The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on January 4, 2000 · Page 53
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 53

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Tuesday, January 4, 2000
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Page 53
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EPA suggests 65 cut in phosphorus runoff to Lake 0 IN ACCENT Back to yesteryear IN SPORTS Parcclls quits Jets; Bovvden hopes Sugar tastes sweet LOCAL NEWS, IB WEATHER: Partly cloudy and mild. High 82, low 59. FOKECAST ON BACK PAGE OF SPORTS he Palm Beach Post , TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2000 a 50 PAGES 35 CENTS ;grr Mm Grandparents' case far-reaching The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide whether judges should grant visitation rights if a child's parents object. parents, and sometimes others, to seek court-ordered visitation under various circumstances. On Jan. 12, the justices will consider one of the more far-reaching variants, a Washington state law that permits anyone, without any defined relationship to the child, to petition for visiting rights and to succeed if the family court concludes that visitation would be in the child's best interest. The Washington Supreme Court con- By Linda GreenhouM 1m Hew York Timet WASHINGTON - A Supreme Court case on whether grandparents, other relatives and certain nonrelatives should be able to gain a court-ordered right to visit with children over the parents' objection has opened the door to a profound debate over the very definition of family. In recent years, all 50 states have adopted grandparents' rights laws, permitting grand- eluded in a 1998 decision that the law violated "a parent's constitutionally protected right to rear his or her children without state interference." In the absence of any indication that visitation was necessary to prevent harm to the child, the parents' rights were "fundamental" and should not be overridden, the state court said, adding that "the parents should be the ones to choose whether to expose their children to certain people or ideas." The justices' decision three months ago Hease see VISITATION, 8A What is family? The Supreme Court case, Troxel vs. Granville, opens the door to debate over the very definition of family. Tht Issue: A Washington state law that permits anyone to petition for visiting rights to a child, even If they do not have any defined relationship to the child. They gain visiting rights if the family court concludes that visitation would be In the child's best Interest. How it started: A husband and wife brought an appeal seeking to regain access to their late son's young daughters. Croups that have gotten Involved: The AARP (representing the older generation), the American Center for Law and Justice (representing the Christian right) and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (representing gay rights groups). Relieved: 'I have a real identity now,' Chalek said. -7 Judge OKs man's request to overturn his adoption Michael Chalek wanted no. more ties to his abusive adoptive parents. By Jenny Staletovich Palm Brot h Post Staff Writer Nearly all his life, Michael Chalek hated the abusive people who adopted him, bottling up his bitterness like poison, never expecting that one good thing would come of the rotten childhood they provided him. ; In fact, he wasn't completely happy until he was completely rid of them. ! On Monday, Chalek, 48, learned that a Gainesville judge granted an annulment of the adopUon that a Jacksonville black market baby dealer brokered in 1952 for $200, perhaps marking the tes v an ad0Ptecl "v 7 child has managed to ' invalidate his own i ' adoption. Largely sym- ll bolic, the order allows if - i ri, I Chalek to amend his birth certificate to include the names of his birth parents and his name at birth, Michael Edward Higginbotham ; Yarber. "I have a real identity now," he said. "I'm almost equal to an average American where I have rights." More importantly, Chalek, who moved from Boca Raton to Colorado last year, hopes his case will make it easier for other adoptees to unseal their birth records. "It's going to . . . remove the mean albatross hanging around my neck all these years, but also clear a pathway for all these other adoptees." In his order, Circuit Judge Maurice Giunta noted that he did not make his finding carelessly. "The public policy of this state is to protect and respect the privacy of those who so generously decide, for whatever reason, to give to a child the gift of the opportunity to achieve Please see ANNULLED ADOPTION, 8A Feds say employers liable for safety in home offices .Rough start for peace talks -t :7- i 0 I I I 9 I ! r:? f ' - w. