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Police: Interracial-Custody Couple Involved in Stabbing

April 23, 1985

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ An interracial couple whose child-custody battle went to the U.S. Supreme Court got into a domestic squabble that left the husband hospitalized with a stab wound, police records show.

Clarence Palmore, 28, was in good condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital Tuesday with a stab wound to the chest, according to hospital officials.

He was wounded Sunday in a fight with his wife Linda, 39, while their car was stopped at an intersection, according to police reports. Palmore said he was stabbed with a small folding knife.

But Mrs. Palmore denied stabbing her husband and accused him of bruising her wrist, according to records of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department.

Both signed waivers, declining to prosecute each other.

When she filed for divorce from Palmore in December, Mrs. Palmore claimed he had beaten her several times during their three-year marriage.

The marriage to Palmore, who is black, cost Mrs. Palmore, who is white, custody of her daughter by a previous marriage, 7-year-old Melanie Sidoti.

In 1982, Tampa Judge Morrison Buck gave custody of Melanie to her father, Anthony Sidoti, saying it was inevitable that the child would ″suffer from social stigmatization that is sure to come″ because of the interracial marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision a year ago, saying race should never have entered into it.

But a Tampa judge transferred the case to a Texas court because Melanie has lived in that state with her father since 1983, and the Texas court will make the final decision on who should get custody of the child.

″The relationship between the two of them has no effect on the custody proceedings until it has an effect on the child,″ John Hawtrey, a Texas attorney representing Melanie’s father, said of the Palmores’ divorce proceedings and domestic dispute.

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