Tony Alleyne, 50, recently placed his small Leicestershire, England, apartment on the market for the equivalent of $1.7 million, a price he said was realistic because he has spent nearly 10 years crafting the premises as a finely detailed model of the "Star Trek" starship Enterprise. Included, according to an April report in Australia's Herald Sun, are a life-size transporter control, a gigantic warp core drive, voice-activated lighting and security, and an infinity mirror. "If you're going to do something," he said, "you have to go all the way." Alleyne said he started the project as therapy when his wife walked out on him.
Tough to swallow
Connecticut's Supreme Court heard arguments in April on a rather fine point in "Miranda warning" law: whether the police can use a drug suspect's vomit against him (or at least use the eight bags of heroin that came up with the vomit). Arresting officers apparently asked suspect Vincent Betances if he had just swallowed heroin, and Betances (without a Miranda warning) said that he had, leading officers to summon medical help. Betances now says the officers' question was unconstitutional "interrogation," even though without immediate treatment, he could have died.
In December, a judge in Fort Myers, Fla., cleared immigration lawyer Maria Lara Peet, 40, to practice again, excusing her theft of $73,000 from a client the year before, as long as she paid it back. Peet was found to have been mentally ill at the time of the theft but competent to practice law again a year later. Several years before that, she had been involuntarily hospitalized for a mental illness.
The CIA convened an open panel of scientists in January to discuss potential terrorist uses of life-science research, and the panel concluded that, despite the risks, openness in scientific study was absolutely crucial; in April, the CIA suppressed the panel's conclusions on openness as classified. And in March, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia accepted an award by the Cleveland City Club for his contributions to freedom of speech, which Scalia said he would be glad to accept at the club's meeting provided no television or radio coverage was allowed.
Wash and whacks
Lisandro Mateo, 16, and Justine Hayes-Hurley, 18, were charged with criminal mischief in Central Islip, N.Y., in March after vandalizing a car. The car belongs to Winston Hill, 20, whom each girl thought was her exclusive boyfriend until the girls began innocently discussing their love lives at school and realized they were both talking about the same man, at which point they decided to touch up Hill's windshield and paint job with hedge clippers.
Heredity theory got a boost in March when CNN reported that Mr. Shirl Mitchell, 83, the father of accused Elizabeth Smart abductor Brian Mitchell, blamed himself for the way Brian turned out. Shirl said he showed Brian sexually explicit photos at age 7, which perhaps provoked Brian's arrest years later for indecently exposing himself to a 3-year-old girl. Shirl also described himself as a voyeur and the author of a thick two-volume personal theology that is sexually explicit, dealing largely with diet and reproduction (and having nothing to do with Brian's own tract that authorities found when they arrested him for the abduction).
A February Boston Globe dispatch from Guangzhou, China, reported that a recent favorite tactic of employees who are owed back-pay is not to sue but rather to make serious attempts to commit suicide in public; said one construction worker who dangled from a high-rise, "There was no other way to get what the company owed us." And a 22-year-old man robbed a bank in Cleveland on March 12 by walking up to a teller and sticking a gun in his own mouth, threatening to kill himself if he didn't get the money. (Five days later the man was shot to death after he pulled a gun on an Akron, Ohio, police officer.)
A student at George Washington High School, Charleston, W.Va. (who was not identified because of his age), was disciplined after he accidentally wedged himself in behind the shower wall in the girls' locker room, after allegedly taking a choice vantage point for peeping. Virtually immobile, the boy waited until school was out for the day and called his father on his cell phone. The father went to the gym and rescued the boy but later turned him in.
Banned played on
The school board that governs Lombardy, Ontario, acceded to the request of an offended parent in February and removed the word "gun" from a primary-school spelling test. Also in February, the head teacher at the Park Road nursery school in West Yorkshire, England, issued instructions that "The Three Little Pigs" and other stories featuring pigs were not be used, in order to avoid offending Muslims. The Muslim Council of Britain immediately denounced the decision, and the instructions were rescinded.