Court Roundup

California

Olympic gymnastics coach accu sed of abuse resigns

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- A former Olympic gymnastics coach facing allegations of sexual abuse resigned Tuesday from his coaching and director positions at a prominent Orange County club.

Don Peters, who coached the 1984 U.S. women's Olympic team, resigned from SCATS, according to The Orange County Register.

The resignation comes after the newspaper's investigation last month alleging sexual and physical abuse of underage gymnasts. More than a dozen former gymnasts told the newspaper stories of abuse.

In a Sept. 25 Register story, Doe Yamashiro, a former U.S. national team and SCATS member, said Peters began fondling her in 1986, when she was 16, and had sexual intercourse with her when she was 17.

Peters declined to comment to the Register.

A Nov. 11 hearing has been scheduled in Indianapolis by gymnastics' national governing body to decide whether Peters should be banned from the sport.

Peters led the U.S. women's team to a record eight medals in the 1984 Olympics.

The alleged abuse took place in the 1980s and can't be prosecuted under California law because the statute of limitation has expired.

Two other U.S. gymnastics coaches, Doug Boger and Michael Zapp, have either been dismissed or terminated from coaching roles after allegations of sexual and physical abuse surfaced in newspaper.

Oklahoma

Bible study group sues Owasso Public Schools

OWASSO, Okla. (AP) -- A before-school Bible study group is suing Owasso Public Schools for alleged "censorship" of the group's flyers and handouts.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Tulsa by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of Owasso Kids for Christ. It alleges the school unconstitutionally prohibits the group from distributing religious flyers, from taking part in an open house and from using the school's public address system.

The lawsuit says groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and YMCA are allowed such access.

School Superintendent Clark Ogilvie says on the district's web site that the issue is "misconstrued and taken out of context." He says the district doesn't deny religious groups access to the schools -- but says they must follow school policies.

Virginia

Family files suit in man's death

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- The family of an Appomattox County man who died after being shot by a Taser has filed a multimillion-dollar negligence lawsuit against the county and a sheriff's deputy.

The lawsuit filed in Albemarle County claims Daniel Russell was shot after Appomattox Deputy Denney Wright initiated a traffic stop following a domestic-related call in October 2010.

The suit says Russell was subjected to unreasonable force. It says Russell went into cardiac arrest, slipped into a coma and died on June 30.

The lawsuit also names the stun gun's manufacturer and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Daily Progress reports a county attorney declined comment on the lawsuit. Sheriff's Capt. W. Todd Craft says the officers involved acted within department policy.

Florida

Atheist drops lawsuit against Fla. sheriff

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) -- The leader of a central Florida atheist group has dropped a lawsuit that accused a county sheriff of harassing her.

The Ledger of Lakeland reports that EllenBeth Wachs has dropped her federal suit against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. She charged that Judd targeted her because she's not a Christian. Judd denied it.

Wachs has been charged criminally three times this year. She said she dropped the suit because the harassment stopped after she filed it in June.

Wachs first tangled with Judd last winter after he uprooted the Polk County jail's basketball hoops and donated them to local churches. Her group claimed that was an unconstitutional use of public property.

Since then Judd's agency has charged her with various minor crimes, including illegally posing as a lawyer.

Texas

Man convicted of aiding Taliban loses appeal

HOUSTON (AP) -- A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Pakistani college student living in Texas who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiring to help the Taliban and fight U.S. troops.

Adnan Mirza was convicted last year of two conspiracy counts and seven firearms violations.

Mirza argued evidence at his three-day trial in Houston was insufficient and that statutes under which he was arrested in 2006 were unconstitutional.

The Houston Community College student also contended he didn't violate terms of his student visa because he didn't know it was illegal to possess a firearm. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected each argument Tuesday.

Three others arrested with Mirza for participating in training exercises around Houston for a holy war pleaded guilty or have been convicted.

Washington

Justices could talk health care cases on Nov. 10

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court could decide as early as Nov. 10 whether to hear a challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul this term.

Federal appeals court rulings on health care from Atlanta, Cincinnati and Richmond are on the agenda for the justices' private conference on Nov. 10.

If they agree then to hear any or all of those cases, the decision would be announced that day or when the court meets in public session the following Monday. Such a timetable would allow the court to hear arguments over the health care law in late March and would give the justices three months to craft their opinions.

The central issue is whether the requirement for individuals to buy insurance or pay a penalty is constitutional.

Published: Thu, Oct 27, 2011