The week in review
Worst showing for the insanity defense: Teen sniper Lee Boyd Malvo is found guilty in the capital murder of FBI agent Linda Franklin December 18.
Best showing for the insanity defense: A federal judge rules that would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley, 48, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity of attempting to kill Ronald Reagan, may be allowed unsupervised outings from St. Elizabeth's Hospital, where he's been confined since 1982.
Most dubious product endorsement: Doodler Malvo draws with stab-proof plastic pencils in court, a product that will be marketed to jails and prisons.
Worst development for the King of Pop: Michael Jackson is formally charged with seven counts of child molestation.
Best popularity boost: President George Bush's approval rating leaps nine points from 54 to 63 percent following the capture of Saddam Hussein, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows.
Best boosts for the 5th and 6th Amendments: Two different federal appeals courts rule December 18 that the U.S. cannot indefinitely detain prisoners without formal charges and access to lawyers. One case involves Jose Padilla, an American citizen held for 19 months without access to a lawyer after the government declared him an "enemy combatant." The other case concerns the 660 alleged al Qaeda and Taliban detainees who've been held for two years at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Best paternity acknowledgement: The family of the late Senator Strom Thurmond admits that the former Dixiecrat who ran for the presidency on a segregationist platform is indeed the father of a mixed-race woman, 78-year-old Essie Mae Washington-Williams.
Best luck of the draw: The Reverend Al Sharpton will be listed first on the ballot for Virginia's Democratic presidential primary on February 10.
Best proof that revenge is a dish best served cold: Crozet businessman Lyle Wagner pleads guilty to the June torching of his wife's piano and in turn, their house as revenge for her charging him with assault.
Best clue that it was the meth, man: Michael David Keys, who led Augusta and Albemarle police on a chase in July 2002 while driving a 30-foot motor home with a seven-year-old child inside, is sentenced to 295 months in prison for drugs and firearms possession. Augusta drops chase charges.
Worst sentence for animal cruelty: Louisa County resident Dennis Powell is found guilty of starving his cattle and is sentenced to a year in jail and a $500 fine December 18, Braxton Williams reports in the Daily Progress.
Best option for careless lovers: Two Food and Drug Administration advisory panels recommend that a morning after pill called Plan B should be available over the counter without a prescription.
Most predictable response from Delegate Robert Marshall: The man who pressured JMU to stop dispensing contraceptives calls the FDA advisory panels "a bunch of Orwellian doctors who want to accommodate the sexual appetites of frathouse playboys," according to WINA.
Best reason to no longer wear sunglasses when approaching Best Buy at night: The company has agreed to dim the wattage, Mayor Maurice Cox tells WINA.
Best glimpse of Senator John Warner's gams: Liz Taylor's ex, wearing a kilt, marries his third bride, Jeanne Vander Myde, December 15 at the National Cathedral.
Best illustration of how hard it was for man to take flight: The replica of the Wright brothers' plane gets stuck in the mud at the Kitty Hawk 100th-anniversary celebration.