Turner seeks end to ‘gag order’
The attorney for indicted City Councilor Chuck Turner says he will ask a federal judge to reconsider an order that prevents Turner from publicly disclosing the government’s evidence in his bribery case.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman issued the order at the request of prosecutors who said Turner might use the information as part of his media campaign to disrupt their corruption investigation of Turner and former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.
During a court hearing last Friday, Turner’s lawyer, Barry Wilson, said he planned to file a motion asking for the order to be lifted. Wilson said the ruling amounts to a “gag order” that violates Turner’s First Amendment right to free speech.
Turner is accused of accepting a $1,000 bribe from a local businessman. He has denied the charges.
The Boston University center that holds a key collection of papers from Martin Luther King Jr. is reopening after being closed for two years.
The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, which houses the collection, was closed while researchers created an electronic search system. The archiving project allows scholars to search by subject and name in BU’s collection and Morehead College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Collection.
BU’s King collection has more than 80,000 items, including office files, manuscripts and awards.
King received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955 and donated the papers to the school in 1964.
King’s only surviving sibling, Christine King Farris, is expected to come to campus on Friday to mark the reopening and share memories of her family.
Mass. judge upholds restriction on “blunt wraps”
A Massachusetts judge has upheld the authority of the Boston Public Health Commission to ban the sale of “blunt wraps,” tobacco-leaf papers often used to roll marijuana cigarettes.
The Commission’s Board of Health last year adopted a regulation prohibiting the sale of blunt wraps.
Three manufacturers as well as a trade group challenged the decision in court, arguing that their product had been unfairly singled out.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said last Thursday that a judge agreed that the board has the authority to enact regulations in the interests of public health.
The commission argued that the blunt wraps were being marketed to youth because of their bright packaging and exotic flavors.
Gov. Deval Patrick is taking a beating politically as the state’s economy sags and the media reports about patronage hirings on Beacon Hill.
A WHDH-TV/Suffolk University poll released last Thursday showed that Patrick had a 43 percent unfavorability rating — nearly equal to his 44 percent favorability rating.
Some 47 percent say someone else deserves to be elected next year, and 51 percent say Massachusetts is headed on the wrong track.
And a potential head-to-head matchup shows Patrick losing to Treasurer Timothy Cahill by 35 percent to 30 percent.
The survey of 400 registered voters was conducted March 17 through March 20. It had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
Kennedy seeks renewal of nation’s war on cancer
WASHINGTON — Ailing Sen. Edward M. Kennedy wants to renew the nation’s war on cancer, a cause he has championed for nearly four decades.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who is battling brain cancer, worked closely with Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas on a bill they filed last Thursday to overhaul the 1971 National Cancer Act.
Kennedy had already begun work on the bill when his tumor was diagnosed last year. He has been a passionate advocate of cancer research and other health care issues during his long Senate tenure.
The bill seeks to improve the coordination of cancer research, prevention and treatment while giving more money to the National Cancer Institute and other public research agencies.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut judge has dismissed criminal charges against a former New Haven detective accused of accessing a police database for personal use.
Michael Hunter was arrested last fall and claimed he was arrested because he’s black. Police say Hunter’s request for state police record checks involved a man who was dating the mother of Hunter’s child.
Hunter’s lawyer claims race played a role in his arrest. The lawyer has obtained documents showing that five other police employees, all white, had done the same thing and none was arrested.
Hunter’s union worked out an arrangement to allow him to retire.
Police had charged Hunter with two felony counts of third-degree computer crimes.
Support for New Haven in firefighter bias case
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A black firefighters group says the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is under attack as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a reverse discrimination case filed against a Connecticut city.
The International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters filed a brief with the high court last Wednesday, saying New Haven officials were right to throw out two firefighter promotion exams in 2004 because too few minorities would have moved up in rank.
The 19 white firefighters and one Hispanic firefighter who sued the city for discrimination say they would have been promoted.
The president of the black firefighters association was in New Haven to say the case also threatens legal settlements that have forced racial diversity in fire departments.
The nation’s highest court is set to hear the case this month.