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS President Clinton speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (left) and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa before the start of talks Monday. Clinton fails to bring both sides face to face By Bob Deans Palm Beach Post Washington Bureau SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. Israeli-Syrian peace talks suffered an early setback late Monday, when unexpected divisions forced President Clinton to scrub plans for bringing both sides together in face-to-face talks. The move amounted to a diplomatic stutter step in the opening of Israeli president threatened by money scandal 3A negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa. After Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spent all afternoon and several hours into the night trying to pull both delegations together, the president was forced to pivot He met into the night with Sharaa instead, as Albright spent additional time with Barak. That's a tactic diplomats refer to as "proximity talks," employed when animosities between foes are deemed so great that bringing them directly together runs the risk of doing more harm than good. Clinton met with Sharaa until after 10:30 p.m. and was expected to board the presidential helicopter, Marine One, shortly after the meeting broke up for the half-hour flight back to Washington, leaving the sensitive talks in Albright's hands. It wasn't certain when Clinton might return, though White House Please see TALKS, 10A The Washington Post : WASHINGTON Companies that allow employees to work at home are responsible for federal health and safety violations that occur at the home work site, according to a Labor Department advisory. The decision covers millions of people, not only the estimated 19.6 million adult workers who regularly telecommute from their homes to their jobs, but also mil- lions more who work at home occasionally even the parent who has to dash out of the office to be with a sick child and finishes a memo at home. "If an employer is allowing it to happen, it is covered," said Charles Jeffress, the assistant secretary of labor in charge of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which issued the advisory in response to a request from one employer in Texas. The advisory is not a proposed rule, b'lt rather a decimation of existing policy the agehcy deems already to be in effect. OSHA spent more than two years formulating its written response on the work-at-home issue. Although the advisory does not provide specifics, in effect it means that employers are responsible for making sure an employee has economically correct furniture, such as chairs and computer tables, as well as proper lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation systems in the home office. The employer must also provide any needed training to comply with OSHA standards, including making sure the home work space has emergency medical plans and a first-aid kit "This is nuts. They're trying to match a 30-year-old law with a year 2000 work force," said Pat Geary, vice president of human resources policies at the National Association of Manufacturers. "The law doesn't contemplate everyone painting their banisters yellow." 4 Please see OSHA, 6A Inside Taking control Russian President Vladimir Putin fires Boris Yeltsin's daughter. STORY, 3A ANN & ABBY 2D BUSINESS 5B CLASSIFIEDS 10C COMICS 6D DEATHS 4B EDITORIALS 12A HOROSCOPE 2D CROSSWORDS LOTTERY PEOPLE SCORES ' STOCKS THEATERS TV LISTINGS WEATHER 2A 2A 9C 6B 40 5D 18C SECTIONS CD Online Title time Preview tonight's FSU-Virginia Tech match, pick the win ner and get score updates. GoPBI.com FOR HOME DELIVERY SERVICE 820-4663 1-800-654-1231 Copyright 2000 Palm Beach Pott VoL 91 No. 232 4Mctions I280?1"10000I The high price of killing killers Death penalty prosecutions cost taxpayers millions annually; ByS.V.Date Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau TALLAHASSEE What price for vengeance on society's worst killers? In Florida, try $51 million a year. That, according to a Palm Beach Post estimate, is how much Florida spends each year to enforce the death penalty above and beyond what it would cost to punish all first-degree murderers with life in prison without parole. And at the rate at which Florida is executing its killers (there have been only 44 since executions resumed in 1979), it's costing about $24 million per electrocuted murderer. "That is an astounding figure," said Mike McCarron, executive director of the Florida Catholic Conference and, on behalf of the church, a perennial death penalty opponent. "It's costing the state of Florida a smaltyfortune," said Elliott Metcalfe, president of the Florida Public Defenders Association a Ad; failure Execution Last of three parts Future of many state legislators may be tied to special session on death penalty. . 10A and the public defender in Sarasota and Manatee counties. "It is much cheaper to put these people in prison and leave them there until they die. Simple as that" According to the Posts estimate, it is about $23 million cheaper, even for an inmate who is imprisoned in his 20s and dies in his 70s. The Posts figure was derived using estimates of how much time prosecutors and public de fenders at the trial courts and the' Florida Supreme Court, which devotes approximately half its time to death penalty cases, spend on the extra work needed in capital cases. It accounts also for the time and effort expended on defendants who are tried but convicted of a lesser murder charge and whose death sentences are overturned on appeal as well as those handful of condemned inmates who are actually executed. ; And while the actual cost of prosecuting, convicting and executing an individual killer in Florida has been estimated at' about $3.2 million, some law-; makers contend the death penal-; ty is worth whatever it takes. ; "Can you put a price on jus-; tice?" asked Katie Baur, spokes woman for House Speaker John Thrasher. "We have no qualms about that whatsoever." Sen. Locke Burt, R-Ormond J : Please see EXECUTION, 10A

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