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American Scene: Judge rules against cops’ 
stop-and-search policy

- - Tuesday, January 8, 2013

NEW YORK — A federal judge has ordered New York City police to stop making trespass stops outside certain privately owned buildings in the Bronx without reasonable suspicion.

Manhattan Judge Shira Scheindlin made the ruling Tuesday as an interim order before a trial on a lawsuit filed against the city.

The judge said it is not enough for a police officer to have a nonspecific suspicion or hunch about a person to perform a stop and frisk.

The case is one of three lawsuits challenging the police department's stop-and-frisk practices.

The case on which Judge Scheindlin ruled is the narrowest of the three. It deals with legal issues raised after the city first adopted a stop-and-frisk law in 1964.

The city did not comment immediately.

CALIFORNIA

Boy Scouts must release 
decades of files of sex abuse

LOS ANGELES — The Boy Scouts of America must release two decades of files detailing sexual abuse allegations after the California Supreme Court refused the organization's bid to keep the records confidential.

The decision was made after a Santa Barbara County court ruled last year that the files must be turned over to lawyers representing a former Scout who claims a leader molested him in 2007, when he was 13. That leader later was convicted of felony child endangerment.

The former Scout's lawsuit claims the files, which date to 1991, will expose a "culture of hidden sexual abuse" that the Scouts concealed.

The Boy Scouts of America has denied the allegations and argued that the files should remain confidential to protect the privacy of child victims and of people who were wrongly accused.

"The BSA will comply fully with the order, but maintains that the files are not relevant to this suit" and won't be made public unless used as evidence in the case, spokesman Deron Smith told the Los Angeles Times.

It's not clear how soon the files will become public. The documents are covered by a judge's protective order and can't be revealed until they become part of the open court record in the former Scout's lawsuit.

TEXAS

Dealer of missile parts 
is set for sentencing

EL PASO — A British businessman who pleaded guilty to trying to buy missile parts and resell them to Iran is about to learn his punishment.

Christopher Tappin is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge David Briones in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday.

The 65-year-old pleaded guilty in November in a deal that calls for a 33-month prison sentence. The agreement opens the door for him to serve part of his sentence in Britain near his ailing wife.

Tappin's extradition to the U.S. in February last year touched a nerve in Britain, where many think extradition arrangements with the United States are weighted unfairly against British citizens.

After his extradition, Tappin spent several weeks in a New Mexico jail and was later released on bond. He has since lived in Houston.

WASHINGTON

Man hit by bus gets up, 
walks to Starbucks

SEATTLE — The Seattle fire department says a man who was hit by a bus downtown got up and walked a block to a Starbucks, even though he was bleeding from the head.

Department spokesman Kyle Moore said the well-dressed 32-year-old man apparently suffered a concussion Tuesday morning and wasn't making a lot of sense when firefighters arrived.

He was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

A police drug-recognition officer determined that the bus driver showed signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so he was arrested. The driver gave a blood sample and was released pending test results.

NORTH CAROLINA

Fishing tournament prize 
to be determined in court

RALEIGH — The crew of the fishing charter boat Citation landed a record 880-pound marlin in one of the country's richest deep-sea fishing tournaments, but the fight continues for the $910,000 prize.

The boat was disqualified from the 2010 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament because its Virginia-based first mate did not have a North Carolina fishing license when the fish was hooked.

North Carolina's Supreme Court heard an attorney for the boat's owners argue Tuesday that the tournament unfairly picked one unclear rule that didn't affect competition.

The tournament's attorney said that unless contest rules are enforced, nothing could prevent a crew from shooting fish with a rifle.

The high court also is to determine whether a local judge should have decided the case because his former law partner and vacation buddy represented the second-place boat.

From wire dispatches and staff reports