- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 27, 2008

State court nixes city’s gun laws

HARRISBURG, Pa. | Philadelphia officials cannot restrict guns beyond what Pennsylvania’s laws do, a state appeals court ruled Friday in throwing out city ordinances that included limiting gun purchases to one a month and banning assault weapons.

Commonwealth Court dismissed a lawsuit against the Legislature filed by two members of Philadelphia’s City Council: Darrell L. Clarke and Donna Reed Miller.

The court cited language in several gun ordinances the council passed last year that stated the measures cannot take effect unless the Legislature were to let municipalities enact stricter laws. That has not happened.

“While we understand the terrible problems gun violence poses for the city … these practical considerations do not alter the clear pre-emption imposed by the Legislature,” President Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter wrote in the court’s ruling.

Judge Leadbetter noted that the state Supreme Court previously upheld the state’s exclusive right to enact gun laws in a 1996 ruling that overturned Philadelphia’s effort to ban assault weapons. A 1974 state law says that only the General Assembly can regulate guns.

DJ out of hospital after Learjet crash

COLUMBIA, S.C. | Celebrity disc jockey DJ AM has been released from a Georgia hospital after suffering severe burns in a fiery plane crash a week ago, a spokeswoman for the musician said Friday.

“While he is deeply saddened by the events he is thankful for all of the love and support he has been receiving from fans and friends,” spokeswoman Jenni Weinman said.

DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, and former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, were rushed to a burn hospital in Augusta, Ga., after their Learjet crashed on takeoff from a Columbia airport. Doctors have said they expect both men to fully recover.

Two pilots and two other passengers who were close friends of the musicians were killed in the crash just before midnight Sept. 19.

Alamo agrees to extradition

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. | Evangelist and convicted tax evader Tony Alamo has waived his right to fight extradition to Arkansas after his arrest on charges that he took minors across state lines for sexual purposes.

Mr. Alamo appeared briefly Friday in U.S. District Court in Flagstaff. U.S. marshals will move him as soon as possible, although it isn’t known exactly when.

The one-time rock promoter and street preacher was arrested by the FBI while leaving a Flagstaff hotel Thursday on charges of violating the Mann Act, usually used in interstate prostitution cases. Federal prosecutors sought Mr. Alamo’s arrest after interviewing six girls taken into state custody during a raid of his southwestern Arkansas compound last week.

Court documents in the case were sealed.

Court trims charges in Japanese slaying

TORRANCE, Calif. | A Japanese businessman cannot be tried for murder in the 1981 shooting death of his wife, but prosecutors may proceed with a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, a judge ruled Friday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Van Sicklen ruled on motions concerning Kazuyoshi Miura, who is under arrest in the U.S. territory of Saipan. Mr. Miura is accused of plotting to have his wife slain during a visit the couple made to Los Angeles in 1981. They were shot by someone in a car as they stood taking photos by a downtown parking lot.

The judge ruled against the murder element of the case on grounds of double jeopardy. Mr. Miura had been tried in Japan and convicted of murder, but that verdict was ultimately overturned.

“Although the murder charge is barred by double jeopardy, the state may proceed on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder because there is no evidence that Miura was previously acquitted or convicted of the same offense in Japan,” Judge Van Sicklen said in his ruling.

Mr. Miura could face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy.

‘What’s in a name’ for Ark. governors

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. | Arkansas’ governor needs a name tag.

Mike Beebe has been in office nearly two years, but that hasn’t stopped officials in his state from confusing him with his similarly named predecessor, Mike Huckabee. Even the chief of the state’s medical school and a state agency director get tongue-tied over the names.

“To my right is Gov. Mike Huckabee,” University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson said Friday at a ceremony introducing Beebe. He quickly corrected himself as the audience howled.

“I got half of it right,” Mr. Wilson said, though he made the same flub minutes later.

Physically, the two Mikes don’t share a common appearance. Democrat Mr. Beebe’s silver-gray hair is lighter than the Republican’s dark brown. Mr. Huckabee, who served as the state’s governor for 10½ years and made a strong run at the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, also gained fame by losing more than 100 pounds and becoming an avid fitness advocate.

“If Governor Huckabee were here, he and I would both agree that most of the similarity stops with the name,” Mr. Beebe said. “I mean, if I lost 100 pounds, you wouldn’t even see me.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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