- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2006


New attorney general won’t keep special prosecutor

TOPEKA — Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline spent more than two years investigating a nationally known abortion provider, but he likely will leave office next month with little to show for it.

A judge on Wednesday refused to reinstate the 30 criminal charges Mr. Kline filed against Dr. George Tiller, and Mr. Kline’s successor said yesterday that he won’t keep the special prosecutor Mr. Kline appointed to the case.

Paul Morrison, a Democrat who takes office as attorney general on Jan. 8 after defeating Mr. Kline in the November election, did not rule out an investigation into Dr. Tiller.


Friends identify climber’s body

SEATTLE — A snow-covered body found on a remote mountain in China has been identified as U.S. photographer Charlie Fowler, who disappeared several weeks ago during a climbing trip with the owner of a Seattle-based adventure company, friends said yesterday.

Helen Chung, a spokeswoman for adventure company Mountain Madness, said the body found Wednesday was Mr. Fowler’s but she had no further information.

The company’s owner, Christine Boskoff, a top female climber, was still missing and feared dead.

The two climbers were reported missing when they failed to return to the United States on Dec. 4. The search initially was hampered because they didn’t leave details of the route they planned to climb.


Deputy says he was harassed

LOS ANGELES — The sheriff’s deputy who arrested Mel Gibson for drunken driving six months ago says his superiors have harassed him ever since a report detailing the star’s anti-Semitic tirade was leaked to a celebrity news Web site.

Deputy James Mee was transferred to another assignment, interrogated for several hours, and investigators seized a computer and phone records during a search of his home, his attorney told the Los Angeles Times for yesterday’s editions.

“His life and career would be a lot different had he not made that arrest,” attorney Richard Shinee said.

Neal Tyler, a division chief who oversees the sheriff’s office where Mr. Gibson was booked, denied that Deputy Mee was singled out and said he didn’t know of any problems with his treatment.


Diocese appeals document release

WATERBURY — The Diocese of Bridgeport is appealing to block the release of thousands of documents involving accusations of sexual abuse by as many as 23 priests.

The files are from lawsuits settled in 2001. The state’s highest court backed unsealing the documents four years ago, but continuing legal challenges have kept them secret.


Government sorry for strip search

TAMPA — The Homeland Security Department sent a letter apologizing to a Muslim woman who was detained at the Tampa airport and strip searched at a county jail.

Safana Jawad, 45, a Spanish citizen who was born in Iraq, was detained April 11 because of a suspected tie to a suspicious person, authorities said. She was held for two days before being deported to England.

Miss Jawad filed a complaint, and the agency apologized in a letter dated Dec. 8.

“On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, I offer you my sincere apology for having to undergo a strip search,” wrote Timothy J. Keefer, acting chief counsel for the department’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The agency declined to release the name of the suspicious person in the case.


Guide aids transition of newcomers

REXBURG — Madison County is putting out a booklet to help new arrivals make the transition to rural life.

County commissioners say the book will help smooth the adjustment for urbanites who aren’t used to unpaved roads, areas without cell-phone service and farmers baling throughout the night at harvest time.


Convicted ex-governor files lawsuit

CHICAGO — Convicted former Gov. George Ryan is suing to keep at least part of his $197,000 state pension, the third of it that he says he earned before the scandals that now have him facing 61/2 years in prison.

Ryan was found guilty in April of mail fraud, money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice and bribery while he was secretary of state and governor between 1991 and 2003.

After his conviction, the General Assembly Retirement System board voted to strip him of his entire annual pension.

Ryan’s attorneys argue in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that the Republican former governor should still get $65,000 in annual pension payments that he earned in the 24 years before 1991, when Ryan was a county board member, legislator and lieutenant governor.


Hospital to stop delivery services

BLOOMINGTON — Monroe Hospital, which opened this fall, will end labor and delivery services Monday. About seven babies have been born there since October, which isn’t enough to keep offering the service, said Dean Melton, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer. Monroe Hospital, which has 32 private rooms, competes against Bloomington Hospital, which has about 320 beds.


7 officers indicted in post-Katrina deaths

NEW ORLEANS — Seven police officers were indicted yesterday on murder or attempted murder charges in a pair of shootings on a bridge that left two persons dead during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The shootings took place under murky circumstances six days after the storm. Two young men were killed and four persons wounded on the Danziger Bridge, which spans the Industrial Canal.

Police initially said the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings occurred after shots were fired at Army Corps of Engineers workers.

According to a police report, several officers responded to a radio call that two fellow officers had been hurt. When they arrived, seven persons were seen running, and four began firing at police, the report said. The officers returned fire.

The victims were Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man, and James Barsett, 19. The coroner said Mr. Madison was shot seven times, with five wounds in the back.


Prison population continues to grow

RALEIGH — Existing plans to add beds to North Carolina prisons may not be enough to accommodate the growing prison population.

When the state completes an expansion in 2008, prisons will have 400 too many inmates. By 2016, there will be 6,400 more inmates than beds if the issue isn’t addressed, according to the state’s latest estimates.


Morning fire kills five

CANTON — Fire swept through a house early yesterday, killing three adults and two children, authorities said.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

The victims’ names and their relationship were not immediately released, but Fire Chief John Whitlatch said the children were thought to be 11 and 13.


University panel to discuss statues

AUSTIN — The new president of the University of Texas says he will appoint a panel to decide what to do with four bronze statues on the Austin campus that honor Confederate leaders and have drawn complaints for several years.

William Powers Jr., who took over as president this month, said the advisory committee would look into concerns about the statues, which include likenesses of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States, and Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“A lot of students, and especially minority students, have raised concerns. And those are understandable and legitimate concerns. On the other hand, the statues have been here for a long time, and that’s something we have to take into account as well,” Mr. Powers said in Wednesday’s Austin American-Statesman.


Thieves target liquor stores

MADISON — Thieves in the Madison area have been entering liquor stores through roofs or ceiling vents, then raiding safes.

At least four stores and one restaurant have been targeted in that manner in the past week, police said.

Manager Brian Frain of Neil’s Liquor in Madison said an alarm alerted him that the contents of his safe were missing Wednesday morning.

“They didn’t cut any holes in the roof, but they pried a cover off the furnace on the roof and dropped through an air duct,” Mr. Frain said.

Thieves broke into stores in Fitchburg, Sun Prairie and Madison three nights in a row, said Fitchburg Police Lt. Chad Brecklin, who is coordinating investigations with the other police departments. One store manager speculated the burglars were looking for extra cash from holiday sales.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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