Around the state
Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2001
Baby girl's body found in trash bin
MIAMI -- A baby girl was found dead Wednesday in a trash bin on Key Biscayne -- the second newborn thrown away in South Florida in a month and at least the fourth in the state this year.
Maintenance workers discovered the body while replacing the trash bin, said Miami-Dade police Sgt. Pete Andreu. A medical examiner hadn't determined the cause of death.
The discovery came less than two weeks after 17-year-old Aimee Lee Weiss was arrested and accused of putting her newborn infant son in a plastic bag on March 26 and throwing the body into a canal in Tamarac, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. She is being held on an open charge of murder.
In February, a newborn baby was found alive, stuffed in a plastic bag and tossed into a Lake Worth back yard. The baby's 15-year-old mother told police she gave birth in a toilet. Also in February, the body of a baby girl was found floating in a Vero Beach ditch. A medical examiner said there was a high probability the baby was alive when thrown into the water.
Last year the Legislature passed a law that allows mothers to leave new babies at hospitals or fire stations with no questions asked, in the hope that infants would not be abandoned in places where they could die.
Judge: Tree cutters need warrant
MIAMI -- The state must get a search warrant before workers can enter a resident's yard to cut down citrus trees infected with canker, a judge ruled Wednesday.
In his order, Circuit Judge Ronald M. Friedman said the statute the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was working under was unconstitutional. By not requiring warrants, the statute violates Fourth Amendment protection against warrantless searches and seizures, the judge said.
The state plans to appeal.
Challenger of racist policy dies
MIAMI -- Charles Thompson, whose stand against a discriminatory tipping policy at a trendy Miami Beach restaurant garnered national attention, has died at age 41.
Thompson, who had worked at American Express as an auditor until late 1999, died April 7 after a lengthy illness that his family would not disclose.
In October 1999, Thompson, who was black, noticed that Thai Toni's restaurant had added a mandatory 15 percent tip to his bill. When he confronted owner Hiromi Takarada and pointed out that white diners' checks did not include a mandatory tip, Takarada replied: "Black people don't tip well." Thompson called police, and Takarada made a similar statement to an officer.
After Thompson filed a lawsuit, protesters picketed the restaurant and the national media picked up the story. Takarada apologized and paid the state a $15,000 fine for violating its anti-discrimination statutes.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times state desk
From the state wire