Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2003

Lawrence briefs

November 1, 2003


County official awaits being served in lawsuit

A mix-up has prevented the county from being served in an open-records lawsuit filed about a month and a half ago by the Journal-World.

"I still have not been served," Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said Friday.

The suit, related to a deadly Aug. 26 vehicle pursuit, asks a judge to find that police-dispatch tapes are a public record and must be released regardless of whether they're part of a criminal investigation.

The paper initially sued the city of Lawrence but added the county to the suit because it oversees the emergency-dispatch center. The county, like the city, refused to release the tape from the pursuit until it was played in court weeks after the wreck.

When the county was added to the suit, the newspaper's attorney correctly asked the Douglas County District Court Clerk to serve the county clerk with the suit. However, a typographical error in the lawsuit combined with a clerical error in the clerk's office caused the paperwork to be sent to the city.

New paperwork was mailed to the county Friday, court records show. The county has 20 days to respond once it's served.

Victims report threats, beating in related cases

Police responded to a puzzling call early Friday at the College Motel involving a shotgun and a hammer.

Officers were called about 1:30 a.m. to the motel, 1701 W. Sixth St., where they spoke with a man who claimed a group of four men he didn't know -- one of them armed with a shotgun -- had entered his room and threatened him. He told police that while the men were in his room, one of the four was attacked by the others.

Police later found a 23-year-old Lawrence man hiding in some bushes nearby with a head wound. He claimed to have been struck in the head with a hammer and was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for treatment.

He also claimed he was robbed of a sapphire ring, a gold chain, and $90 cash.

The two victims apparently don't know each other, said Sgt. Mike Pattrick, a police spokesman.

"We're still trying to unravel all the information that was provided and trying to make sense of it," he said. "We're working with limited information and limited cooperation."

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