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Judge Says NYPD Must Allow Sihk Traffic Agent to Wear Turban

A city administrative law judge ruled yesterday that the New York Police Department discriminated against a traffic enforcement agent, who is a member of the Sikh religion, when it told him he would be fired if he continued to wear his turban on the job. Donna R. Merris, an administrative judge with the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, rejected the NYPD’s claim that Jasjit Singh Jaggi would create a danger to both himself and the public if he wore a turban rather than the standard-issue white cap. Rejecting the argument that Mr. Jaggi would not be recognizable as a traffic agent in his turban, Ms. Merris noted that the rest of his uniform would be identifiable. Also, she stated that Mr. Jaggi would wear a white turban, which would have the traffic officer’s chrome shield pinned to its front. The ruling, which was prosecuted at the trials and hearings office by the legal staff of the Human Rights Commission, will not become final until it is confirmed by the agency’s 16 commissioners. — Daniel Wise

Lawyer, County Settle Over Handling of Car Forfeitures

Nassau officials are expected to sign an agreement today settling disputes with an attorney who the county hired to handle its drunken-driving vehicle forfeiture actions. The agreement calls for Nassau to pay Andrew J. Campanelli about $300,000 in fees and costs. It stems from disagreements that arose between the parties after the Court of Appeals declared the county’s forfeiture law unconstitutional. Mr. Campanelli had argued in a state court action that he was entitled to payment despite the ruling. He also filed a $25 million federal lawsuit last month, asserting that the county refused to pay him because he would not contribute to Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi’s campaign. The agreement, pending approval by the county legislature, will close the state and federal actions. — Leigh Jones

Title IX Claim Against Fordham Goes Forward

The former coach of the Fordham women’s basketball team may pursue his Title IX claims alleging the university in the Bronx allocated inferior resources and opportunities for its women’s team compared with its men’s team, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled Tuesday. Southern District Judge Constance Baker Motley dismissed all of Kevin Morris’ claims except one based on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, alleging discrimination in an education program receiving federal financial assistance. Mr. Morris coached the team from 1993 to 2000. Even though the coach is a man, the judge said, “the prohibition of discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ is broad enough to encompass a prohibition of discrimination against plaintiff on the basis of the sex of the players whom he coached.” Morris v. Fordham University, 03 Civ.0556, will be published Thursday. — Cerisse Anderson

Murder Conviction Overturned on Jury Charge

A state appeals court yesterday threw out the first-degree murder conviction and life-without-parole sentence of an Army deserter for shooting his stepuncle to death in 2001. An Appellate Division, Third Department, panel said the judge at Ronald Caruso’s trial in Sullivan County Court should have told jurors that besides first-degree murder, they could consider lesser charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter. There is enough evidence that indicates Mr. Caruso may have been surprised at the sound of his stepuncle at the door and fired in his direction — killing him accidentally rather than planning to shoot him — for jurors to have at least considered the lesser charges, the unanimous panel ruled. — Associated Press

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