tagged w/ Law & Justice
Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison has a comprehensive piece online detailing the relationship between WikiLeaks and The Guardian. The story gives an up-close look at how Julian Assange provided his leaked cache of classified documents on Afghanistan, Iraq, and U.S. diplomacy to the British newspaper and other news organizations last year.
The alliance between the old-media outlet and the Web-driven document clearinghouse proved rocky at times. It grew particularly strained recently after the paper turned its lens on Assange. (This was pretty much the same dynamic that upended WikiLeaks' relationship with the New York Times.)
What's more, Ellison notes, the Guardian and WikiLeaks were by no means committed to a shared agenda or pursuing common journalistic aims just because each organization wanted to make information public:
The partnership between The Guardian and WikiLeaks brought together two desperately ambitious organizations that happen to be diametric opposites in their approach to reporting the news. One of the oldest newspapers in the world, with strict and established journalistic standards, joined up by one of the newest in a breed of online muckrakers, with no standards at all except fealty to an ideal of 'transparency'—that is, dumping raw material into the public square for people to pick over as they will. It is very likely that neither [Guardian editor-in-chief] Alan Rusbridger nor Julian Assange fully understood the nature of the other's organization when they joined forces."
Ellison's account offers a great tick-tock chronology of last year's set of WikiLeaks dumps, together with several revelations regarding WikiLeaks' media strategy.
How The Guardian got involved: Reporter Nick Davies has written about his involvement with Assange before, but Ellison adds new details to the timeline. In June, Davies read a short Guardian piece on the arrest of Bradley Manning, the army private who's believed to be a principal WikiLeaks source and who's been kept in solitary confinement since his detainment. Davies was determined to track Manning down. Davies learned Assange would be in Brussels, so Brussels-based Guardian reporter Ian Traynor spoke with the WikiLeaks chief and learned he had two million documents. Davies headed to Brussels and "went to the Hotel Leopold, woke up Assange, and began a conversation that lasted for the next six hours."
How the New York Times got involved: Davies and Assange discussed bringing in the Times while in Brussels, and back in London, Rusbridger called Times executive editor Bill Keller. Times reporter Eric Schmitt flew to London to see the material, reported it was genuine, and the Times came aboard. Assange then brought in Der Spiegel on his own.
How Channel 4 got involved, and Assange split with Davies: In July, Assange provided Britain's Channel 4 network with the Afghanistan documents. Ellison writes that Davies was "livid" over the breach of Assange's presumed first-look arrangement with The Guardian and that the two haven't spoken again. (Slate's Jack Shafer has a good take on Vanity Fair piece, including the expectations reporters sometimes have for the sources they've "cultivated.")
How The Guardian got the cables from Assange: Investigative editor David Leigh agreed to a delay in publishing articles related to the Iraq documents because Assange wanted to bring in the nonprofit Bureau of Investigative Journalism to work with Channel 4 and Al Jazeera. In exchange for a six-week delay, Assange provided "package three" -- the State Dept. cables -- to the Guardian. In doing so, Assange got a letter from the Guardian agreeing not to publish anything on the leaked cables until he gave the go-ahead. But...
The Guardian got the cables from a second source: This bit of news fills in an interesting gap and explains friction between Assange and The Guardian. The British newspaper agreed to Assange's embargo on a release date for the cables, because WikiLeaks was its source. But in October, The Guardian received the full cache of cables from freelance journalist Heather Brooke. She had obtained the cables independently from an ex-WikiLeaks volunteer. (Brooke suggested on Twitter today that there's more to the story). Regardless, The Guardian now had the full database from a different source and believed it was free from the embargo agreed upon with Assange. The Guardian then provided those documents to Der Spiegel and The New York Times. These news organizations planned to published on Nov. 8--with or without Assange's input.
Why Assange threatened to sue: Assange and his lawyer met in Rusbridger's office and threatened to sue if The Guardian published anything from the cables ahead of the embargo. Ellison writes that Rusbridger, Guardian investigations editor David Leigh, and editors from Der Spiegel "spent a marathon session with Assange, his lawyer, and [WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn] Hrafnsson, eventually restoring an uneasy calm." They agreed to delay publication a few weeks while Assange brought in two more media partners, Le Monde (France) and El Pais (Spain).
