- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Law requiring Confederate street names questioned

McLEAN, Va. (AP) - Alexandria, a Northern Virginia city steeped in Civil War history, is considering repeal of an old law requiring certain new streets to be named for Confederate generals.

City Councilman Justin Wilson introduced legislation for Tuesday night’s council meeting to do away with a 1963 law requiring that any new “streets running in a generally north-south direction shall, insofar as possible, bear the names of confederate military leaders.”

Wilson’s bill also would eliminate a requirement that new east-west streets be named for persons or places prominent in American history.

Wilson said he wants to remove a series of anachronistic laws, and his proposal also would repeal a ban on “lewd cohabitation” and laws regulating a bygone fad of “rebound tumbling,” a form of trampolining.

As a practical matter, there is little likelihood that the city will be naming new streets any time soon. The city, inside Washington’s Capital Beltway and separated from the nation’s capital by the Potomac River, is essentially built out. In fact, the street grid of the city’s Old Town section dates to Colonial times.

Wilson said that symbolically, he believes it’s a good thing to strip from the code a provision that in some ways glorifies the Confederacy. But he made clear he is not proposing that the city change existing street names, some of which honor Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, whose Dred Scott decision denied citizenship and constitutional protections to blacks before the Civil War.


Naval Academy sexual assault case: Footage sought

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawyers for CBS and CNN told a military judge on Tuesday that they shouldn’t have to turn over unaired portions of interviews the networks conducted with a woman at the center of a sexual assault case that involved three U.S. Naval Academy football players.

Attorneys for the one former player currently facing charges in the case want the footage, arguing it is relevant to preparation for his trial, which is scheduled for March. But lawyers for the two networks argued in court briefs and at Tuesday’s hearing at the Washington Navy Yard that the footage is irrelevant and duplicates already available material.

In addition, lawyers for both networks argued that as journalists their clients shouldn’t have to turn over material gathered in the course of reporting.

That so-called reporter’s privilege is derived from the First Amendment. But the lawyers acknowledged the judge is bound by a 2009 Navy appeals court ruling where the court refused to recognize a reporter’s privilege. That case involved unaired portions of a “60 Minutes” interview. Lawyers for CBS and CNN said they believed that case was wrongly decided.

The military judge overseeing the case, Col. Daniel Daugherty, did not immediately rule at the conclusion of Tuesday’s arguments. But he seemed inclined to let defense attorneys have at least some of the footage, which he has reviewed. The judge said he would notify the networks’ lawyers of his decision and give them three days to appeal before any material is turned over.

The argument comes in a case in which prosecutors initially accused three Naval Academy students of sexually assaulting a female student in 2012 at an off-campus house in Annapolis, Md., where the school is located. The woman said she didn’t remember being sexually assaulted after a night of heavy drinking but heard from others she had had sex with multiple partners at a party. The men were all football players at the academy at the time.


Luke Bryan making the jump to stadiums on tour

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Three years ago, Luke Bryan was a promising down-bill opening act. This summer he’ll join the touring elite with three stadium dates planned as part of his That’s My Kinda Night Tour.

The country music star during a Tuesday morning news conference announced the stadium shows in Pittsburgh in June and Philadelphia and Chicago in August. Bryan said he’s stepping everything up as he heads into just his second headlining tour of about 80 dates.

“My main thing is more lights, more speakers, more video, more camera guys, more things to make it a very special, interactive experience with the fans,” Bryan said.

Bryan has invited Dierks Bentley to join him as a special guest for two of the stadium dates. Lee Brice and Cole Swindell will be openers on the full tour.

Very few acts have the power to sell out stadiums - usually older rock ‘n’ roll acts who’ve built their touring fan base up over decades. Bryan is joining a growing number of country acts with sales large enough to fill stadiums in the right markets. Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw wrapped a successful stadium tour two summers ago and Chesney usually hits a few each year.

Taylor Swift has been selling out stadiums around the world recently. And Bryan’s good friend, Jason Aldean, played his first stadiums last year - with Bryan serving as his opening act at Sanford Stadium at the University of Georgia - and just announced a tour of Major League Baseball parks.


Judge rules judicial evaluation commission invalid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Nashville judge ruled on Tuesday that the panel that evaluates Tennessee’s appellate judges is invalid because it does not have enough female members.

According to state law, the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission is supposed to have about the same percentage of women and minority members as the state’s population as a whole. But while Tennessee’s population is roughly 52 percent women and 48 percent men, the commission is made up of two women and seven men, meaning women make up only about 22 percent of the panel.

Ruling from the bench, Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden agreed with a lawsuit that claimed the underrepresentation of women on the panel is discriminatory. However, he declined to issue an injunction that would prevent the panel from meeting.

“They can read the law,” Gayden said. “And if they want to meet on Friday and continue to exercise as an invalid commission, that’s their business.”

Asked whether the commission would meet Friday, as previously scheduled, David Haines, the general counsel for the Administrative Office of the Courts, which staffs the commission, said he will have to consult with the Attorney General’s Office.

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission’s job is to assess the work of the state’s appeals court judges and recommend whether they should stay in office.

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