Jurors Asked to Be Fair in Bishop Hit-and-Run

Star Legdger [Phoenix, Arizona]
January 13, 2004

PHOENIX -- A judge told prospective jurors yesterday in the hit- and-run trial of Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien that they can be fair and impartial even if they already have heard a lot about the case.

The exception would be if the extensive media coverage had caused them to form an opinion they could not change, said Superior Court Judge Stephen Gerst, who last week denied a defense request to move the trial because of the coverage.

Prosecutor Tony Novitsky said the bishop had failed to "abide by the responsibility every driver has" after hitting a pedestrian with his car in June. He didn't stop and never tried to contact authorities about the fatal accident, Novitsky said.

O'Brien's attorney, Patrick McGroder, told the jury pool that the victim, Jim Reed, had been dressed in a black hat and shirt and "jaywalked and staggered into the street." McGroder said he would introduce evidence at the trial that Reed, 43, was drunk.

The 68-year-old bishop told police he thought he had hit a dog or a cat or that someone had thrown a rock at his car. If he is convicted, O'Brien's sentence could range from probation to nearly four years in prison. Reformers threaten

to boycott Iran vote TEHRAN, Iran -- A showdown between Iran's hard-liners and liberals deepened yesterday as reformist lawmakers barred from upcoming elections threatened to boycott the vote and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised to intervene if the crisis is not resolved soon.

For the second day in a row, legislators who were among those barred from the Feb. 20 elections held a sit-in protest in the parliament building. The hard-line Guardian Council disqualified more than 80 lawmakers, all reformists.

The Guardian Council, which comprises 12 members chosen by Khamenei, has disqualified more than 3,000 of the 8,200 people who filed papers to run for the parliament's 290 seats, lawmakers have said. State broadcast media controlled by hard-liners said the candidates were disqualified because they lacked "the necessary legal qualifications."

If they stand, the disqualifications will be an additional blow for the reformers. The reformists have lost popularity because of their perceived failure to deliver on promises of liberalization, and had hoped to get a boost from the elections. Queen Mary 2 makes

maiden voyage to U.S. LONDON -- The world's largest cruise ship -- Queen Mary 2 -- set sail for the United States on its maiden voyage yesterday, carrying 2,600 passengers who paid up to $48,000 for the privilege.

The 150,000-ton Cunard Line vessel left the southern English port of Southampton on the 14-day journey to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., its first voyage with fare-paying passengers.

Although Cunard has denied reports of a terrorist threat against the vessel, security was tight and police maintained a high profile.

Ceremonies welcoming the vessel to Southampton on Dec. 26 were subdued out of respect for those killed when a gangway collapsed Nov. 15 at the shipyard in St. Nazaire, France, where the ship was built. FBI recovers sword

from 19th century ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A sword presented to a Navy captain who participated in the first battle between ironclad ships was returned yesterday to the Naval Academy, almost 73 years after it was stolen from the school.

The FBI recovered the sword from a collector who was not aware that it had been stolen, said FBI agent Jeffrey A. Lampinski of Philadelphia.

Lampinski said the sword turned up during an investigation into fraud allegations against three appraisers on the television program "Antiques Roadshow," but said he could not provide many details of the investigation.

The sword originally belonged to John L. Worden, the commander of the USS Monitor when it battled the Confederate warship Virginia, also called the Merrimack, on March 9, 1862. Third SARS case

suspected in China BEIJING -- China's third suspected SARS case emerged yesterday when authorities confirmed the hospitalization of a 35-year-old man who, like the two others, lives in the southern province of Guangdong -- a region under orders to move aggressively against the disease.

The disclosure comes as China struggles to prevent another outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the illness that spread from Guangdong last year, sickening thousands worldwide and hobbling the region's economy.

The World Health Organization said it had been informed of the new suspected case, even as its medical detectives tested samples gathered in places frequented by the two other patients -- a 32-year-old television producer and a 20-year-old waitress. The producer is the only confirmed case of the season.


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