So what's next? Last week, The Cutline raised some questions for WikiLeaks in 2011. In Ellison's piece, Davies notes that Assange has discussed having files on all Guantanamo Bay prisoners. (Wired zeroes in on this detail). Assange has also spoken about having documents that could take down a bank or two. But it remains to be seen exactly what Assange has and also how he may choose to work with news organizations going forward. As Ellison explains, it hasn't always been an easy relationship.
Since readers have asked me about neglecting specific revelations from the WikiLeaks docs, just a reminder: this is a media blog so the focus is on the media relationships and strategy. For more on WikiLeaks revelations, check out The Guardian, New York Times, a very good new CBS round-up or WikiLeaks itself. And for daily updates on all-things-WikiLeaks, The Nation's Greg Mitchell is a must-read.Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison has a comprehensive piece online detailing the... more
Man Gets Ticket 30 Seconds After Parking
(He then proceeds to write the greatest F-You letter ever to the parking enforcement department. Bravo, guy!)
http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=48504Man Gets Ticket 30 Seconds After Parking
(He then proceeds to write the greatest... more
Married couples in France could end up with criminal records for insulting each other during arguments.
Under a new law, France is to become the first country in the world to ban ' psychological violence' within marriage.
The law would apply to cohabiting couples and to both men and women.
'Insidious': Couples who resort to 'psychological violence' during arguments could get criminal records under a new French law (file picture)
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said electronic tagging would be used on repeat offenders.
It would cover men who shout at their wives and women who hurl abuse at their husbands - although it was not clear last night if nagging would be viewed as breaking the law.
The law is expected to cover every kind of insult including repeated rude remarks about a partner's appearance, false allegations of infidelity and threats of physical violence.
Police are being urged to issue a caution in the first instance, but repeat offenders could face a fine, a restraining order or even jail.
Critics said the measure was a gimmick produced in response to lobbying by feminists and would be impossible to implement.
But French premier Francois Fillon, who announced the law, said: 'The creation of this offence will allow us to deal with the most insidious situations - situations that leave no visible scars, but which leave victims torn up inside.'
Many believe the offence will be impossible to prove. Psychologist Anne Giraud said: 'Squabbling couples will allege all kinds of things about each other, but often it will be a case of one person's word against the other.'
Sociologist Pierre Bonnet said: 'The next step will be to make rudeness a criminal offence. The police and courts will be over-stretched trying to deal with numerous cases.'
A spokesman for Mr Fillon said the law was supported by the government, and was likely to be implemented within six months.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1240770/France-introduce-new-law-banning-psychological-violence-marriages.htmlMarried couples in France could end up with criminal records for insulting each other... more
in Massachusetts, Supreme Court rules that defendants have constitutional right to cross-examine forensic experts who prepare lab reports; dozens of other cases are expected.
http://www.boston.com/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/09in Massachusetts, Supreme Court rules that defendants have constitutional right to... more
Kelli was killed at the age of 18 by two underage drunk drivers and three morons that sold alcohol to high school students. Kelli did not know either driver however she did know one of the other passengers who offered to give Kelli a ride home.
Three teens died after racing on impulse. The other underage drunk driver was allowed to "call a friend" by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and was never charged. The Trooper told me (Kelli's mom) that he knew the kid had been drinking & he hoped it made me feel better that he didnt allow the boy to drive his car home.
you know what? it really didnt make me feel better. What would have made me feel better would have been if the "trooper" did the job he was paid to do and took the kid in for a breathalyzer and charged him for underage drinking and a DUI.
The state of South Carolina did not charge the THEE moron ADULTS that sold the alcohol to over 60 high school students. Even when photos were provided of these kids INSIDE their house with bottles of alcohol in the background.
you cant sell meth out of your private home, but in South Carolina, if it's a drug the state makes makes money off of- the state looks the other way.
