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 June 16, 2003
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Tulia, Texas-AP -- A dozen people in Texas are being released from prison while they appeal drug charges that may have been racially motivated -- and based on false evidence.

Another defendant must remain in custody due to charges pending in another county. A 14th defendant isn't eligible for bond because his case is still pending on direct appeal.

Nearly four dozen Tulia residents were arrested in 1999, in cases involving an undercover officer who's since been indicted for perjury. Of the 46 people arrested, 39 are black.

(Houston-AP) -- The suspected leader of a smuggling operation responsible for 19 immigrant deaths in Texas has been arrested. Federal prosecutors say she was caught while trying to enter her native Honduras.

Prosecutors have unsealed a 58-count indictment against Karla Chavez and 12 others.

The 19 who died were among 70 people who'd been packed inside an tractor-trailer that the driver had abandoned.

(Supreme Court-AP) -- Each year, hundreds of mentally-ill defendants are put on anti-psychotic medication so they're competent to stand trial. But now, the Supreme Court is making it harder to force non-violent defendants to take the drugs.

Some groups had called for an outright ban on forced medication.

The high court ruling says it's up to courts to decide in individual cases whether giving the drugs will further the state's interest in punishment.

The case in question involved a St. Louis man whose lawyers agree is too unstable to stand trial on fraud charges. He's been in a prison hospital for four years, as the lawyers fought government efforts to drug him.

Today's majority opinion says a lower court should consider "less intrusive" treatments.

(Jerusalem-AP) -- Israel's prime minister says he won't make a deal with Hamas to stop the violence.

The Palestinian militant group is demanding an end to Israel's attacks on its members before it will agree to a cease-fire.

Ariel Sharon says the attacks on militants will continue.

He said again that Israel is willing to make "painful concessions" for peace -- but said the Israelis won't make any concessions if terror and violence continue.

(Khaldiyah, Iraq) -- The U-S military now says ten Americans were wounded yesterday in separate attacks on two military convoys in Iraq.

The attacks came as troops started their search for weapons and suspected resistance fighters. The families of those arrested warn today that resistance will only increase.

The sweeps follow the expiration yesterday of an amnesty program for people turning in heavy weapons.

(Washington-AP) -- The number of crimes overall -- and the number of violent crimes -- are down slightly. But two types of violent crimes are showing an increase.

According to the F-B-I's preliminary figures for last year, there was a decrease of two-tenths of one percent in the number of crimes reported, when compared to the previous year. And when it comes to violent crimes, the decrease was one-point-four percent.

But there was a four percent increase in the number of reported rapes. And the number of murders rose by eight-tenths of a point.

The only region in the country reporting an increase in overall crime was the West -- with an increase of nearly three percent. The biggest decline was in the Northeast -- at three-point-three percent.

(New York-AP) -- As the number of crimes reported nationwide showed a slight decrease last year -- New York state saw its ninth-consecutive decrease in the number of major crimes.

Preliminary F-B-I figures show a three-point-three percent decrease in the number of major crimes in the state -- and an even bigger drop in the number of violent crimes.

Experts say it's a combination of better policing, a good economy, and a decline in New York's population of young adult males -- the biggest criminal segment of the population.

Whatever the reason, New York City resident Rick Silverman says he feels safer on the streets and subways. He says since nine-eleven, there are "a lot more police around."

(Berlin-AP) -- Members of the International Whaling Commission have voted to try to strengthen efforts to protect whales. And it's a move that comes despite the objections of countries that want to resume commercial whaling.

Delegates from 50 nations passed the resolution at their annual meeting in Berlin.

Whales were nearly hunted to extinction before the commission banned commercial whaling in 1986.

Before today's vote, Japanese officials called for an end to the whaling ban and threatened to walk out of the meeting if the conservation measure passed.

Japan kills hundreds of whales every year under an exemption for scientific research. Iceland is expected to seek the same exemption.

But the head of the U-S delegation says lethal scientific whaling must stop. He says whales don't have to be killed to be studied.

(San Antonio-AP) -- The partying is still going on in San Antonio as last night the Spurs finished off New Jersey to win the N-B-A Championship. A full week of celebrations is planned including a floating parade down the city's popular Riverwalk on Wednesday.

The championship is the Spurs' second in four years and brought to a close the fine career of David Robinson. The big-man retired with a bang as he had 13 points and 17 rebounds. Season M-V-P Tim Duncan was accorded the honors for the Finals as well.

(Los Angeles-AP) -- The actor who starred as "Blacula" has died.

William Marshall played the title character in the 1972 film and its sequel, "Scream, Blacula, Scream."

He died last week at a Los Angeles rest home. He'd had Alzheimer's disease in recent years. Marshall was 78.

He appeared in dozens of films and popular T-V series -- including "Star Trek" and "The Jeffersons."

And his stage roles included Shakespeare's "Othello."

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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