Mostly Martha

A Montana district judge ruled in January that for a homicide suspect with apparent multiple personalities, exercise of a Miranda right by one of them carries over to all the others. Tessa Haley lawyered up when police sought to question her about the stabbing death of her roommate, and though police questioning ceased, Haley transformed into "Martha" and spontaneously confessed to the crime, according to officers. Judge Thomas Honzel ruled that Martha's statements could not be used against Haley, although Haley is still free under existing law to argue that she is not responsible for Martha's crime.

Pop cornered

Florida, after a 4-3 decision of the state Supreme Court in January, became the latest state to rule that a man who initially agrees to pay child support until age 21 cannot shed that obligation just because he subsequently proves by DNA testing that he could not be the kid's father. Cathy Anderson had told police officer Michael Anderson twice that she was sure the kid was his, after which he agreed to pay $8,000 a year in support, but after the DNA test, he claimed that her assurance constituted "fraud," a claim that the Supreme Court thus rejected.

The man show

Among the fashions introduced at the seasonal shows in Milan, Italy, in January was British designer Vivienne Westwood's "Man" collection, featuring male-only items with frilly cuffs and sleeves and bonnet-like scarves, along with tight, knit sweater sets and jumpers worn over male models' fake breasts. Westwood (a pioneer of punk clothing in the 1970s) said her design had something to do with "how men are so attached to the breast of their mother, a symbol of eternal warmth."

Sucker for suckers

Michael Brown, 33, was arrested in Marked Tree, Ark., in January and charged with burglarizing the lobby of the Marked Tree Bank after security cameras caught him hauling away a clock radio, a CD player and a handful of Dum-Dum suckers, which the bank has on hand for customers' children. The next morning, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, police followed a trail of Dum-Dum wrappers down Frisco Street, across the railroad tracks, and into the mobile-home park where Brown lives.

Potty mouth

New York City criminal-court judge Gerald Harris ruled in October that drug suspect Vincent Cooper's rights were violated when a police officer pinched his cheeks, causing four bags of marijuana to fall out. The arresting officer had asked Cooper what he was doing in a notorious drug neighborhood, and when Cooper allegedly mumbled an answer, the officer attempted to clear Cooper's mouth so he could understand him.

Family trip

A family-court judge in White Cloud, Mich., ruled in November for Kristin Hanslovsky, who in a child-custody dispute had tried to prevent her ex-husband, Jonathan Fowler (a member of the Native American Church of the Morning Star), from letting their 4-year-old son use peyote in ceremonies at the church. Fowler said the 4-year-old should decide for himself if he wanted to use peyote, which Fowler personally credited for helping overcome his own alcoholism and to "come into contact with God."

Nudge judgment

Australian Supreme Court Justice Barry O'Keefe rejected the challenge of a drug-possession suspect in November that his rights had been violated during his arrest. Contrary to the suspect's contention, O'Keefe said that when the police dog nuzzled the suspect's crotch, it was merely a "social gesture" that dogs habitually do, rather than an indecent assault.

Seniors rule

Police in New Britain, Conn., confiscated a 50-foot-long pile of stolen items in November, the result of a ritual scavenger hunt of the Canettes, New Britain High School's all-girl marching band drill team. According to The Hartford Courant, police, parents and school personnel were flabbergasted that 42 normally law-abiding girls could steal so many items in a single evening, but the girls, apparently, sincerely had a hard time believing that they had done anything wrong. Said one girl, who helped pull a mailbox out of the ground: "I just thought it was a custom ... kind of like a camaraderie thing `and` if the seniors said it was OK, and they were in charge, then it was OK."

Come and gone

In November, convicted Hawthorne, Calif., rapist Jaime Garcia Padilla, 42, lost his state-appeals court case in which he had argued that his girlfriend had unlawfully seized his sperm for testing. The girlfriend's sister had claimed that it was Padilla who had awakened her at night and raped her in the dark, and Padilla's girlfriend needed to find out if Padilla was the one. She had consensual sex with Padilla and turned in his sperm to authorities, and it was indeed matched to both women. California's 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Padilla, not having "express`ed` any further interest" in his semen at the time that he ejaculated with the girlfriend, "basically lost all possessory interest in `it`," and cited Roe v. Wade as legal authority.

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