New trial ordered in stop sign deaths
Manslaughter convictions for three people charged with stealing a stop sign and causing a fatal car accident were overturned by an appeals court and new trials ordered. The Second District Court of Appeal said Wednesday that errors made in the 1997 trial by prosecutors and the judge warranted a new trial for Thomas Miller, Nissa Baillie and Christopher Cole.
Baillie, Cole and Miller were convicted of manslaughter and grand theft in the 1996 deaths of 18-year-olds Randall White, Kevin Farr and Brian Hernandez. The teen-agers drove into the path of an 8-ton truck instead of stopping because the sign at the intersection had been taken down and left on the ground.
Baillie, Cole and Miller admitted stealing numerous road signs in the area, but denied taking down the one at the intersection of the crash. Defense attorneys argued there is no evidence linking the three to the stop sign. The three-judge appeals panel agreed the conviction should be overturned.
Census Bureau wants actual numbers used
The Census Bureau urged Commerce Secretary Don Evans on Thursday to approve the use of raw population numbers from the 2000 count for congressional redistricting, despite estimates that 3.4 million Americans, primarily minorities, were overlooked.
Evans will now weigh the recommendation from William Barron, the bureau's acting director, and advice from outside experts and will make the final decision by Tuesday whether to have the numbers statistically adjusted.
Most Democrats and civil rights groups have claimed that a census adjustment would better account for millions missed in the count, mostly minorities, the poor and children. But Republicans countered that an adjustment could inject more errors into a 2000 count that proved to be more accurate than 1990's. They also insist the Constitution's demand for "actual enumeration" of the population every 10 years bars alterations.
Ventura drops 'jackal' passes for press
Gov. Jesse Ventura says reporters will no longer be required to wear their new "Official Jackal" press passes.
Speaking on WCCO-AM, Ventura said Thursday that the press passes were "drawing too much attention typical of the media not paying attention to what's important to the public but what's important to them, I guess."
Ventura's staff issued the new credentials on Jan. 20. They feature a full-body photograph of the governor, dressed all in black and pointing Uncle Sam-style at the camera. The credentials read "Official Jackal."
A few news organizations objected to having their reporters wear the passes.
U.S. aid to El Salvador given to quake victims
President Bush plans to grant El Salvador increased U.S. aid to repair damage left by a string of devastating earthquakes earlier this year, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The government also plans to let certain Salvadoran immigrants remain in the United States while relief efforts in the Central American nation continue.
Both offers will be extended today when El Salvador President Francisco Flores meets with Bush at the White House, said the U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
While the international community rushed to provide financial and humanitarian support to Salvadorans left homeless and injured, the U.S. has been slow to commit itself. So far, it has shelled out about $10 million far less than the $60 million in emergency aid and $98 million in reconstruction funds the U.S provided after a smaller earthquake struck the country in 1986.