Dead Man in the Docket

The prosecutors sure are thorough in Fulton County, Ga. — they recently tried to prosecute a dead man.

"Judge, I think he's dead," said defendant Jason Warner's probation officer when Warner's marijuana possession case was called in court last week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I guess we're indicting the dead now," sighed Judge Alford Dempsey.

Warner was 20 years old two years ago when he was arrested in Atlanta and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

A year later, while out on bail, he was shot and killed by a homeowner during an attempted burglary.

Nonetheless, his grieving mother was stunned to get a notice three months ago advising her son of his impending court date.

"I thought that was all done," Virginia Warner said to the newspaper Monday.

The district attorney's office had a perfectly reasonable explanation.

"How would we have known he was dead?" spokesman Erik Friedly told the Journal-Constitution. "If you write a story and say we indicted a dead man, it sounds crazy."

Friedly went on to say that the Fulton County (search) DA's office, which processes 17,000 cases per year, had been trying to get through a backlog of old charges that had been piling up.

"We just wouldn't necessarily know [Warner was dead]," Friedly said, "unless we had some particular reason to have contact with someone who had presented [that information] to us."

Warner's death was reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution just after it happened last November.

PB&J Contains THC

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A man serving time for burglary at Thomas County Prison (search) is in a new jam. Authorities say Curtis Hall tried to sneak illegal drugs in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Prison officials said last Friday that Hall brought the sandwich back to the prison from work detail. About 3 grams of marijuana were found wrapped in plastic between the peanut butter and jelly.

"They're not supposed to return with anything," said Peggy Chapman, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.

Hall, 43, was charged with possession of marijuana across a guard line. He will be transferred to a different prison, Chapman said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Steven C.

Asking Politely Must Not Have Worked

GENEVA, Ill. (AP) — A 46-year-old man allegedly set his own home on fire in order to get two visitors to leave, police said.

Dean Craig was charged with felony arson after allegedly splashing rubbing alcohol on the floor of the two-story home in Aurora Township and using a lighter to ignite the fire around 1 a.m. May 29, the Kane County Sheriff's office said.

When authorities arrived at Craig's home, which is owned by his mother, it was engulfed in flames, police said. Craig and his two guests were not injured.

Craig allegedly had asked two visitors to leave, but when they refused, he threatened to light his house on fire, police said.

Craig is scheduled to appear in court on June 9.

— Thanks to Out There reader Vernon W.

Landlord Sues Tenants Over Pot Smell

UKIAH, Calif. (AP) — A landlord who gave his tenants permission to grow marijuana has won more than $1,600 in damages because of the stench of the plants.

James Kerr says the smell became overwhelming after his tenants planted 100 marijuana plants last year in their garage next door to his home in Redwood Valley, California.

Kerr says he didn't know his tenants would grow so many plants and was unaware of how the drug smells when it ripens.

Kerr has a medical marijuana card and planted his own supply before discovering the odor problem.

He says the lawsuit wasn't about the right to grow medical marijuana, but instead about neighborly consideration. He says when people grow, they have to be respectful of their neighbors.

Mom Does Daughter's Detention

WINSLOW, Maine (AP) — Standing in for her daughter, Danielle Pelletier spent one hour in detention at Winslow High School (search) last week.

The 39-year-old mother from Vassalboro reported to Room 24 on Friday afternoon, taking the punishment meted out for her daughter's unexcused absence.

Pelletier said she sought to serve the detention herself because she was the one who elected to pull her daughter out of class for a hair-styling appointment a half hour before the school day ended.

Pelletier, a hospital nurse, also said she wanted to protest what she felt was an unjust policy.

"The whole point of this is this shouldn't be happening," she said. "I should be able to come to school and take [my daughter] out when I need to."

School administrators defended their actions, saying the need for an excused absence is spelled out by state law. Pelletier's reason for missing school did not fall under the established criteria, which include personal illness, medical appointments, religious holiday observance, family emergencies, and pre-approved personal or educational purposes.

Principal Douglas Carville said the school showed a proper level of flexibility in its disciplinary policy by allowing the mother, rather than the daughter, to serve the detention.

The detention was a new experience for Pelletier, who said she had never had to serve one when she attended Winslow High School more than two decades ago.

'Underwear Thieves' Strike Back

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Robbers who strike while wearing only underwear, their bodies slathered with oil to make them slippery and harder to catch, have resurfaced in Cambodia.

Two unidentified, underwear-clad burglars robbed homes in the southern province of Takeo on May 30, The Cambodia Daily quoted area police chief Sok Tum as saying.

Police thought they had quashed the "underwear gang" last year, the report said. They apparently wear only underwear in an attempt to make themselves harder to identify.

Residents had started a community watch program to prevent such crimes, Sok Tum said. But "the underwear thieves resurfaced in my region because the villagers stopped," he said.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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