Residents, Interns Vote for Union

BOSTON--Residents and interns at a private Boston hospital voted last night to have their union membership recognized under federal law, a move that could set a precedent for 96,000 other U.S. doctors-in-training.

A 177 to 1 vote for the Committee of Interns and Residents at Boston Medical Center marked the first time residents and interns at a private hospital voted for federally protected union representation.

The hospital had recognized the 430 interns and residents as union members, but they did not have the protection of federal labor law before yesterday's vote, which was made possible with a groundbreaking ruling from the National Labor Relations Board.

The board ruled last month that doctors-in-training who provide basic care at many of the nation's private hospitals have the same rights as other workers to form unions, negotiate working conditions and go on strike. For 23 years, the board had held that residents and interns are primarily students and have no collective bargaining rights.

Civil Rights Scion Convicted of Fraud

ATLANTA--Former state senator Ralph David Abernathy III was convicted of fraud charges that could put the son of the late civil rights leader in prison for years.

A jury convicted Abernathy of defrauding the state of $13,000 with false expense vouchers, forging names and trying to get an employee to cover it up. An earlier trial ended in a hung jury.

Several black political leaders had earlier threatened to try to vote state Attorney General Thurbert Baker out of office over his prosecution of Abernathy, a son of a close associate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

"The thought that we have singled anybody out is absurd," said Baker, Georgia's first black attorney general.

The judge during the first trial considered but decided against a mistrial after Coretta Scott King and her sons, with an entourage including the Rev. Al Sharpton, passed among the jurors.

Internet Rape Conviction Overturned NEW YORK--An appeals court overturned the conviction of a Columbia University graduate student who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for kidnapping and sexually torturing a college student he met on the Internet.

The state appellate court ruled that the trial judge incorrectly applied the state's Rape Shield Law, damaging the ability of Oliver Jovanovic to properly defend himself.

It found that Jovanovic should have been allowed to show a jury online conversations and e-mail in which the woman he is accused of attacking indicated an interest in participating in sadomasochism.

Jovanovic, 32, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after he was convicted in 1998 of kidnapping, sodomy, sex abuse and assault charges for luring a Barnard College sophomore to his apartment on Nov. 22, 1996.