The adults even had another underage keg party for MINORS the next weekend after the three kids died-- not even 3 days after my daughter was put in the ground.
party on right?!
Craig Ryan, Margaret Tidwell and Danton Hardman:
never even said they were sorry for contributing to the deaths of
Kelli Laine Lewis, Timothy Jason Dye and Thomas Byington.Kelli was killed at the age of 18 by two underage drunk drivers and three morons that... more
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
In a perfect world, the public wouldn’t be obsessed with celebrity gossip.
In a perfect world, a golfer wouldn’t make a billion dollars.
Tiger Woods’ Cocktail Waitresses Across America tour took a new turn Wednesday with the release of voicemails, emails, text messages and the like from women claiming affairs with him. It got to be so much, Woods released another statement. He started strong by acknowledging his failures.
“I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” he wrote. “I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.”He should’ve quit right there.
With Woods, however, he can’t. He never can. It’s why all those boiler plate crisis management solutions were laughable when applied to Tiger. “Hold a press conference”? Please, feeding him to the media would’ve been the dumbest move possible. This guy can’t stay on message in a statement on his own website.
http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/Sports/images-2/tiger-woods-flexing.jpgBy Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
In a perfect world, the public wouldn’t be... more
MERCED, Calif. - A California man whose legs are amputated says police used a stun gun on him twice and violently manhandled him even though he was unarmed.
Internal affairs investigators say they're looking into the complaint by 40-year-old Gregory Williams, who was arrested Sept. 11 on suspicion of domestic violence and resisting arrest.
Williams and witnesses say officers tasered the wheelchair-bound man twice, then left him handcuffed with his pants down on the sidewalk in broad daylight. Williams spent six days in jail before prosecutors said they lacked evidence to charge him.
Merced officers said in a police report that Williams was uncooperative and refused to give his 2-year-old daughter to Child Protective Services. The police department has declined further comment, pending the internal investigation.MERCED, Calif. - A California man whose legs are amputated says police used a stun gun... more
Thomas Charles Bender is a mason by trade.
Until nine months ago, his only brush with the law was for a pair of hunting infractions, including failure to wear a fluorescent orange vest.
Bender's life took a nightmarish turn Jan. 3, when his former fiancée told police he'd raped her.
Driving down Bethel Road, Bender found himself surrounded by 12 to 15 police cars at the intersection of Fox Road.
He later learned his accuser told deputies to consider him armed and dangerous.
Bender, 29, spent eight weeks in jail before he was able to raise $25,000, the 10 percent of his $250,000 bail needed to be released.
Then on March 16, his accuser, Samantha Carter-drabczyk, contacted the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office and asked to discuss the case, according to court documents.
She recanted her rape allegations during a meeting that same day with four criminal justice authorities involved in the case: Assistant State's Attorney Lindell K. Angel; Rebecca Littleton, a victim-witness coordinator; Cpl. Jason West, a sheriff's office detective; and Wayne Moffatt, a state's attorney investigator.
According to court documents, Carter-drabczyk told the group she had been angry at Bender when she made the allegations in January. She told them the two had argued and then had consensual sex.
Moffatt asked Carter-drabczyk if she was coming forward to see justice done, according to the documents.
"He was falsely accused," deputies quoted her as saying in documents seeking charges against her.
Now the 29-year-old Thurmont woman is awaiting trial on criminal charges herself: three counts of making a false statement to police, a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for each conviction.
A pretrial conference is set for Sept. 25 in Frederick County Circuit Court.
Thursday evening, Carter-drabczyk changed her story again, two weeks before her next court appearance.
For Bender, recovering his life as he knew it before his arrest has been slow.
"It's so frustrating," he said. "I didn't do anything wrong."
On June 16, Bender received a notarized letter from criminal justice authorities telling him the criminal charges against him had been expunged from court records.
Bender said his arrest has cost him countless jobs and at least $40,000 in legal fees.
Even though his record has been cleared, he's still required to pay about $460 a month on his bail. The stigma from the allegations has left him humiliated.
