Polanski appeal rejected
A Los Angeles judge on Thursday rejected an attempt by fugitive film director Roman Polanski to have a 1978 sex case against him dismissed because of misconduct by prosecutors. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza said he could not consider the case unless Polanski, who fled the US for France after pleading guilty to rape, showed up in his court. Lawyers for the Oscar-winning director made clear this week that Polanski would not return to the US to contest his conviction in person because he would be immediately arrested. He cannot be extradited from France. Polanski had sought to have his 1978 guilty plea to having sex with a 13-year-old girl thrown out on the grounds that the judge at the time was improperly coached by a prosecutor.
Nazi guard’s court bid fails
Accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk on Thursday lost a bid for the US Supreme Court to stop his deportation to Germany, where he faces charges for the deaths of 29,000 Jews. US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens rejected a request from the 89-year-old retired Ohio autoworker for a stay of deportation while Demjanjuk pursues his legal appeals. It was not known what other legal steps Demjanjuk’s lawyer might take to try to stop the deportation, the subject of a legal battle with the US Justice Department that has lasted decades.
Chavez nationalizes oil firms
The government will quickly take control of hundreds of small boats and other assets belonging to oil service companies, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Thursday, tightening his grip on the industry. Earlier in the day, the legislature approved a law allowing the nationalization of a group of oil service companies. Chavez said the takeovers would start yesterday in the Lake Maracaibo oil heartland. “Tomorrow [Friday] we will start to recuperate assets and goods that will now belong to the state, as social property, as they should always have been,” Chavez said, adding that thousands of workers would be taken on by state oil company PDVSA.
Diner served snake’s head
A diner at a restaurant in upstate New York says he got a little something extra with his broccoli — a severed snake head. Jack Pendleton told the Times Union of Albany that he was at the TGI Friday’s restaurant in the town of Clifton Park on Sunday when he spotted something gray mixed in with his vegetables. He realized it was a snake head the size of his thumb, with part of the spine still attached. Pendleton said he snapped a photo with his mobile phone camera and called the waiter over. He said he has no plans to sue. A spokeswoman for the Carrollton, Texas, chain said it was investigating. Pendleton and his girlfriend weren’t charged for their meals.
Wesleyan in photo blunder
Cornell University professor Stephen Morgan thought it was bad enough that he shares the name of a man accused of murder. But then an assistant showed him a Web site with a photo supposedly of the suspect. What he saw was a decade-old picture of himself. The sociology professor’s photo was posted on Wesleyan University’s Web site along with details of Wednesday’s fatal shooting of 21-year-old Johanna Justin-Jinich, the Hartford Courant reported. The image was then broadcast nationally. Wesleyan says it got the photo from police. Police said they never released the image.