National Roundup



Anthony attorney's rude gesture earns complaint

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida Bar complaint has been filed against one of Casey Anthony's attorneys for making an obscene gesture at reporters and spectators after Anthony's acquittal on murder charges.

While celebrating the jury's verdict Tuesday at an Orlando restaurant, attorney Cheney Mason gestured with his middle finger toward people gathered outside. An Associated Press photographer snapped a picture of the gesture.

In his complaint, Coral Gables attorney John B. Thompson said Mason violated Bar rules for "maintaining integrity of the profession."

The complaint says Mason's gesture in a public setting falls under the Bar's regulatory policy, which holds that actions by lawyers even in private that reflect poorly on the profession are subject to discipline. Mason was in court Thursday and not available for comment.


Judge has robe stolen while in men's room

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A sticky-fingered person might be wandering the streets of Philadelphia in a flowing judicial robe.

A municipal judge on Wednesday said he had his official garb taken from the robing room at the city courthouse while he was in the men's room. Judge Joseph Waters Jr. says he had left the door of the room unlocked.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports that an email was sent out to judges and courthouse staff asking people to keep an eye out for the missing garment.

Waters is a former police captain who was appointed to finish out another judge's term in 2009. He won election later that year.


Defendant in 4 killings now wants lawyer

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) -- The man charged with killing four Northern California women with matching first and last initials has asked for a court-appointed attorney to help him defend himself.

Seventy-seven-year-old Joseph Naso is currently acting as his own attorney. But he told a judge Wednesday his incarceration at the Marin County Jail has limited his ability to conduct legal research and has scared away attorneys who could help him.

He asked Judge Andrew Sweet to appoint an attorney to his case. Sweet is expected to continue hearing arguments about the request Thursday.

District Attorney Ed Berberian says Naso has enough money to hire his own attorney and doesn't need one appointed by the court.

Naso is accused of murdering four prostitutes in the 1970s and 1990s throughout Northern California. He has pleaded not guilty.


Thousands of Calif prisoners refusing state food

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Thousands of California inmates have joined a hunger strike that began last week at Pelican Bay State Prison, officials said.

Prisoners at the specialized maximum security unit at Pelican Bay began refusing meals on July 1 in protest of their conditions.

Inmates in 13 of the state's 33 prisons then refused state-issued food in solidarity.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton said 6,600 inmates joined the strike at its peak over the weekend. She said 2,100 inmates refused meals Wednesday, an indication the strike was winding down.

Molly Poizig, a spokeswoman with the group Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, said dozens of Pelican Bay inmates plan to continue the effort.

The Pelican Bay hunger strikers are protesting conditions in the prison's so-called Security Housing Unit, where inmates are kept in isolation for 22? hours a day in windowless cells that are soundproofed to discourage communication.

Unit inmates are demanding an end to long-term solitary confinement and forced interrogations about gang activity.

The Security Housing Unit segregates prisoners from the general population who have been determined to be prison gang members or have committed a serious crime while in prison.

About 4,000 of the 162,000 inmates in the state corrections system are housed in such units, which exist at three other prisons in addition to Pelican Bay.

Most of the inmates refusing to eat were maximum security prisoners at prisons with the same type of specialized units as Pelican Bay, Thornton said. Some who refused state meals paid for food at the prison canteen or ate meals in visiting rooms.


Bret Michaels suit over Tonys accident moved to NY

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Bret Michaels' lawsuit over an accident at the 2009 Tony Awards that the singer claims nearly killed him should be heard in New York where the accident happened, a federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled.

It makes more sense for the case -- which stems from Michaels being hit in the head by a set piece after performing at Radio City Music Hall -- to be handled by a federal court in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee wrote in a ruling Tuesday.

The Poison frontman sued CBS Broadcasting and Tony organizers in March in Los Angeles, claiming the accident contributed to a brain hemorrhage that nearly killed him. His attorneys argued the case should be heard on the West Coast since Michaels lives in Los Angeles and Arizona, as do some witnesses, including his manager and other workers.

Gee agreed with attorneys for Tony Awards Productions that much of the potential evidence and the vast majority of witnesses -- including actors and production workers on the awards show -- are in New York.

Michaels is seeking unspecified damages on claims that show organizers never explained that the set would be changing after the band performed "Nothin' But a Good Time" during the 2009 Tony Awards. The accident broke his nose, and he contends it led to the hemorrhage that later left him hospitalized and forced him to cancel several concerts.

He also claims the show could have prevented the incident from airing, but chose not to. The clip of the accident became a viral hit on the Internet, with more than 27 million views on YouTube when the case was originally filed.


Fugitive linked to ecoterrorist firebomb arrested

SEATTLE (AP) -- A fugitive wanted in connection with the 2001 firebombing of the University of Washington's horticulture center is now in federal custody.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle says 31-year-old Justin Solondz was arrested in Chicago on Wednesday following his expulsion from China, where he had been serving a prison sentence on drug charges.

Solondz is alleged to have built the firebombs that started the $6 million blaze in Seattle. He faces charges including conspiracy and arson.

He will make his first appearance in federal court in Tacoma once he is transported from Chicago.

The UW firebombing was part of a string of arsons across the West by the radical environmental groups, the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.

Published: Fri, Jul 8, 2011