehabilitation, a program for first-time nonviolent offenders that allows charges to be dropped after a probation period.

Prosecutors will argue against the application at a hearing Aug. 11, Litchfield State’s Attorney David Shepack said. Mr. Torn spoke in court Tuesday to answer questions from the judge only.

Despite opposing the special probation request, Mr. Shepack said dropping the burglary charge was appropriate because nothing indicated Mr. Torn intended to burglarize the Salisbury bank when he broke in, thinking it was his own nearby home.

That felony burglary charge blocked Mr. Torn from requesting the special probation.

IOWA

Sign linking Obama, Hitler condemned

DES MOINES | A billboard created by an Iowa tea-party group comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin is being condemned by other tea-party activists.

The North Iowa Tea Party began displaying the sign in Mason City last week.

The sign includes photos of Mr. Obama, Hitler and Lenin with the statement: “Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.”

North Iowa Tea Party co-founder Bob Johnson said the sign highlights what the group argues is Mr. Obama’s support for socialism. He said the pictures might be overwhelming the intended message.

Shelby Blakely, a spokeswoman for the national Tea Party Patriots, said the sign isn’t appropriate and her group opposes any comparisons of Mr. Obama to Hitler or Lenin.

The White House declined to comment.

MICHIGAN

Kilpatrick arraigned on federal charges

DETROIT | Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded poverty Tuesday and was granted a lawyer at public expense to defend him against charges that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars collected for a charity on himself and his family.

Kilpatrick, 40, waived a reading of the tax and fraud charges during his first court appearance since being indicted last month. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

“That is correct,” he replied when a judge said Mr. Kilpatrick apparently can’t afford to hire a lawyer.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Scheer said the public would pick up the tab.

Mr. Kilpatrick was indicted in June on fraud and tax charges. The government accuses him of enriching himself and others by milking $640,000 from the Civic Fund, a tax-exempt charity he created as a good-works effort to enhance Detroit and improve the city’s image.

MISSOURI

‘Tea party’ denies racism charge

KANSAS CITY | The country’s largest civil rights organization has passed a resolution that condemns perceived racism within the “tea party” movement.

Delegates approved the resolution Tuesday during the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Kansas City.

NAACP President Ben Jealous criticized the tea party leadership, saying it needs to “be responsible members of this democracy and make sure they don’t tolerate bigots or bigotry among their members.”

Local tea party organizer Alex Poulter said he has seen no evidence of racism in the movement.

NEVADA

Restraining order sought for roundup

CARSON CITY | A new lawsuit and request for a temporary restraining order have been filed to stop a wild-horse roundup in northeastern Nevada, where seven horses died of dehydration after being herded by a helicopter.

The case was filed Friday in federal court in Reno. A request for a temporary restraining order followed Monday afternoon.

That’s the same day the Bureau of Land Management said it suspended the “gather” in the Owyhee Complex in northern Elko County because seven horses died of dehydration over the weekend. Another horse suffered a broken leg and was shot.

The lawsuit was filed by Reno attorney Gordon Cowan on behalf of Laura Leigh, a writer, artist and member of the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild-horse preservation group.

NEW MEXICO

Shooting victim’s condition upgraded

ALBUQUERQUE | University of New Mexico Hospital officials say a woman wounded in a domestic-violence confrontation that left three people dead at an Albuquerque manufacturing plant is in serious condition.

Billy Sparks, a spokesman for the hospital, said Adrienne Basciano’s condition was upgraded Tuesday from critical.

Three other workers were wounded during Monday’s rampage at Emcore Corp., which police say capped a bitter child-custody dispute between Robert Reza, 37, and Miss Basciano, his one-time girlfriend.

Mr. Sparks said two of the wounded workers, a man and a woman, have been released. The other, a woman, was in satisfactory condition.

Police said Mr. Reza, a former Emcore employee, fatally shot two other Emcore workers before killing himself.

NEW YORK

U.S. trial allowed for Gitmo detainee

NEW YORK | The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be prosecuted in a civilian court was cleared for trial Tuesday by a judge who said a two-year interrogation and five-year detention were not grounds for dismissal because they served compelling national security interests.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was interrogated by the CIA for important intelligence information, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan wrote in a decision that rejected defense requests to toss out the indictment on the grounds that Mr. Ghailani was denied a speedy trial.

“No one denies that the agency’s purpose was to protect the United States from attack,” Judge Kaplan wrote, noting that the government was not proposing to use any evidence — with one possible exception — gained from Mr. Ghailani’s interrogation.

Mr. Ghailani is charged in the August 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that resulted in the deaths of 224 people, including 12 Americans. His trial is set for Sept. 27.

NEW YORK

Lacrosse team barred from flight

NEW YORK | Members of an Iroquois lacrosse team who refuse to travel on U.S. passports were barred from getting on a flight Tuesday to the sport’s world championship tournament.

The 23 members of the New York-based squad arrived at a Delta terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport wearing team jackets and shirts. Their manager, Ansley Jemison, didn’t expect to be allowed to board their flight to Amsterdam and wasn’t surprised to be turned away at the check-in desk.

U.S. officials previously informed the team that new security rules for international travelers meant that their old passports — low-tech, partly handwritten documents issued by the Iroquois confederacy of six Indian nations — wouldn’t be honored.

By showing up, the team avoided forfeiting its tickets. Airline officials said they would allow the squad to rebook its flight for Wednesday without penalty if it secured the proper documents, said Mr. Jemison.

Team officials remained hopeful that a last-minute diplomatic intervention would allow them to attend the World Lacrosse Championship, which begins in England Thursday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Man admits arson in record-studio fire

PHILADELPHIA | A man has admitted setting fire to the offices of Philadelphia International Records, though his attorney said he was too drunk to remember doing it.

Christopher Cimini pleaded guilty Tuesday to arson and related charges.

The record label was home to Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls and the O’Jays. Owners Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, who helped popularize Philadelphia soul in the 1960s and ‘70s, lost much of their memorabilia in the fire.

Investigators have said Cimini was drunk and likely thought he was somewhere else when he broke into, vandalized and set a fire in the downtown building Feb. 21.

Defense lawyer Gina A. Capuano said Tuesday that Cimini’s blood alcohol content was four times the legal limit for driving. Sentencing is Sept. 10.

UTAH

Alleged illegals list circulated

SALT LAKE CITY | A list containing the names and personal information of 1,300 illegal immigrants has been mailed across Utah, terrifying the state’s Hispanic community.

Gov. Gary Herbert wrote in a tweet Tuesday that he has asked state agencies to investigate the list — sent anonymously to several media outlets and law enforcement agencies. A letter accompanying the list demands that those on it be deported immediately.

Local advocates are decrying the list, saying whoever sent it is attempting to terrorize Utah’s Hispanic community.

Most of the names on the list are of Hispanic origin. The list also contains personal information such as birth dates, workplaces, Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports