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FEDERAL APPEALS COURT WON'T REVERSE FINES AGAINST 3 PRO-LIFE PROTESTERS

A federal appeals court in New York City has refused to strike down $30,000 in fines against three local pro-life supporters who were found by a judge to have engaged in improper conduct during demonstrations at abortion clinics.

Nancy Walker of Lancaster, Bonnie Behn of Cheektowaga and Carla Raniero Goss of Grand Island will not be excused from paying their fines, the Second Circuit of the U.S. Appeals Court ruled in a decision obtained Friday by The Buffalo News.

Chief Circuit Judge Thomas J. Meskill wrote that, at this point, the appeals court has no authority to overturn the contempt-of-court rulings and fines issued against the women last year by Richard J. Arcara, a district judge in Buffalo.

Mrs. Behn and Mrs. Goss were fined $10,000 each last August after Arcara found they had harassed women outside the Buffalo GYN Womenservices Clinic on Main Street in October 1990.

Last July, Arcara fined Mrs. Walker $10,000 for her conduct at a November 1990 protest outside an Amherst abortion clinic, and also during a December 1990 protest outside a Buffalo clinic.

Arcara ordered the women to pay their fines to the abortion clinics, but so far, none of the women has paid, said Lucinda Finley, an attorney for the Pro-Choice Network of Western New York.

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