- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2009


Superior Court puts case records online

The D.C. Superior Court put its case filings online Thursday.

Court officials said that court records are now available through its Remote Access to Court Dockets system at www.dccourts.gov/pa. Records include those of civil, criminal, domestic violence, tax and estate probate cases.

The public can search for cases using names or a case number. Besides providing a schedule and summary for the case, the system lists the docket - or timeline of hearings and other happenings for a case.

The online records are generally updated hourly, officials said.

The aim is to enhance access to the courts, Chief Judge Lee Satterfield said.

Area federal courts and Maryland’s circuit and district courts already have similar online records in place.



Governor signs bill to postpone raises

Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, has signed an emergency bill to postpone pay raises for Maryland judges.

Without the legislation, the pay raises recommended by the state’s Judicial Compensation Commission would have taken effect automatically.

Late last year, the commission recommended increasing the salaries of all Maryland judges by nearly $40,000 over a four-year period.

The commission will meet again in September and every four years after that.


Accused professor allowed into library

A French professor at Goucher College who was barred from campus after officials learned of his genocide indictment in Rwanda will be allowed to use the school’s library.

School President Sanford Ungar made the decision after receiving a petition signed by members of the campus community seeking to let Leopold Munyakazi use the library, a college spokeswoman said Thursday.

Mr. Munyakazi denies accusations that he participated in genocide in his home country of Rwanda during mass killings there in 1994.

Sophomore peace studies major Lizzie Chadbourne helped organize the petition and said 400 people signed it. Many students felt Mr. Munyakazi should be allowed access to the library because he is a scholar, even if he no longer teaches on campus, she said.


Boy’s killer/rapist dies in prison

A man convicted of murdering a Frederick boy more than eight years ago has died in prison.

Elmer Spencer Jr., 53, died early Wednesday of natural causes at the Western Correctional Institution near Cumberland, Maryland Division of Correction spokesman Mark Vernarelli said.

Spencer was convicted in 2002 of murdering and sexually assaulting Christopher Ausherman, 9, in the dugout of an empty baseball field in November of 2000.

Despite a history of sex crimes, the mentally retarded suspect had been released from prison less than a week before the murder after serving about 3 1/2 years of a 10-year sentence.

In 2002, the Maryland General Assembly passed two bills dubbed “Christopher’s Law” featuring penalties of up to life without parole for certain repeat sex offenders.


Teens assaulted near public library

Two teenage girls have been sexually assaulted on a path behind Oxon Hill’s public library, Prince George’s County police said.

The girls, ages 15 and 17, were walking along a wooded path in the 6200 block of Oxon Hill Road about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday when they were confronted by a masked man with a gun, police said. The man forced them deeper into the woods and assaulted them.

After the attack, the man ordered the girls to flee, police said. The girls ran to the library and called police.


Man, 61, killed by tree he cut down

A Lonaconing man died after he was struck by a tree that he was cutting down, Allegany County Bureau of Police officials said.

A passer-by discovered the accident Wednesday and called 911.

Gary Lee Durst, 61, was taken to Memorial Hospital, where he died, police said.

Mr. Durst had offered to remove the tree for a neighbor and was working alone when the tree fell on top of him, police said.



Mims to fill in as attorney general

Bill Mims was confirmed by the General Assembly on Thursday as interim attorney general.

The unanimous House and Senate votes clear the way for Mr. Mims to be sworn in Friday as the state’s top law enforcement officer through 2009.

The Republican, who served three terms in the House and two state Senate terms from Loudoun, will serve out Bob McDonnell’s term.

Mr. Mims, 51, Mr. McDonnell’s chief deputy for three years, is not running for attorney general this fall.

Mr. McDonnell resigned last week to run and raise money full time for his gubernatorial bid.

Mr. McDonnell was elected attorney general in 2005 by 323 votes out of 2 million cast. He is unopposed for the Republican nomination for governor.


Accused sheriff stepping down

A rural Virginia sheriff is stepping down while his attorney seeks to delay his trial on nearly two dozen federal charges that include racketeering and conspiracy.

Page County Sheriff Daniel W. Presgraves said in a letter to county supervisors Tuesday that he will resign, effective Saturday.

Sheriff Presgraves’ attorney, David G. Barger, filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Wednesday seeking a continuance in the trial that is scheduled to begin March 23.

The sheriff, 46, is charged with taking bribes in exchange for a promise not to interfere with a cockfighting ring. The 22-count indictment also charges he sexually assaulted and harassed female employees.

Mr. Barger said he needed additional time to prepare for what is expected to be a lengthy trial, with the prosecution expected to call about 100 witnesses.


Nelson coach quits, faces sex charge

A man who coached track and cross country at Nelson County High School faces a charge of using a computer to solicit a student for sex.

Richard Noles, 22, was arrested Tuesday, a day after he resigned from the job he held since August. The Charlottesville resident was charged with felony computer solicitation of a juvenile and released on $2,500 bond.

The investigation started after the victim’s father complained about Mr. Noles to authorities, according to the Nelson County sheriff’s office. A warrant said the offense occurred Feb. 19.

Mr. Noles is scheduled to appear in court March 12.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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