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Archive for Sunday, January 7, 2001

Nation Briefs

January 7, 2001

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Florida
'Small, thin, white man' spared prison time

A judge refused to send a drug offender to prison, saying the man would be a target for sexual assault because he is thin and white. Instead, Hillsborough County Judge Florence Foster placed Paul Hamill on two years probation and sent him to a treatment center for violating probation on a previous cocaine conviction.

"He's a small, thin, white man with curly dark hair, and I suspect he would certainly become a sexual target in the Florida state prison system," Foster said, according to a transcript of the November sentencing hearing.

"I've been told they can't protect people like that. I'm not going to send a man like this to Florida state prison. That is cruel and unusual punishment in my book," she said.

Prosecutors have complained in the past that Foster imposes light sentences.




BOSTON
Boy's violent drawing constitutes 'threat'

A boy's drawing that depicts him pointing a gun at a kneeling, praying teacher was much more than a doodle it constituted a punishable threat, the state's highest court has ruled.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected arguments on Friday from the boy's lawyers that the drawing was a protected expression under the First Amendment, noting that the Constitution "does not protect conduct that threatens another."

The court also said the teacher's fears that the Worcester boy could carry out the threat were "quite reasonable and justifiable," given recent episodes of school violence across the nation.




LOS ANGELES
Alleged mobster sent back to prison

A former nightclub owner has been sent back to jail to await trial on racketeering charges in connection with four 1981 killings that put a spotlight on drugs and pornography in Hollywood. U.S. District Judge Carlos Moreno ordered 71-year-old Eddie Nash back to jail Friday for violating conditions of his November release on $1.5 million bond.

Nash, whose real name is Adel Nasrallah, is accused of running a 25-year racketeering enterprise that used murder and mayhem to protect heroin and cocaine dealers. He could face life in prison if convicted.

Nash, who has emphysema and coronary artery disease, had been confined to his home and ordered to wear an electric monitoring device.

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