Residents May Settle, Not Evict Neighbor With Tourette's Syndrome
CHICAGO -- The sleep-deprived neighbors of a man afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, annoyed by his involuntary outbursts of hooting, hollering and stomping feet, argued yesterday that he should be evicted from his condominium.
But when Jeffrey Marthon's lawyers asked a federal judge to block the eviction, lawyers for the condominium association hinted they might back down.
"Within limits, Tourette's disease is more or less controllable," U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur said. But "recent pressures" on Marthon, 52, to suppress his nocturnal tics have only caused them to worsen, he added.
Shadur said he was not unsympathetic to Marthon's neighbors but indicated that some accommodation was required and ordered the two sides to negotiate rather than continue the court fight.
Marthon's lawyer, Ross Bricker, said Marthon, a part-time lawyer, had lived in his suburban Downers Grove apartment for 12 years without complaint until last year, when Paula Beranek moved into the unit directly above.
Marthon's throat-clearing shouts and stomping annoyed Beranek and deprived her of sleep, she said in the association's lawsuit. Marthon's downstairs neighbor also said she was losing sleep and was irritable.
The condo association first threatened Marthon with $200 fines for every noise violation and then filed suit, saying that Marthon's rights as a disabled person should not outweigh the negative impact his tics have on his neighbors' lives.
Tourette's is a neurological disease that triggers involuntary barks, grunts, gestures and sometimes swearing but can be combated with antipsychotic drugs.
California Outlaws `Copycat' Guns
SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Gray Davis signed an assault weapons ban that supporters say is the toughest in the nation. The law outlaws "copycat" weapons that resemble those that have been illegal in the state since 1989.
"Guns have a place in the theater of war; they have no place out on the streets," said Davis, who also signed a bill to limit gun purchases to one a month.
The new law spells out the characteristics of banned weapons, such as magazines that carry more than 10 rounds and other features that allow rapid firing.
Under the old law, the sale, manufacture, import and, in many instances, possession of more than 50 military-style weapons was prohibited. But supporters of the new ban say gunmakers got around the 1989 ban by changing the names of the high-powered firearms and making slight modifications to them. For example, the semiautomatic TEC-9 has been illegal, but the similar TEC-DC9 -- one of the guns used in the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. -- was legal until yesterday.
The National Rifle Association played down the law's impact. All the guns covered could simply have parts removed to make them legal, said Steve Helsley, an NRA state liaison.
Neighbors Bail Out Ex-SLA Member
LOS ANGELES Supporters of a former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive who lived quietly in Minnesota for years raised $1 million in cash to bail her out of jail. People in Minnesota love this woman, said Soliah s attorney, Stuart Hanlon. She was a totally committed person who helped her community. Soliah may be able to post bail when she appears in court Tuesday, Hanlon said. The money was raised by friends, family and neighbors, some of whom took out lines of credit on their homes and borrowed on IRA accounts to get the cash. Kathleen Ann Soliah is accused of placing pipe bombs under two Los Angeles police cars in retaliation for a 1974 shootout with police in which six SLA members were killed. The bombs did not go off. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. The SLA was a radical group that made headlines in the 1970s when it kidnapped heiress Patricia Hearst, who was later imprisoned for taking part in an SLA bank robbery. Soliah, 52, lived as Sara Jane Olson in Minnesota before FBI agents acting on a tip generated by America s Most Wanted captured her last month in St. Paul. Wanted for 23 years, she eventually settled in Minnesota and by all accounts was a law-abiding, socially conscious member of her community, reading to the blind, acting in little theater productions and teaching English to immigrants. She married an emergency room physician and has three daughters.