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WMD are where you find them Those amused by how prosecutors find ever more far-out ways to apply RICO laws will love what Jerry Wilson, the district attorney in Watauga County, N.C., is doing with anti-terrorism legislation. The state made it a felony to manufacture nuclear, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction, then defined WMD as “any substance that is designed or has the capability to cause death or serious injury and . . . is or contains toxic or poisonous chemicals or their immediate precursors.” Wilson told reporters it’s “an excellent statute that lends itself to more than the typical idea of terrorism.” For example, as part of a campaign against meth labs, he filed two violations of the state WMD law against alleged lab owner Martin D. Miller. “Not only is the drug methamphetamine in itself a threat to both society and those using it,” Wilson said, “but the toxic compounds and deadly gases created as side products are also real threats.” North Carolina’s maximum penalty for making methamphetamine is 30 months. For terrorism it’s 12 years to life. Sorta makes sense John R. Perkins is too polite to call us uninformed smarty-pants, but he offers some evidence. Responding to an item in this space last week, Perkins, who is with the Office of Consumer Advocate in Des Moines, Iowa, writes that the Internal Revenue Service’s Revenue Ruling 2003-72 declaring that children are a year older on their birthdays isn’t as self-evident as we implied. He knows of one municipal court that ruled differently when a judge threw out a charge against a minor for attempting to buy beer because the attempt came a day before the defendant’s birthday. “The argument is that if a person is born on July 1, he or she has lived one full year on the following June 30, because he or she has lived 365 days,” he said. “On that person’s birthday, he or she has lived one year and one day.” Fast-lane follies Informed sources say a pro-lawyer California Vehicle Code amendment proposal is a hoax. But the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations seems to have taken it seriously. Resolution 4-0-03, set for the State Bar of California’s convention on Sept. 5, would put lawyers on record favoring legislation to let lone lawyers drive in high-occupancy-vehicle freeway lanes. It would apply only to those late for a Superior Court date, and it includes elaborate criteria for police officers, such as how to determine the driver is dressed appropriately for court. The sponsor/contact listed, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Matt St. George, didn’t return phone calls. What’s fun are the reasons that the conference’s screening committee gives for urging a “no” vote: 1. It would discriminate against lawyers who are rushing to important events that aren’t Superior Court hearings. 2. It would open the door to doctors and everyone else until “the exceptional circumstances swallow up the rule.” 3. It would make a violation (whipping along behind an ambulance?) a misdemeanor, hardly fair since nonlawyer violators just pay fines. And as Cheetah . . . Boston immigration Judge Thomas Ragno has been put on paid leave pending an investigation. At issue is a Ugandan woman with the first name Jane who came before him seeking asylum based on her having been tortured and raped in her homeland. The woman’s physician, who was in the courtroom, said that before the judge denied her request, he quipped, “Jane, come here. Me Tarzan.”

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