Two of the deputies at his arrest were people he knew from attending Thurmont -area schools. While held on charges of first-degree rape, second-degree assault and false imprisonment, Bender was kept in a cell block with men accused of robbery and attempted murder.Thomas Charles Bender is a mason by trade.
Until nine months ago, his only brush... more
PARKER, Colo. -- A 22-year-old woman who claimed a Parker police officer beat and raped her after she was kicked out of a bar was arrested Thursday on charges of false reporting.
Emily J. Petersen, of Castle Rock, will also be charged with an attempt to influence a public servant and forgery, both felonies.
On June 13, at around 1:30 a.m., Petersen and several friends were at the Tailgate Tavern in Parker, and were asked to leave because the bar was closing.
Petersen became uncooperative because she didn't want to leave so bar staffers called police for help, Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cocha Heyden said.
Petersen was escorted out of the bar by two uniformed Parker police officers.
Later that morning, Petersen reported that she was "beaten and raped" by one of those officers.
The Parker Police Department asked the Douglas County Sheriff's Office to investigate the case to avoid a conflict of interest.
Douglas County detectives conducted a two-month investigation and determined that Petersen was not assaulted by anyone. Detectives discovered significant evidence including video footage and phone records that showed her report was untrue, Heyden said.
"The Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Parker Police Department take false reporting cases very seriously because they do a grave disservice to actual victims and waste valuable resources," Sheriff David A. Weaver said.
Peterson is being held on $3,000 bond.PARKER, Colo. -- A 22-year-old woman who claimed a Parker police officer beat and... more
DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Two of three friends who jumped naked into Moosehead Lake last summer for a free Skinny Dip sandwich at the Black Frog Restaurant in Greenville were found guilty of indecent exposure Monday in 13th District Court.
The court found that Bernard Beckwith, 31, of Poland and Christian Simpson, 37, of Bethel knowingly exposed their genitals in a public place under circumstances that likely caused affront or alarm to others. Each man was fined $200 plus a $50 court fee by Judge Kevin Stitham, who presided over the combined trial.
Crystal Stilwell, 25, of Bath, who had accompanied the men in the naked jump for the free sandwich, was found not guilty. All three represented themselves during the trial.
Stilwell was naked and her breasts were exposed, but to prove indecent exposure the state had to show that she knowingly exposed her genitals. It could not do that.
Although he was not in the courtroom for the trial, Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said later that the Legislature should look at this issue to see if they want to continue to have disparate rulings, one for men and one for women.DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Two of three friends who jumped naked into Moosehead... more
The father of a newborn girl has been sentenced to three years in prison for having sexual relations with his underage wife, who is the mother of his newborn daughter.
19-year-old Zhenya and 15-year-old Katya, still a schoolgirl, live in the provincial town of Efremov approximately 310 kilometers off Moscow. They had known each other for about a year and a half when last summer Katya learnt she was four months pregnant. At the time Zhenya had no idea that Katya had in fact lied about her age and told Zhenya she was 17.
“When we met I told Zhenya I was almost 17. In fact I was two years younger. I lied because I liked him very much, but I was afraid he wouldn't go out with me if I told him my real age. He only found out after I got pregnant,” Katya says. The girl’s mother recalls that the news was a shock for her: “I knew she was dating Zhenya but did not think they had intimate relations,” she told journalists.
When the lovers’ parents met to discuss the situation, Katya and Zhenya told them that they loved each other and wanted to live together and bring up their child.
Soon, Katya’s parents obtained permission for the marriage of their underage daughter, which took place in January 17 this year. Two weeks later Katya gave birth to little Ksenia, who was born two months premature. Relatives say Zhenya was looking forward to the birth of his daughter and was very anxious during the delivery. The young family settled in Zhenya’s one-bedroom apartment. He found a job as a welder while his wife resumed her studies at school. Relatives of the newborn took care of her while the teenage mother was out, but what seemed to be a happy end to the love story was only the beginning of an ordeal.
