Quoth the jury, 'Never mower'

A mathematician-physicist who hasn't mowed his lawn in 14 years won the right to let it grow as wild as he wants.

''You mean he can keep it that way?'' asked an incredulous Frank Paone, a next-door neighbor who has been trying since 1968 to get Abul Sayied to clean up his overgrown yard. Mr. Sayied explained his lawn was meant to grow naturally and would need all sorts of chemicals to maintain it if it were neatly clipped.

Mr. Paone, who says he works hard on his own manicured lawn, eventually complained to the city health board, and criminal charges were brought by the city against Mr. Sayied last year for alleged violation of the state sanitary code.

But a jury that heard evidence in the case Tuesday returned an innocent verdict 30 minutes after the two-hour trial ended, thus sparing his vegetation -- now growing above the second-story window - from the dreaded hedge clippers.

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