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Published: Saturday, March 26 2011 11:13 p.m. MDT

Man freed after 21 years in prison

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco man whose murder conviction was overturned has been ordered released from prison after more than 20 years behind bars.

A judge ruled Friday that 43-year-old Maurice Caldwell be set free after prosecutors who wanted to retry him discovered evidence in the case had been destroyed.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charles Haines says that evidence was needed to assure Caldwell a fair trial.

Caldwell had spent 21 years behind bars in the fatal 1990 shooting of Judy Acosta when Haines overturned his conviction last year. Haines said Caldwell hadn't received an effective defense.

Acosta was allegedly shot over a drug deal gone bad at a San Francisco public housing project.

Acosta's cousin, Raelyn Acosta, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the family still believes Caldwell is guilty.

Flare-ups expected as crews battle wildfires

ATLANTA (AP) — Crews battling three wildfires across Georgia were expecting winds to cause flare-ups.

Georgia Forestry Commission spokesman Eric Mosley said Saturday that firefighters were working to get control of three blazes across southeastern Georgia.

Mosley said fires were expected to flare-up in the afternoon and evening when the wind from approaching storms drives embers into new areas.

The blaze in Clinch County has burned 16,000 acres, while the blaze in Bacon and Ware counties has consumed around 13,600 acres. A smaller blaze in Long County has burned about 4,000 acres and three homes.

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency Friday because of the fires.

Union law published despite court order

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans insist that the anti-union law that sparked weeks of protests at the state Capitol takes effect Saturday because a state office published it online.

This despite a court order barring the law's publication while legal challenges to its legitimacy are weighed.

The saga surrounding Gov. Scott Walker's push to strip most public employees of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights took another unexpected, and confusing, turn Friday when the Legislative Reference Bureau posted the law online despite the court order.

The bureau's director says the posting was a procedural step and does mean the law takes effect. But Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald disagrees.

Former Boston mayor is theft victim

BOSTON (AP) — Police say that a cross and rosary beads blessed by the late Pope John Paul II were among items taken during a break-in at the south Boston home of Raymond Flynn, the city's former mayor and a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Flynn tells the Boston Globe the break-in happened Thursday after he and his wife, Catherine, left for a funeral.

He says other stolen items include letters from Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, South African President Nelson Mandela and baseball great Ted Williams. Jewelry, coins, a computer and an iPod also were taken.

Police say the burglar or burglars possibly might have pried open the front door.

Flynn was Boston's mayor from 1984 to 1993, and was a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to 1997.

Man surrenders on TV in shooting

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The suspect in a Georgia police officer's slaying is behind bars after police allowed him to surrender on live TV in exchange for freeing hostages at an Athens apartment.

Jamie Hood walked out of the apartment late Friday night shirtless and among five of the nine adults and children he had held captive for hours as he negotiated with authorities. His surrender ended a four-day manhunt for the 33-year-old felon who police say killed one officer and wounded another Tuesday.

Hood was immediately swarmed by tactical officers in green fatigues wielding high-powered guns. He did not resist.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said Hood "was convinced he was going to be killed by law enforcement" and demanded the live TV news broadcast to give up peacefully.

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