Atheist sues Polk Sheriff over arrests
A Florida atheist says Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd keeps having her arrested because she's not a Christian. EllenBeth Wachs sued Judd on Friday in federal court in Tampa, claiming her recent arrests were retaliation for "assertion of (her) nonreligious, atheist viewpoint in the predominantly Christian-oriented Polk County." Wachs first tangled with Judd in the winter after he uprooted the Polk County jail's basketball hoops and donated them to local churches. She protested, saying that was an unconstitutional use of public property. Since then, Judd's agency has charged her with minor crimes, including illegally posing as a lawyer, possession of marijuana and simulating sex sounds from inside her home within earshot of a neighbor's 10-year-old son. Judd's spokeswoman declined to comment on pending litigation.
Anthony's lawyers show jurors photos
Defense attorneys for Casey Anthony, who is charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter, showed jurors several photos on Friday that they hope bolster their argument that the toddler accidentally drowned and wasn't murdered. Anthony's attorneys showed photos of her daughter, Caylee, climbing a ladder into an above-ground pool at the family's home as her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, supported her from behind. From the witness stand, Cindy Anthony testified that Caylee was able to open a sliding glass door that led to the backyard pool. Cindy Anthony said she found the removable ladder in place against the pool on June 16, 2008, the last day Caylee was ever seen by her grandparents. Defense testimony will continue for a full day today.
Governor signs two abortion bills
Gov. Rick Scott has signed two abortion bills into law. One of them (HB 1127) requires women to undergo ultrasounds before getting abortions. The other (HB 1247) makes it more difficult for minors to get court waivers from Florida's parental notification law.
Crew members guilty in hazings
Seven Coast Guard crew members have been punished for tying down fellow crew members and stripping them of their clothing in hazing incidents, and officials said Friday that they have finished investigating the allegations. Among other things, the men were found guilty in courts-martial of indecent exposure, assault and disorderly conduct. Six of the seven men made pretrial agreements that resulted in some charges being dropped. Other current and former crew members aboard the St. Petersburg-based cutter Venturous were also administratively disciplined. Punishments included being sentenced to confinement, pay reductions and being kicked out of the service.
Doctors fight new gag law on guns
Thousands of Florida doctors and an anti-gun-violence group want a Miami federal judge to immediately block enforcement of a new state law barring physicians from discussing firearms with patients. Court papers filed Friday say the law should be blocked temporarily until a permanent decision is made on whether it's constitutional. The doctors say the law violates free speech rights and could result in harm to patients. The law took effect June 2.