August 2, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Polygamist leader’s case cites God’s rejection of judge

 

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was unsuccessful Monday in a third attempt to remove the Texas judge overseeing his child sex assault case – this time based on the claim that God demands a change.

The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints filed a motion purporting to quote God as saying state District Judge Barbara Walther should “step away from this abuse of power against a religious and pure faith in the Lord.”

Walther ruled the trial would continue under new Texas Supreme Court rules that went into effect Monday. The new standard no longer requires an immediate hearing to recuse a judge after evidence in a case has been heard. Walther said a hearing would be held later.

Jeffs is accused of sexually assaulting two underage girls he took as brides. His church is an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy brings exaltation in Heaven, and followers see Jeffs as God’s earthly spokesman.

The 55-year-old fired his attorneys last week and has been representing himself.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Casey Anthony, whose whereabouts have been a secret since her dramatic murder acquittal last month, may have to report to a probation officer in central Florida this week under a judge’s order Monday in another case against her.

The Orlando judge who sentenced Anthony last year for fraudulent check writing signed a “corrected” version of Anthony’s probation order that made clear she was supposed to start the one-year term after her release from jail, not while she was detained waiting for her murder trial. Her attorneys are likely to challenge the revised order.

Circuit Judge Stan Strickland sentenced Anthony in January 2010 to probation for using checks that Anthony had stolen from a friend. The state Department of Corrections had interpreted Strickland’s sentence to mean that Anthony could serve the probation while she was in jail for her murder trial.

FAA shutdown continues as plan falters in Senate

WASHINGTON – Republicans late Monday blocked a bipartisan Senate plan to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, making it increasingly likely Congress will be unable to resolve the legislative standoff before September.

Having resolved the federal debt crisis, Congress is expected to leave at the end of the week for its August recess. If that happens, lost revenue from uncollected airline ticket taxes could exceed $1.2 billion before lawmakers return to work a month later, senators said.

The Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House are at odds over proposals to cut rural air service subsidies and to change a federal labor rule to make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize. The FAA’s operating authority was allowed to expire at midnight on July 22.

The showdown began last month when the House passed a GOP bill to extend the FAA’s operating authority that cut air service subsidies by $16.5 million. Democrats said the House was trying to impose policies that hadn’t been negotiated with Senate and using the subsidies as leverage to force them to cut a deal on the labor issue. The labor provision is in a separate, long-term FAA funding bill.

Stopped drug submarine carried 7.5 tons of cocaine

MIAMI – Crew members aboard a U.S. Coast Guard vessel stopped a “self-propelled semi-submersible” on July 13 – the first interdiction of such a sub in the Caribbean – and detained its five crew members, who managed to sink the vessel with almost all of the 7.5 tons of cocaine loaded inside.

Coast Guard, FBI and Honduran Navy divers, using sonar equipment, searched for almost two weeks since the event and found the submarine last Tuesday. It was about 50 feet below the surface and 16 nautical miles offshore. It was the first U.S. underwater removal of drugs from such a sub.

The five sub crew members, who were allegedly transporting the cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, were stopped by the Coast Guard as they tried to escape in a life raft.


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