Killer loses bid to become lawyer
PHOENIX — A convicted murderer who graduated from law school after getting out of prison was denied admission to the bar yesterday by the Arizona Supreme Court because of a lack of “good moral character.”
James Hamm, who served 17 years for his part in a drug-related robbery that left two men dead, had asked the court to allow him to practice law even though the state bar association had recommended against his application, citing the seriousness of the crime and his failure to own up to his past.
Grandma wins fight on showing ID
DENVER — Federal prosecutors have dropped charges against a Colorado grandmother who refused to show her identification to officers at a bus stop outside a federal office building.
Deborah Davis of Arvada was handcuffed and received two citations last month after she refused to produce identification for two Federal Protective Service officers who boarded her bus at its regular stop at the Federal Center in Denver.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has chosen not to file charges in this matter based on a technicality regarding signage,” said spokesman Jeff Dorschner.
Bill Scannell, a spokesman for Mrs. Davis, said her supporters would still push for a rule change that would exempt passengers at the stop from producing identification.
“Deborah Davis is special, but we don’t want a special exemption just for her,” he said.
Anarchist professor agrees to leave Yale
NEW HAVEN — A professor who also is an outspoken anarchist has agreed to leave Yale University next spring, dropping an appeal over whether his termination was politically motivated.
David Graeber, one of the world’s leading social anthropologists, said he will teach two classes next semester, then take a yearlong paid sabbatical, after which he will not return.
When Yale’s anthropology department recently told Mr. Graeber not to return next year, scholars worldwide wrote letters of support, some suggesting Yale was letting politics influence its hiring.
Chicago bans public smoking
CHICAGO — The City Council approved a ban on smoking in nearly all public places yesterday but gave a two-year grace period to taverns and to bars inside restaurants.
The measure was approved 45-1 after months of debate and aggressive lobbying on both sides of the issue by groups such as the American Cancer Society and the Illinois Restaurant Association.
The ordinance was a compromise between health advocates who wanted an immediate, all-out ban and businesses that wanted a less stringent measure. The ban takes effect Jan. 16.
Religion professor quits chairmanship
TOPEKA — A University of Kansas professor who drew criticism for e-mail he wrote deriding Christians resigned yesterday as chairman of the Department of Religious Studies.
Paul Mirecki stepped aside on the recommendation of his colleagues, according to Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“This allows the department to focus on what’s most important — teaching, research and service — and to minimize the distractions of the last couple of weeks,” she said in a statement after receiving the resignation.
Mr. Mirecki declined to comment beyond saying he remained a faculty member.
A recent e-mail message from Mr. Mirecki to members of a student organization referred to religious conservatives as “fundies” and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a “nice slap in their big fat face.” The course was then cancelled.
Later, other Mirecki e-mail messages were called “repugnant and vile” by Chancellor Robert Hemenway for their views toward Catholics and other Christians.
Four men jailed for manuscript thefts
LEXINGTON — A scheme to steal rare manuscripts and sketches from a university library — including texts by Charles Darwin — has brought four men a seven-year prison sentence.
U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman sentenced the men Tuesday to 87 months in prison for thefts from the Transylvania University library. It was the minimum allowed by federal guidelines, and at least one of the men’s lawyers planned an appeal.
Among the items stolen were a first edition of Charles Darwin’s classic “On the Origin of Species” and sketches by naturalist John James Audubon.
Mother accused in death of infant
BOGALUSA — A mother was booked on a charge of first-degree murder for reportedly placing her 3-month-old son in a clothes dryer and turning it on.
The infant had third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body and suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, the St. Tammany Parish coroner said.
Police Sgt. Darryl Darden said Lakeisha Adams, 18, called police to her home on Monday to report that someone had killed her child.
Mr. Darden said the mother admitted during questioning to putting the infant in the dryer and turning it on.
Gay ‘marriage’ foes deliver signatures
BOSTON — Supporters of a 2008 amendment to eliminate same-sex “marriage” yesterday delivered petitions with more than 170,000 signatures — including 147,000 certified ones — to the secretary of state.
Only 65,825 certified signatures are needed to advance the measure to the legislature, which must approve it twice. If approved, it would go to voters in 2008.
“[T]he people of Massachusetts have not only spoken, they have shouted. And what are they shouting? ‘Let the people vote,’” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, an organizing group for the amendment.
Same-sex “marriage” has been in effect in Massachusetts since 2004 and a homosexual-rights legal firm has pledged to defeat the measure in court.
Senate approves concealed gun bill
MADISON — Wisconsin residents could secretly carry guns under a bill the state Senate approved Tuesday that would end the state’s 133-year-old ban on concealed weapons.
The Senate voted 23-10. The measure would allow Wisconsin residents who pass firearms training and obtain permits to carry concealed handguns, knives, billy clubs and electric-shock weapons in most public places.
Even if the Republican-controlled state Assembly approves the bill, Gov. James E. Doyle, a Democrat, has promised to veto it.
From wire dispatches and staff reports