- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2009

ALABAMA

Judge OKs sheriff’s release

BIRMINGHAM | A federal judge has ordered the release of an Alabama sheriff whom he locked up after ruling that the sheriff purposely fed jail inmates skimpy meals so that he could profit from state funds.

U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon issued a brief order Thursday saying Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett could be freed based on promises from his lawyer, who presented the court with a plan for improving the jailhouse meals.

Judge Clemon ordered his arrest late Wednesday after a hearing in which Sheriff Bartlett said he made $212,000 over three years by cheaply feeding prisoners, some of whom complained of constant hunger in jail.

Sheriff Bartlett kept the money legally under a Depression-era state law and said he reported the profit on his tax forms as income.

CALIFORNIA

Dismissal requested in MySpace case

LOS ANGELES | An attorney for a woman convicted in a MySpace hoax directed at a teen who ended up committing suicide asked a judge to dismiss her convictions Thursday, saying a computer-fraud law was improperly used to prosecute her.

U.S. District Court Judge George Wu did not immediately rule after oral arguments and will likely issue a written decision, although he didn’t indicate when. He did set an April 30 sentencing date for Lori Drew, who was not present.

Drew was found guilty in November of three misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization. Prosecutors said the Missouri woman violated MySpace service rules by helping create a fictitious teen boy on the social-networking site and sent flirtatious messages from him to 13-year-old neighbor Megan Meier, a former friend of Drew’s daughter.

FLORIDA

Civil rights-era lawyer dies

DESTIN | A civil rights-era lawyer from Alabama who represented Julian Bond and Muhammad Ali and argued for the “one man, one vote” principle has died. He was 78.

Family members said Charles Morgan Jr. died Thursday at his home in Destin, Fla., of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

The Birmingham native fought that city’s segregationist leaders in the early 1960s. He later was a prominent attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union at its offices in Atlanta and Washington.

In an Alabama reapportionment case known as Reynolds vs. Sims, he won a 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that required voting districts to be equal in population. The case was one of a handful that made the “one man, one vote” principle part of federal law.

GEORGIA

Salmonella found in three more states

ATLANTA| Georgia, Ohio and Minnesota are among the states that are part of a national salmonella outbreak that has sent at least a dozen people to the hospital and sickened nearly 400 people, officials said Thursday.

Forty-two states have reported illnesses from the same type of salmonella bacteria, totaling at least 388 cases nationwide, federal health officials said this week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is leading the investigation but has not yet released the list of states or determined which foods were may have caused people to become sick.

But Georgia health officials said Thursday that they’ve identified cases in five people who became ill from mid-October to mid-December. No one died, but at least one person was hospitalized.

In Ohio, 51 people in 20 counties had the same type of salmonella, which happened about the same time as the Georgia cases, health officials said. At least a dozen were hospitalized.

ILLINOIS

Threat against congressman probed

CHICAGO | Police are investigating a threatening letter containing suspicious material that was sent to the office of U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, but the material turned out to be harmless.

Chicago authorities said Mr. Rush’s staff called just before noon Thursday. By 12:30 p.m., a hazardous materials team had detected nothing harmful.

Police and fire officials said they have no information about the substance or the contents of the letter.

Mr. Rush, a Democrat, represents a congressional district on the South Side of Chicago. He has forcefully called for the Senate to seat Roland Burris, the man Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich appointed to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s seat.

NEVADA

Ex-O.J. Simpson co-defendant jailed

LAS VEGAS | A former O.J. Simpson co-defendant who was given probation after testifying against Simpson is in jail in Las Vegas.

Charles Cashmore’s lawyer said his client failed a probation drug test and was taken into custody on New Year’s Eve pending a hearing that could send him to state prison.

Attorney Edward Miley said probation agents detected methamphetamine in Cashmore’s system.

Cashmore, 41, now faces serving the one- to three-year suspended sentence that Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass imposed on him Dec. 9.

Cashmore earlier pleaded guilty to felony accessory to robbery and testified against Simpson at his robbery-kidnapping trial.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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