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Church will survive, bishop says

Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man elevated to that rank in any major Christian body, said Tuesday the church will survive the tumult surrounding his election. But overseas Anglican leaders have moved closer to a break with the denomination.

Robinson acknowledged that some who oppose ordaining gays would leave the Episcopal Church, but held out hope they would return in the future.

"I think we'll have a few bumpy years. It's nothing to be afraid of," Robinson said on NBC's Today. "The church is always in some sort of crisis . . . (but) this is a crisis that's going to get us somewhere."

On Monday, overseas bishops who said they represented 50-million of the world's 77-million Anglicans jointly announced that they were in a "state of impaired communion" with the Episcopal Church _ a step short of declaring a full schism. Episcopalians form the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.

Also, members of at least two New Hampshire Episcopal churches are asking an out-of-state diocese to supervise their congregations after Robinson was consecrated.

"There definitely looks like there's going to be some realignment," said Robert Newton, a lay leader at St. Mark's Church in Ashland.

Newton said he has spoken to officials in the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., which is led by conservative Bishop Daniel Herzog. "They've already agreed to give us that oversight," Newton said.

Supreme Court hears search warrant case

WASHINGTON _ Tackling a case that raises questions about how police carry out search warrants, several Supreme Court justices suggested Tuesday an officer who serves a bad warrant could be liable for damages.

In a wide-ranging argument that focused on homeowners' rights and police obligations, the justices appeared troubled by arguments that officers could conduct searches based on a defective warrant. Several suggested they thought allowing such searches would undermine the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which says warrants must specifically describe the items police are seeking and the places they intend to search.

The key legal question is whether an officer who relies on a defective warrant when conducting a search can be liable to the homeowners for damages. The case came about in 1997, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent Jeff Groh unknowingly relied on a defective warrant during a search for weapons in the Montana home of Joseph and Julia Ramirez. Although he had prepared the request for the warrant, Groh failed to notice the document did not list the weapons sought.

The Fourth Amendment says search warrants should "particularly" describe the items to be searched and the persons or items that officers are seeking.

Mate: Ferry captain was not in proper position

NEW YORK _ In the two minutes before a Staten Island ferry slammed into a concrete pier, the pilot stood erect behind the controls and never slumped forward, according to the lone nearby crew member.

In addition, the ship's captain was not in his required position in the wheelhouse to assist pilot Richard Smith as the ferry attempted to dock on Staten Island, mate Robert Rush told city investigators.

The details were disclosed Tuesday by Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall.

Traffic accidents with deer cost $1.1-billion a year

WASHINGTON _ Some 150 people die each year in more than 1.5-million traffic accidents involving collisions with deer, according to an insurance industry-funded report released Tuesday that puts the economic damage at $1.1-billion.

The study relied on federal and state records and academic studies on the issue to develop the national estimates. Researchers hired by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to produce the report said theirs was the first to look at the accidents nationwide.

The report focuses on steps by local governments to reduce accidents and recommends fences and reducing deer herds as the most effective ways of keeping the animals off the roads.