Calif. Coastal Agency

Ruled Constitutional

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of the state's Coastal Commission, avoiding a ruling that could have upended three decades of land-use decisions along the 1,100-mile coastline.

The justices unanimously held that the makeup of the commission does not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine -- the theory that the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government must not venture outside their areas.

Eight of the 12 commissioners are appointed by the legislature, the rest by the governor.

The commission, established by ballot measure in 1972 and made permanent under a 1976 law, makes key decisions on coastal development, public access, offshore drilling and conservation.

* BROOKSVILLE, Fla. -- Jessica Lunsford was buried alive after investigators missed a chance to save the 9-year-old when they visited the house where a convicted sex offender was keeping her in a closet, according to court documents. John Couey, who is charged with her murder and kidnapping, told detectives that he kept Jessica alive for three days, during which investigators came to the house where he was hiding her.

* A Pakistani man has been charged in Baltimore with lying about his citizenship to land tanker jobs, authorities said. A federal grand jury indicted Mansoor Hassan on Tuesday on six counts of making false statements about his citizenship . Authorities said there was no indication of any terrorist links. The case came to light as authorities announced the arrest in Illinois of six illegal immigrants who fraudulently obtained commercial driver's licenses that let them haul hazardous materials.

* CONCORD, N.H. -- The FBI released an audiotape of Manuel Gehring describing the spot along Interstate 80 in the Midwest where he buried the bodies of his two children. The FBI posted the tape and a transcript on its Web site. Gehring could not remember the spot, and last year he strangled himself.

* SACRAMENTO -- Maj. Duane W. Dively, 43, of Rancho Cordova, Calif., the pilot killed while returning to base in the United Arab Emirates this week, was an Air Force veteran who bypassed retirement because he loved to fly, his brother David said.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports