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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Around the state
Bill jeopardizing alimony for reattached exes is law
By wire services
Published June 11, 2005
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush Friday signed into law a bill allowing judges to cut off alimony when a former spouse decides to move in with a new lover.
The law was inspired by Michael Rice of Tampa, who was forced to continue paying his former wife $5,000 in monthly alimony after she staged an unofficial Las Vegas wedding with her boyfriend. A Hillsborough judge ruled no marriage occurred because Beth Rice never signed a marriage license.
Bush had said the old law was an incentive for couples to live together outside of marriage.
The bill won overwhelming approval in the Legislature, though several women lawmakers called it "antiwoman" and complained it doesn't account for sacrifices many women make for their marriages.
The sponsors argued that it is unfair for people to pay alimony while a former spouse is enjoying life with someone else.
The new law takes effect immediately. It could take a few court cases to sort out whether it applies to existing alimony agreements. Lawyers for Mrs. Rice said they do not think it applies to their case, but Michael Rice has said he thinks it will help him.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, and Rep. Ed Bullard, D-Miami, after they read a St. Petersburg Times story about the Rices.
Top civil rights official to become U.S. attorney
MIAMI - The top civil rights official in the Justice Department is leaving that post to become the interim U.S. attorney in Miami, officials said Friday.
R. Alexander Acosta, 36, will take over as South Florida's top federal prosecutor for Marcos Daniel Jimenez, who is leaving for private law practice. Acosta, a Miami native, has served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division since August 2003, the first Hispanic to hold that job.
Under him, the division sought to crack down on human traffickers and focus on enforcement of voting rights laws, among other initiatives.
Acosta also made international headlines last year when he decided to reopen the investigation of the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago who was killed while visiting relatives in Mississippi. The failure of Mississippi authorities to convict anyone in the deaths became a rallying point for the civil rights movement in the South.
Acosta will serve on an interim basis as U.S. attorney until President Bush names a permanent successor, which could take months. Acosta would figure to be a leading candidate for the permanent job.
Three teenagers indicted in killing of homeless man
DAYTONA BEACH - A grand jury indicted three teenagers Thursday on charges of first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the beating death last month of a homeless man in Holly Hill.
Jeffery Spurgeon, Justin Stearns and Christopher Scamahorn worked together to "strike, beat, kick, stomp, strike with sticks and other objects and attack" 53-year-old Michael Roberts repeatedly until he was dead, according to the indictment.
State Attorney John Tanner said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty for Spurgeon and Stearns, who are both 18. Scamahorn, 14, is not eligible for the death penalty.
Roberts was beaten three times over a two-hour period on May 25. His body remained in a woods until the mother of one of the teenagers called authorities three days later.
Scamahorn and Spurgeon told Volusia County sheriff's investigators they attacked Roberts for fun.