Police contacted Zhenya, informing him that he was charged with having sexual relations with a person under the age of 16. The court then sentenced him to three years and one month in jail. “After the hearing Zhenya left the courtroom and looked at his daughter for a long time, caressing her cheek. All the family was crying,” the relatives said. “He loves little Ksenia so much. What is his fault? They made love because they both wanted to. The judge has broken the life of the family.” Zhenya is now in custody in the nearby town of Novomoskovsk. His wife comes to visit him almost every day. Katya can't breast feed the baby anymore due to stress. She also has to miss outs on school lessons, because Zhenya used to babysit while she was studying. Zhenya is not allowed to see his wife, let alone his daughter. If the family loses the appeal, the young father would not only miss his baby's first steps and words, but also in three years time will become a total stranger to his little girl.
The young couple’s love has fallen victim to controversial Russian legislation. 19-year-old Zhenya is now in prison for having sex with his own wife Katya, meaning she has to take care of their baby without a father figure.
Russian law, simply put, states that you can marry an underage person with the permission of the parents, but you cannot have sex with this person. Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Moscow Aleksey Golovan has admitted that there is a discrepancy between the Family Code and the Criminal Code. “On the one hand, the girl was allowed to get married. On the other hand, law forbids sexual relations with a person under 16,” he said, adding “In this particular case, special circumstances should have been taken into account.” The family believes the young couple did not receive proper legal protection.
Boris Altshuler is a children's rights expert and says cases like this one should be inspected on an individual basis, rather than simply following the law. He says the prosecutors used this case heartlessly for their own interests. For prosecutors it’s just a good report for their chiefs – they did a good job and have exposed a crime.The father of a newborn girl has been sentenced to three years in prison for having... more
BANGOR, Maine — A woman who served nearly six years in prison for killing her husband and cutting his body into 13 pieces was back in court Friday morning...
Originally charged with murder, Gogan pleaded guilty to manslaughter in March 2001. The next month, Justice Paul Fritzsche sentenced her to 15 years in prison with all but six suspended and six years of probation.
Gogan was released in summer 2006 from the Maine Correctional Center in Windham after serving more than five years in prison, which included time off for good behavior.
In pleading guilty to manslaughter in March 2001, Gogan admitted that she shot and killed her husband Gene Gogan, 62, while he slept in their Hartland home on Oct. 1, 1999. She then dragged his body to the couple’s truck, according to a story previously published in the Bangor Daily News, and drove to a remote area in Mayfield Township about 25 miles from the couple’s home where, she admitted, she cut him into 13 pieces.
----AND MORE HERE----
...Vella Gogan's actions a virtual execution and "the ultimate act of domestic violence."
...Susan Estes, a niece, said she felt betrayed by the court system, which she said had gagged family members and treated Eugene Gogan's killer as the victim.
Vella Gogan pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2001 because she feared a jury might not agree that she acted in self-defense and convict her of murder, which carries a 25-year minimum sentence in Maine.
Gogan was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with all but six years suspended, and six years of probation.BANGOR, Maine — A woman who served nearly six years in prison for killing her... more
A transient from Bangor was arrested Tuesday afternoon by an Old Town police officer after an alleged “dine and dash” incident at an Old Town pizzeria.
Less than 12 hours later, after he was released on bail, Elias Elias, 58, was summoned by a Bangor police officer for the same crime, namely eating a meal at a restaurant and skipping out without paying the tab.
The first incident occurred around lunchtime, when Elias reportedly had lunch at Johnny’s Pizza in Old Town and left without paying for his meal, Old Town police Sgt. Travis Roy said. He said Officer Lee Miller arrested Elias and charged him with felony theft and took him to Penobscot County Jail in Bangor. He was released on bail shortly thereafter.
At about 11 p.m. that night, Elias was summoned for theft by Bangor police Officer Rob Angelo after he ordered a meal at a downtown eatery and left without paying, Bangor police Sgt. James Hodges said in a news release.
