Thursday, November 22, 2001

‘Choose life’ plate wins court battle
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. A judge threw out a lawsuit yesterday challenging Florida’s “Choose Life” license plate, which opponents argued was a state-sponsored religious message.
The optional bright yellow plates went on sale last year for $70; counties were using proceeds to promote adoption.
Leon County Circuit Judge Nikki Ann Clark dismissed the case, saying the plaintiffs failed to prove the plate was unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs, which included the National Organization for Women and a Palm Beach County synagogue, said they would appeal the decision.
NOW argued the phrase “Choose Life,” which appeared on the plate, gave the impression that the state agreed with pro-life activists.
“We have always believed this suit had no legal merit,” said Elizabeth Hirst, Gov. Jeb Bush’s press secretary.

Florida court disbars Bailey
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The state Supreme Court yesterday barred defense attorney F. Lee Bailey from practicing law in Florida.
Mr. Bailey, who has represented Dr. Sam Sheppard and O.J. Simpson, was disbarred for the way he handled 600,000 shares of stock owned by a former client now serving life in prison for drug smuggling.
The unanimous order gives Mr. Bailey 30 days to close his practice in Florida.
Mr. Bailey said he took control of the stock, worth nearly $6 million, as payment for his services to convicted drug dealer Claude Duboc. Federal prosecutors claimed that the stock was meant for seizure, and that Mr. Bailey had only been given control over it for limited purposes and a limited period.
The Supreme Court said Mr. Bailey committed “the most serious and basic trust account violations.”

Court affirms Kevorkian conviction
LANSING, Mich. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the murder conviction of assisted suicide proponent Jack Kevorkian in the death of a 52-year-old man that was shown on television.
The decision, handed down Tuesday and announced yesterday, said finding euthanasia legal would be a first step down a “slippery slope.”
Kevorkian, 73, who says he has assisted in more than 130 deaths, is serving a 10- to 25-year sentence for the September 1998 death of Thomas Youk, who was terminally ill with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Daycare worker to plead guilty to molestations
RENO, Nev. A man accused of molesting nine toddlers and infants at the day-care center where he worked has agreed to plead guilty to sexually abusing children, his lawyer said yesterday.
Gary Hanneman, 33, was expected to enter a formal plea later yesterday, lawyer David Houston told District Court Judge Connie Steinheimer. Mr. Hanneman will face up to life in prison.
Mr. Hanneman purportedly videotaped assaults on children at the Children City Learning Center, where he began work in 1999. Prosecutors say one of the tapes seized from his home shows him committing hundreds of sex acts with one toddler.

More college graduates settling in Seattle
SEATTLE College degrees are joining tech jobs and frothy lattes as the staples of the Emerald City.
A new U.S. Census survey found that nearly 52 percent of Seattle residents ages 25 or older have graduated from a four-year college, a higher proportion than in any other big city in the nation. The figure eclipsed the national average of 25 percent.

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