Jackson, Longtime Federal Judge, Retires

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who oversaw the drug trial of former D.C. mayor Marion Barry and declared Microsoft an illegal monopoly, retired yesterday after 22 years on the bench.

Jackson, a Washington native, Harvard Law School graduate and former naval officer, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the court in 1982. After overseeing Barry's 1990 trial on charges of perjury and cocaine use, he told a law school class at his alma mater that he had never seen a stronger case and was surprised that more jurors did not vote to convict.

In 1999, he ordered the landmark breakup of Microsoft, but his straight-talking criticism of the company's manipulative business practices drew a stinging rebuke from a federal appeals court.

Jackson, 69, had bypass surgery this spring and often warned friends of his looming retirement by noting that he had "no interest in going straight from the courthouse to the cemetery." He said yesterday that he plans to spend time traveling with his wife and enjoying their river home in St. Mary's County with family members. He will become a lawyer of counsel to his old D.C. law firm, Jackson & Campbell.

GU Dormitory Evacuated Because of Fire

An unattended candle ignited curtains and papers in a dormitory on Georgetown University's campus early yesterday, forcing about 250 students to evacuate the building, authorities said.

The fire started about 2:30 a.m. on the eighth floor of the Village C dormitory on the Northwest Washington campus, fire officials said. Students evacuated after smoke alarms began sounding, officials said. No one was injured, and the students were allowed to return in less than two hours.

Fire officials said it was the second fire in a D.C. dormitory in recent weeks. On Aug. 8, a fire in a Catholic University dormitory was caused by discarded smoking materials. Fire officials urged students to be cautious as they return to school, especially when partying and drinking.


Norovirus Again Suspected in College Park

A stomach illness that struck about 60 people in a College Park building last week was probably caused by the highly contagious norovirus, according to the Prince George's County Health Department.

People who work at the private American Center for Physics and faculty members from the University of Maryland's architecture school who used the building for a retreat last week experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

Preliminary tests conducted by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene show that the illnesses were probably caused by the relatively common norovirus.

That is the same virus that sickened about 100 students attending camps on the nearby university campus last month. No link has been found between that outbreak and the illnesses at the American Center for Physics, said Patricia Sullivan of the county Health Department.

No one was hospitalized by the latest illness, and the owners of the building are cleaning it.

All Ride On Buses Will Be Accessible Soon

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) announced yesterday that the county's Ride On bus service will be fully accessible to the disabled by next week.

At a news conference in Shady Grove, Duncan previewed Monday's launch of 15 buses to complete efforts to make the entire fleet accessible by a ramp or a lift.

The new buses will also use compressed natural gas, an alternative fuel used to improve air quality. The county now has 57 buses, about 16 percent of its fleet, that operate on clean-burning fuels.

Pedestrian Killed in Frederick Is Identified

A 29-year-old pedestrian killed in a traffic accident Saturday night on a busy thoroughfare in Frederick was identified by city police as Ramiro Flores.

Flores, a native of El Salvador who lived in the 100 block of Willowdale Drive, died after he was struck by a Chevrolet truck while crossing Route 40 near McCain Drive about 9:30 p.m., Cpl. Michael Pue said. Flores, whose name had been withheld pending notification of relatives, died at Frederick Memorial Hospital, police said.

No charges have been filed in the accident, and Pue declined to release the identity of the truck driver, pending further investigation.

He said police are seeking possible witnesses in another car, possibly a white Chevrolet Cavalier or a dark blue or black sports car with Maryland vanity plates that was spotted in the area of the incident.

the region

Lane of Mixing Bowl Flyover Closed Tonight

One of the lanes on the new Interstate 95 flyover at the Springfield Mixing Bowl will be closed tonight so workers can replace an expansion joint, state transportation officials said.

The joint sits between concrete sections and allows for normal expansion during weather changes. It popped out of place, officials said, causing potential danger to motorcyclists and others. Steven Titunik, spokesman for the Springfield Interchange Project, said the "expansion joint just started to lift up for whatever reason."

Titunik said the left lane would be closed tonight from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The right lane was closed last night.


Board Confirms Tibetan Nun's Asylum

The judicial board that rules in asylum cases has confirmed the granting of asylum to a Tibetan nun named Sonam, who arrived at Dulles International Airport in August 2003 without identification papers and spent several months in a central Virginia jail.

Sonam, 30, who is known by a single name, was released on parole in February while her case was decided. Her grant of asylum by an immigration judge in November was appealed by the Department of Homeland Security. Yesterday's ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals denied that appeal.

In an interview with The Washington Post in January, Sonam said she fled her home village near Mount Everest after seeing family members tortured and friends imprisoned for their faith. She lived three years in Nepal but fled again when the government began sending Tibetan refugees back to China.

Her case attracted the attention of human rights activists, who said she symbolized a problem many immigrants face.

"The water went from waist-high to chin-high in 10 seconds. It was scary. Like in a movie where the hallway fills up with water. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I thought, 'This is it. Don't let me die.' "

-- Adam Johnson, 24, on the wall of water that swept through

a Richmond apartment building Monday. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Carol D. Leonnig, Del Quentin Wilber, Tim Craig, Fredrick Kunkle, Steven Ginsberg, Tom Jackman and Elaine Rivera and the Associated Press.