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ACQUITTED PROSECUTOR WANTS HIS OLD JOB BACK Now that he has been acquitted of assault and other serious felonies, San Francisco prosecutor Floyd Andrews wants his job back. “If he can get cleared medically, he wants to go back,” Andrews’ defense counsel Kenneth Quigley said last week. Not so fast, says District Attorney Terence Hallinan’s spokesman Mark MacNamara — there’s still a pending legal matter. Andrews was acquitted last month of assault in the stabbing of a man he found urinating on the fence near his San Rafael home. He was also found not guilty of making a criminal threat and inflicting corporal punishment on his then-15-year-old daughter. But the Marin County jury did find Andrews guilty of misdemeanor battery on his daughter during a family dispute where she accused him of striking her and blackening her eye. She later changed her story and said she hit herself with a flashlight to make the injury look worse. Quigley said Andrews is due back in court Dec. 20, when Marin County Superior Court Judge Terrence Boren is scheduled to decide what action to take on the misdemeanor conviction. The defense attorney said that since the verdict has not been formally entered, he will ask the judge to send Andrews back to psychological counseling. Andrews had been in a court-ordered diversion program, but that was terminated after the stabbing incident. However, he said Boren could also enter the misdemeanor verdict and sentence Andrews to a six-month jail term. He said that was unlikely. MacNamara said Hallinan will wait to see what the judge does in the case before deciding the veteran prosecutor’s future. Andrews remains on unpaid leave from the district attorney’s office. He also has a pending application for a disability pension from the city. Quigley said Andrews “was injured severely” in a beating by his stabbing victim before he drew his knife in self-defense. “He’s a lot better. The day the doctor clears him is the day he wants to go back to work.” — Dennis J. Opatrny YOU WORK FOR WHO? California Attorney General Bill Lockyer cracked down on some alleged scam artists close to home recently, when he filed a lawsuit against two people authorities say purported to be affiliated with his office. Renee Launer and Allen Mayea of Corona, in Riverside County, convinced at least 1,000 people they were accepting phone listings to be placed in California’s “do not call” database of numbers that are off limits to telemarketers, according to law enforcement officials. The problem is that database, which will be administered by Lockyer’s office, isn’t up and running yet. Launer and Mayea allegedly had people pay $12 to register their numbers. The real database, which the AG’s office expects to have running by early 2003, will cost up to $5 for three years. According to the AG’s office, the scammers advertised on the Internet and called people at home. “It’s ironic that these guys were engaging in telemarketing to take advantage of a law designed to prevent [that kind] of harassment,” said Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar. The AG’s suit asks for restitution for victims and civil penalties of $1.5 million. Attorneys have already won a preliminary injunction shutting down the operation. The suspects aren’t the first to use Lockyer’s name for less than noble deeds. Earlier this year, the AG’s office warned consumers that identity thieves were posing as Department of Justice employees to collect personal information, Dresslar said. Launer and Mayea also face felony grand theft charges in the telemarketing case. Although out on bail, they could not be reached for comment. Their 800 number has apparently been disconnected. — Jeff Chorney BACK IN COURT Famed bookmaker Ronald Sacco, 59, pleaded guilty Thursday to running an illegal gambling operation. The San Francisco native is a legendary sports bookie, once bragging about his operation on the CBS new program “60 Minutes.” He was brought to the Northern District earlier this year after being extradited from Costa Rica. Sacco had been on the lam from U.S. authorities since being forced out of the Dominican Republic. His nationally broadcast television boasts about offshore sports betting led, in part, to his downfall. He fled to Costa Rica, where he set up a similar operation. Sacco was arrested on a 2-year-old indictment. The prosecution, headed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Schmidt, was the result of a joint investigation by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. Sacco also pleaded guilty to money laundering based on allegations that he invested proceeds from his illegal gaming back into his operation. U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins could sentence Sacco to as long as 25 years in prison. — Jason Hoppin TOY TERRITORY Michael and Candy Wahl weren’t playing when they sued Mattel Inc. a few years back for allegedly stealing their concept for a line of dolls called Flutter Faeries. But their hope for vengeance seemed to fly away when jurors eventually sided with Mattel. On Thursday, however, the Wahls got a second chance at slaying the giant toy maker when Los Angeles’ Second District Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court judge had made an error favoring Mattel during jury instructions. According to the appeal court’s ruling, the Wahls, doing business as Gunther-Wahl Productions Inc., in 1993 pitched Mattel executives their idea for a line of dolls that started “as segmented caterpillars and changed from crystal cocoons into half-human, half-butterfly Flutter Faeries, each representing a season, with magic powers that allowed them to interact with the environment.” The couple said Mattel first showed great interest, only to abruptly back out. Then in 1995, the court said, Mattel introduced dolls in the Barbie and Polly Pocket lines “with characteristics plaintiffs claim were similar to the Flutter Faeries concept.” The company even trademarked the name Flutter Faeries. Although Michael Wahl, a former practicing attorney in North Hollywood, had no written agreement with Mattel for compensation, he sued the company for breach of an implied-in-fact contract. But jurors found otherwise. On appeal, the Wahls claimed that Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cesar Sarmiento, among other things, erred by instructing jurors that the Wahls had to clearly condition the disclosure of their idea on Mattel’s agreement to pay, and by refusing to tell jurors that if Mattel requested the Wahls to submit their idea, such a solicitation implies a promise to pay. The appeal court agreed. “Given the particular record in the case at bench, where Mattel clearly invited Gunther-Wahl to make a presentation at Mattel headquarters (whether or not at Michael Wahl’s initial request), the instruction as given incorrectly forced the jury to find against plaintiffs unless they “ clearly conditioned their disclosure on Mattel’s agreement to pay � if it used the ‘Flutter Faeries’ concept or any portion of it,” Justice Candace Cooper wrote. “The jury could easily interpret that language to require an express oral or written representation of compensation, which the law does not require for an implied contract.” Justices Laurence Rubin and Paul Boland concurred. The Wahl’s dreams of a world of Flutter Faeries — complete with the Land of Bliss and the evil Queen Penumbra — might have bitten the pixie dust, but if all goes their way at court on the second go-round, they just might end up with enough cash to invent a fantasy land for themselves. The case is Gunther-Wahl Productions Inc. v. Mattel Inc., 02 C.D.O.S. 11783. — Mike McKee BACK ON THE BENCH With her resignation due next summer, the Federal Judicial Center has already begun the search to replace U.S. District Judge Fern Smith, who has served as director since 1999. In a recent interview, Smith said she looks forward to returning to the Northern District, where she was a judge from 1988 until her departure for Washington, D.C., and will resume hearing cases here. “My present plan is to go back on the bench,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s a special thing to do.” The center is the educational and research arm of the federal judicial system, involved in the continuing education of federal judges and in making recommendations about court operations to the U.S. Judicial Conference. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton was elevated from U.S. magistrate to take over for Smith, who praised the work the bench here has done in her absence. “They’re a pretty savvy group.” Although she can return as a full-time judge, Smith said she is leaning toward taking senior status. “Probably — I’m certainly eligible,” she joked. — Jason Hoppin

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