- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2003

California courts agree with Davis’ foes

LOS ANGELES — Judges ruled against allies of Gov. Gray Davis in two state courts yesterday, making it more likely that an effort to recall the Democrat could be certified for the fall ballot as early as next week.

A Superior Court judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the secretary of state from certifying the recall until allegations of illegal signature-gathering were investigated.

Also, an appeals court sided with a recall group that sued the secretary of state to speed up signature verification.

Proponents of the Republican-led recall claim to have given counties more than 1.6 million signatures for certification — more than twice the amount needed to trigger a recall. If the recall is certified, Mr. Davis would become the first California governor ever to face a recall election.

“It’s a complete and total victory,” said James F. Sweeney, attorney for the Recall Gray Davis Committee. He added that it is “highly probable” that a recall election will be certified next week.

Bishops sever ties over gay ceremony

Twenty-four conservative Episcopal bishops in the United States cut ties yesterday with a Canadian diocese that recently authorized a blessing ceremony for a same-sex couple.

The move has implications for a looming showdown in the Episcopal Church, which will vote in two weeks on whether to approve same-sex blessings and ratify the election of the church’s first openly homosexual bishop, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Many in the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. member, fear the votes at the Episcopal General Convention could split the church. In 1998, the Anglican Communion approved a resolution calling homosexual acts “incompatible with Scripture.”

Driver in 10 deaths eyed in earlier accident

LOS ANGELES — The elderly driver who plowed through a farmers market killing 10 persons and injuring dozens more might have been fleeing the scene of another collision at the time, police said yesterday.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that Russell Weller, 86, hit a Mercedes-Benz after leaving a post office, then sped less than a block west toward the street market, California Highway Patrol spokesman Tom Marshall said. Details about the Mercedes crash were not immediately available.

“We’re trying to do two things: determine first of all that he hit the Mercedes, and two, what his motivation was for leaving if he did hit it,” Mr. Marshall said. “He could have been confused. He could have been scared and tried to get away. We just don’t know at this point.”

Men attack driver who hit 3-year-old

CHICAGO — A group of men hit and kicked a driver as he ran to help a 3-year-old boy he had just struck with his van on Chicago’s South Side.

The driver, James Moore, 50, was treated at a hospital after Thursday’s accident. He was cited for striking a pedestrian in the roadway and refused to press charges against his attackers, police said.

The boy, Narvell Johnson, was hospitalized yesterday in critical condition.

Witnesses said three or four men attacked Mr. Moore after he ran from his van to assist the boy. Bystanders pulled the men off Mr. Moore.

From staff reports and wires service dispatches

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