- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Mexicans rescued from desert heat

TUCSON — U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued 28 persons from exposure and dehydration over the weekend after they traveled more than 70 miles in the desert, became lost and began feeling the effects of both temperature and monsoon humidity.

The agents, including members of the agency’s Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (Borstar) team, began the search after a member of the group placed a 911 call on his cell phone, Border Patrol officials said yesterday.

The search was conducted by Borstar agents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopters and Casa Grande Border Patrol agents.

One member of the group, a Mexican man, was left behind and needed medical attention. Agents located and rescued the man, and he was treated for dehydration.

All were determined to be citizens of Mexico and were later deemed fit for travel before being returned to Mexico.


Settlement approved for clergy accusers

LOS ANGELES — A judge yesterday approved a $660 million settlement between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more than 500 reported victims of clergy abuse, the largest payout yet in a nationwide sex abuse scandal.

Some of the plaintiffs sobbed as the deal was formally approved and a moment of silence was held for others who had died during the years of negotiations.

“This is the right result,” said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz. “Settling the cases was the right thing to do, and it was done by dint of a number of extremely talented and dedicated people putting in an awful lot of time.”

The deal was reached after more than five years of negotiations and is by far the largest payout by any diocese since the clergy abuse scandal emerged in Boston in 2002. The individual payouts will vary according to the severity and duration of the purported abuse. The plaintiffs’ attorneys are expected to receive up to 40 percent of the settlement.

Ray Boucher, the lead plaintiffs’ attorney, asked his clients to stand during the hearing and thanked them for their resolve and their courage.


Armed man shot near governor’s office

DENVER — A man carrying a gun and declaring, “I am the emperor,” was fatally shot yesterday outside the offices of Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. by a member of the governor’s security detail, a spokesman said. Mr. Ritter, a Democrat, was not injured.

The unidentified man refused orders to drop his gun, spokesman Evan Dreyer said. Four or five shots were heard, but authorities would not say how many times the security officer fired.

The shooting occurred in a hall outside the governor’s offices on the first floor of the Capitol. It was not clear where the governor was at the time.

Before he was shot, the gunman said, “I am the emperor and I’m here to take over state government,” Mr. Dreyer said.

The Capitol has no metal detectors. They are usually installed temporarily during the governor’s annual State of the State address in January but then are removed.


Worker pleads guilty in factory shootings

INDIANAPOLIS — A man with a history of mental illness pleaded guilty yesterday to wounding four co-workers in a shooting at a factory that employs people with physical, mental and learning disabilities.

Jason Burnam, 24, testified in Marion Superior Court that he targeted the workers on Jan. 11 at Easter Seals Crossroads Industrial Services and aimed for their legs. All four persons survived.

“I waited for them to show up, and then I started shooting,” Burnam testified.

Employees Jermaine Ealy, Anita Frazier and Howard Mallory were shot in a break room. The gunman then walked through the warehouse to an office and shot Cammie Duncan, Burnam’s former supervisor.

Burnam, who had no criminal history, pleaded guilty to four counts of felony aggravated battery. The terms of the plea agreement set a maximum of 60 years in prison. Judge Carol Orbison will formally sentence him Aug. 2.

Burnam’s mother, Judy Burnam, said after the shootings that her son had complained that some co-workers teased him about his size; he weighs more than 300 pounds. She also said he suffers from bipolar disorder and was diagnosed with schizophrenia but he was taking medication and seeing a counselor.


Court rejects asylum argument

NEW YORK — The husbands of women forced to abort a pregnancy or undergo involuntary sterilization, or else face persecution under China’s coercive population-control program, do not automatically qualify for asylum, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that U.S. law does not automatically grant asylum to spouses or partners in cases in which the women were persecuted under China’s family-planning policy, which limits most urban couples to one child and families in some rural areas to two.

The ruling conflicts with a dozen other federal appeals courts, as well as the findings of the Board of Immigration Appeals and 10 years of decisions in immigration cases, said Judge Guido Calabresi, who partially dissented. The ruling is unusual because all 12 judges joined the opinion.

The court said the board, which decides whether to accept immigration judges’ conclusions, was too permissive and that spouses do not necessarily qualify for asylum.

The majority opinion, written by Judge Barrington Parker, said spouses would have to prove their own resistance to a coercive population-control program or demonstrate a well-founded fear that he or she will be subjected to persecution for resisting the policy.


Night court to air on Internet site


Nashville’s night court, a place to see some of the city’s most famous characters at their worst, is expected to go online.

Davidson County officials are planning an Internet site that will show live video of proceedings in night court as defendants are booked into the city jail. Faces of undercover police officers will not be broadcast, and defendants whose identities need to be protected for lineups will have their faces covered.

Night court commissioners are responsible for reviewing criminal charges and setting bond amounts within hours of a suspect’s arrest.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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