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State news briefs
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DELIVERYMAN CONVICTED OF TRADING FISH FOR CRACK : REDWOOD CITY . (AP) — A former deliveryman for a Northern California seafood company is facing two-and-a-half years in prison for exchanging a load of fish for crack cocaine and abandoning his employer's truck.

Byron Duane Bates pleaded no contest to felony auto theft Tuesday as part of a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop two embezzlement charges.

South San Francisco police say the 44-year-old Bates was supposed to deliver a truckload of fish worth $10,000 to the Sacramento area on Oct. 14. Customers called his employer, the Newport Fish Company, in the afternoon saying their orders had not arrived.

The truck was found abandoned in Oakland four days later with a small amount of rotten fish in it. Bates told police he had traded it away for $400 of crack.

POLICE CAN'T ID WOMAN'S  BODY FOUND IN TRASH CAN: PLEASANTON  (AP) — Police say they still can't positively identify a woman's body found in a trash can on a road near an upscale neighborhood in Pleasanton.

Lt. Jeff Bretzing says a preliminary autopsy was unable to determine an identity and that the body's fingerprints could not immediately be traced through the California Department of Motor Vehicles records.

Police say a man found the woman's body on Thursday inside a 45-gallon plastic container near an upscale housing development.

Bretzing says police are still investigating the incident as a homicide as it has not yet determined the woman's age or ethnicity.

Police also are confident that the body is not Sierra LaMar, the 15-year-old Morgan Hill girl who disappeared on March 16 when she left her home to go to school.

MISSING MAN FOUND DEAD IN POND : SAN JOSE  (AP) — The body of a missing Northern California man has been found in a San Jose percolation pond.

Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies found the body Tuesday morning, less than a day after the man was reported missing.

The San Francisco Chronicle says the cause of death hasn't been determined and the case is being treated as a homicide pending further investigation.

San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer says the man was reported missing Monday evening. His name is being withheld.

ETHICS COMMISSION RULES  FAVOR MAYOR OVER MIRKARIMI: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco ethics commission appears to be leaning more toward rules favoring Mayor Ed Lee in the misconduct case against embattled sheriff Ross Mirkarimi who was suspended after being charged with domestic violence.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the five-member panel on Tuesday indicated that it was ready to side more with procedures favoring Lee as it prepares to hold a fact-finding hearing on the mayor's charges on June 19.

Mirkarimi has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment after being accused of bruising the arm of his wife, Venezuelan actress Eliana Lopez during an argument on New Years' Eve.

Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay. Mirkarimi has vowed to fight for his job.

The commission will issue a recommendation to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors on whether to permanently remove Mirkarimi from office.

COURT SAYS NO PROOF SF TV STATION DISCRIMINATED: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that two veteran San Francisco television reporters who were laid off were not victims of age discrimination.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Tuesday that former KPIX-TV reporters Bill Schechner and John Lobertini failed to offer enough evidence to support their discrimination lawsuit against the station.

The court said that the station explained that general-assignment reporters whose contracts expired the earliest were laid off first and that news anchors and "specialty reporters" were spared to protect the station's image.

The two Emmy-winning reporters were among 14 newsroom employees dismissed in March 2008 in what the station described as a cost-cutting move.

Schechner was 66-years-old at the time, Lobertini was 47-years-old.

The ruling by the appeals court comes after a federal judge dismissed the suit in January 2011.

SCHOOL DISTRICT TO INVESTIGATE PAST SEX ABUSE CASE: MORAGA  (AP) — A Northern California school district says it plans to launch an investigation into the handling of sex abuse allegations against a teacher in the 1990s.

Moraga School District officials told the Contra Costa Times that the probe will explore the roles of former Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School principal Bill Walters and other district employees in handling the claims.

The newspaper recently reported that Walters was aware of the allegations made by students against longtime science teacher Dan Witters but failed to report them.

Witters denied the allegations. He committed suicide in 1996.

Walters remains a principal in the district and announced his retirement in March. He did not return a message left at the school after-hours by The Associated Press, while attempts to reach him at home were unsuccessful.