Woman who claims sex assault appeals to state Supreme Court

ATLANTA - Attorneys for a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by a member of a prominent Georgia family said Monday that they will ask the state Supreme Court to hear the civil case.

But the lawyer for the alleged assailant said the high court would refuse to hear it for procedural reasons, not to mention the facts involved.

Melanie Ross said that as a student at Mercer University in Macon, she had a brief relationship with Daniel Day, the son of state Rep. Burke Day, whose family founded the Days Inn hotel chain. Not long after, in January 2003, Ross said, she encountered him at a party.

Ross said she awoke the next morning with injuries a doctor associated with a sexual attack, and after local authorities took no action, she filed a sexual battery lawsuit.

Superior Court Judge Phillip Brown of Bibb County dismissed her claims.

""We were stunned by the trial court decision,' Amanda Farahany, one of Ross' lawyers, said Monday.

Georgia Supreme Court denies Troy Davis appeal

ATLANTA - The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday again rejected a death row inmate's request for a new trial, even though several witnesses who testified against the condemned man have recanted.

Troy Davis was convicted of gunning down a Savannah police officer in 1989.

In March, the state's top court denied Davis a new trial by a 4-3 vote. On Monday, the justices rejected Davis' appeal for them to reconsider that decision. The vote was again 4-3.

Writing for the majority, Justice Harold Melton said the new evidence was not enough to force a new trial. The court cannot disregard the jury's original verdict, he wrote.

The decision drew a rebuke from Amnesty International, the human rights group that has worked to draw media and public attention to the case.

TVA: drought easing with recent rain

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The drought is easing because of rain this year, a Tennessee Valley Authority official says.

At the start of 2008, rainfall totals were 19 inches below normal. That's now down to 2.5 inches, thanks to the recent rains.

""We're still making up those dry deficits, but we are beginning to gain on it,' said TVA spokesman David Bowling, who manages the agency's River Forecast Center.

He told WBIR-TV he's cautiously optimistic about the outlook.

""If we continue to see a couple of inches of rain a week, something like that, we will continue to fill our reservoirs to our June 1 target levels,' Bowling said.