NATION: Anthony judge wants records law changed

Anthony judge wants records law changed

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The judge in the Casey Anthony case has urged the Florida Legislature to change the state's laws to keep jurors' names secret in high-profile cases, especially when they might receive threats because of a verdict.

Judge Belvin Perry wrote in an order that releasing the names of jurors ''makes a mockery'' of Florida's privacy law, but a public records advocate said Wednesday that people have more faith in a transparent process.

Perry has delayed releasing jurors' names in the Anthony case until October, in part because the panel, along with Anthony, received threats after Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Police: Sailboat too crowded in fatal Calif. mishap

SAN DIEGO -- Too many people were on board a sailboat that capsized and killed two passengers during an outing in San Diego Bay for people with special needs, police said Wednesday.

The disclosure came after an investigation by the San Diego Harbor Police determined the 26-foot sailboat tipped in March because of the number of people on board and the condition of the vessel and its equipment.

The boat was carrying 10 people.

Prosecutors reviewed the findings and were not filing criminal charges.

Re-enactor faces federal weapons charge

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- An Old West gunbattle re-enactor who injured three South Dakota tourists when live ammunition was fired instead of blanks faces a federal weapons charge because he should not have been carrying a gun since he's a convicted felon, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The tourists were hit during the June 17 reenactment staged by the Dakota Wild Bunch, who use blanks when they perform several times a week on a street in Hill City, a tourist town in South Dakota's Black Hills.

The bullets shattered a leg bone of Carrol Knutson, 65, of Birchwood, Minn.; hit the forearm and elbow of John Ellis, 48, an optometrist from South Connellsville, Penn.; and caused minor injuries to Jose Pruneda, 53, of Alliance, Neb.

FAA shutdown complicated by debt showdown

WASHINGTON -- The struggle to reach a debt deal is hindering efforts to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, which dragged into its fifth day Wednesday in a partisan standoff between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., hasn't taken steps to force a vote on a bill that's necessary to restore the agency's operating authority in part because he doesn't want to tie up the Senate in what could be a time-consuming fight, a leadership aide said. Reid wants to keep the Senate's agenda clear for a quick vote if negotiators settle on a debt deal, said the aide, who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Democrats also aren't hurrying to force passage of an FAA bill because they expect House Republicans to reject it, the aide said.

Health care lawsuit reaches Supreme Court

WASHINGTON -- A conservative law firm asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to strike down the health care overhaul, challenging the first federal appeals court ruling that upheld President Barack Obama's signature domestic initiative.

The appeal filed by the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., said Congress overstepped its authority in requiring Americans to purchase health insurance or pay financial penalties.

Last month, a divided three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected the center's argument in upholding the centerpiece of the law, the insurance requirement.

Pentagon clears 3-star general of alleged misdeed

WASHINGTON -- The three-star Army general in charge of training Afghan security forces has been cleared of allegations that he improperly used soldiers trained in psychological operations to influence American senators to get more money for the war.

The office of the Defense Department inspector general wrote in a memorandum dated July 22 that it agreed with an Army probe that concluded that the allegations against Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV were not substantiated.