- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006



Lawyer seeks damages for political ‘robo calls’

A Harford County lawyer is seeking $8,000 in damages from state candidates and a nonprofit group because of recorded campaign messages, so-called “robo calls.”

Michael C. Worsham filed the suit Monday in Harford County Circuit Court against Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who lost his bid for re-election, and his running mate, Disabilities Secretary Kristen Cox; two Harford County office-seekers; and a nonprofit group, Common Sense Ohio, which made calls on behalf of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who lost his U.S. Senate bid in Tuesday’s elections.

Mr. Worsham said he hopes that his lawsuit will make such calls subject to the do-not-call list. He said the calls violate federal and state communications rules.

“Preferably, I’d like to see these types of calls banned, so people who don’t want to get them can stop them in advance,” Mr. Worsham said.

Nationally, candidates spent millions on political phone calls this year, igniting a few complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Frustrated voters said the calls are harassing and have argued that they violate federal rules requiring that automated calls to be identified.

The FCC’s rules on prerecorded calls require that they “at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call,” as well as provide the number of the caller during or after the message.

According to Mr. Worsham’s suit, several calls placed to his home from Oct. 25 to Nov. 4 did not give the name or number of the callers.

He noted that Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, signed into law the Maryland Telephone Consumer Protection Act in 2004.

In congressional races across the country, Common Sense had automated calls placed on behalf of Republican candidates, asking a series of “yes” or “no” questions about different issues.

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat, demanded that Mr. Steele, a Republican, stop calls made by the group that equated Mr. Cardin’s support for embryonic-stem-cell research to “medical experiments on unborn babies.”


Trial in guard’s slaying set in Howard County

The death-penalty trial of a state prison inmate charged with killing a corrections officer with the officer’s gun has been set for June 4 in Ellicott City.

The date was set during a scheduling conference Wednesday in Howard County Circuit Court, according to court records.

Brandon T. Morris, 20, faces charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, carjacking and other offenses stemming from the slaying of Officer Jeffery A. Wroten at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown and the abduction of a cabdriver.

Officer Wroten, 44, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was guarding Morris’ hospital room when he was shot in the head early in the morning of Jan. 26.

Morris was serving an eight-year sentence at the nearby Roxbury Correctional Institution for assault, robbery and handgun convictions in Baltimore. He had been admitted to the hospital the previous day for observation after having a sewing needle removed from his right side. Prosecutors contend the wound was self-inflicted.

After the shooting, Morris briefly took a visitor hostage and then forced a cabdriver at gunpoint to drive on as police chased them into Pennsylvania and back before the driver crashed the car into a concrete barrier six miles north of Hagerstown.


MS-13 member given life sentence

A member of the street gang MS-13 was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for a 2005 slaying in Rockville.

Luis Miranda, 20, of Wheaton, was given the maximum sentence by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge.

Miranda pleaded guilty in July to first-degree murder and a gun charge in the Nov. 6, 2005, killing of Edison Moran, who was found shot in the head in his car at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Twinbrook Parkway. Mr. Moran had had an argument with Miranda and other MS-13 members at a restaurant.

Miranda also pleaded guilty yesterday to a count of reckless endangerment for shooting another man the day before while playing with a revolver.


Man charged with fraud using employers’ checks

A Silver Spring man has been charged with scheming to defraud banks of more than $150,000 by using his employers’ checks, police said.

Rahiem Jackson, 33, used the money to buy a $54,000 Lexus and pay his aunt’s medical bills.

Court documents show Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents arrested Mr. Jackson, who has worked at four companies, including Morgan State University, in the past three years.

He is charged with defrauding the Rosen Group of about $130,000, including several checks he wrote to himself as commission payments and for the Lexus.



City rejects horse rides on beach, boardwalk

City officials have rejected a proposal to offer horse rides on the Oceanfront.

The proposal would have allowed horse rides on the sand and carriage rides on the boardwalk from November to April, when beachgoers are scarce.

The city’s hotel and restaurant associations backed the plan, and there was a six-week trial in the spring.

But this week, members of the Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spoke in opposition, as did residents concerned about the safety of both horses and humans.


City names street for football great

A Charlottesville man who went on to become a football Hall of Famer with the New York Giants has been honored in his hometown with his own street.

Roosevelt “Rosie” Brown was an offensive tackle for the New York Giants from 1953 to 1965, starting for all 13 seasons before being sidelined by hip and knee injuries. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975.

“I saw him play, and I idolized him as a player,” said Ernie Accorsi, the Giants’ general manager. “But to those of us who worked with him, he was a friend, a scout and a coach.”

The ceremony to rename the street recognized “a member of the African-American community, which doesn’t always get recognized,” Mayor David Brown said before giving Brown’s widow, Linda, a key to the city.

Brown died at 71 after collapsing in his garden in 2004.

His blocking prowess is widely credited with pushing the New York Giants to six NFL championship games from 1956 to 1963, though the Giants won only in ‘56.

In 1958, Brown played in the legendary National Football League championship against the Baltimore Colts and quarterback Johnny Unitas.

Brown was chosen for the NFL’s 75th anniversary team in 2000.


Grad wants cross returned to chapel

A College of William & Mary graduate has started an Internet petition to bring back the gold cross that was removed recently from the school’s Wren Chapel.

Vince Haley has enlisted some students to help build support for returning the cross, which was removed last month to make the chapel more welcoming to people of all faiths.

The Student Assembly Senate, however, this week defeated a proposal to request that the cross remain on display unless those using the chapel request its removal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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