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AROUND THE STATE

Mafia pair acquitted of officer's slaying

NEW YORK (AP) -- A reputed Mafia boss and a co-defendant were convicted Wednesday on racketeering charges. But in a blow to the government, they were acquitted of the most shocking crime in their federal case: the unsolved gangland slaying of an off-duty New York Police Department officer in 1997.

A jury delivered the mixed verdict for the defendants -- Thomas "Tommy Guns" Gioeli, the reputed former boss of the Colombo crime family, and reputed mob soldier Dino "Little Dino" Saracino -- on its fifth day of deliberations in federal court in Brooklyn.

Gioeli, 59, had been charged in a total of six murders, including that of Officer Ralph Dols, dating to the 1990s. Jurors found that he and Saracino were involved in murder plots but also concluded that prosecutors failed to prove they actually killed Dols or the others.

The two defendants face up to 20 years in prison at sentencing on Sept. 14.

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Chancellor calls errors on tests 'inexcusable'

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York State schools Chancellor Merryl Tisch said Wednesday the nearly 30 mistakes that have turned up on standardized tests that students took last month are "really disturbing" and "inexcusable."

But Tisch said the results will still be used for teacher evaluations because the errors did not contaminate the results.

Tisch spoke at a Crain's New York breakfast in Manhattan after published reports said there were 20 translation errors on the foreign-language versions of state math tests.

The education company Pearson has a $32 million contract with the state to develop tests. Pearson was already under fire for errors on math tests and for a reading passage about a talking pineapple.