“From the description given, Officer Angelo suspected Mr. Elias has a history of similar activities,” Hodges said. (Dawn Gagnon, BDN)A transient from Bangor was arrested Tuesday afternoon by an Old Town police officer... more
This is different, a majority decision from the high court ordered a Georgia federal judge to hear new evidence that may prove death row inmate Troy Davis to be innocent. Which begs the question was Georgia ready to send an innocent man to be executed while letting the real murder suspect to continue to walk freely?
Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing a Savannah, GA off-duty police officer in 1989 amid no physical evidence linking him to the murder and the testimonies of nine eyewitnesses. Since that time no new evidence was found to link him to the murder and seven of the nine eyewitnesses have since recanted their original statements saying they were coerced by the Savannah P.D. to identify Davis as the killer.
It was also noted there was another man, whom for years has openly claimed he was the actual assailant and new witnesses confirm the unidentified man's claims. The Troy Davis case has endured several trial hearings on the state and federal levels, all ending with the same result, the courts simply refused to hear new evidence that may clear Davis. And Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas agreed with Georgia in their dissent to the US Supreme Court's ruling that will allow for the new evidence to be presented.
In fact Justice Scalia referred to this ruling as a "fool's errand" and stated, “This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”
However, in 1993, then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a conservative, wrote that evidence presented which may prove the innocence of the accused after a trial to be unconstitutional if the court refuses to hear new evidence. Here is Rehnquist's direct written statement, “we may assume … that in a capital case a truly persuasive demonstration of ‘actual innocence’ made after trial would render the execution of a defendant unconstitutional and warrant federal habeas relief.”This is different, a majority decision from the high court ordered a Georgia federal... more
(Aug. 13) -- William McCaffrey has spent the last four years in prison, serving a 20-year sentence for a rape the victim now says never happened.
Biurny Peguero, now married and using the last name Gonzalez, accused McCaffrey of raping her in September 2005, and he was convicted by the State Supreme Court in Manhattan. But in March, Gonzalez confessed to her priest, and later to her attorney, that she had fabricated the rape story, according to reports from The New York Times and the New York Post.
Gonzalez initially accused McCaffrey of raping her while on the way to a late-night party. According to the Post, Gonzalez now says she lied about being raped because her friends were angry with her for stranding them without a ride when she went off to the party with McCaffrey.
While there was no physical evidence of rape, Gonzalez did have bite marks on her arm and shoulder -- wounds she said were caused by McCaffrey. These bites and Gonzalez's testimony led to the conviction.
In 2008, new DNA testing cast doubt on the case when it revealed the genetic material taken from the bites had no Y chromosome, so it could not be male. According to the Times, court papers showed the district attorney's office refused to overturn the conviction based on the test because the DNA from the sample could have come from the tears of Gonzalez's friends.
Gonzalez now claims the bites and scratches on her body at the time of the alleged rape were caused by her friends, who physically assaulted her in their anger over being stranded.
McCaffrey's lawyer filed papers Wednesday for the rape conviction to be vacated and for his client to be set free. However, Gonzalez has refused to testify on behalf of McCaffrey unless she receives immunity on perjury charges.
For more on the story, read The New York Times and the New York Post.(Aug. 13) -- William McCaffrey has spent the last four years in prison, serving a... more
IT’S too bad so many people are falling into poverty at a time when it’s almost illegal to be poor.
The pattern is to curtail financing for services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement: starve school and public transportation budgets, then make truancy illegal. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Be sure to harass street vendors when there are few other opportunities for employment. The experience of the poor, and especially poor minorities, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks.
And if you should make the mistake of trying to escape via a brief marijuana-induced high, it’s “gotcha” all over again, because that of course is illegal too. One result is our staggering level of incarceration, the highest in the world. Today the same number of Americans — 2.3 million — reside in prison as in public housing.
Meanwhile, the public housing that remains has become ever more prisonlike, with residents subjected to drug testing and random police sweeps. The safety net, or what’s left of it, has been transformed into a dragnet.
Some of the community organizers I’ve talked to around the country think they know why “zero tolerance” policing has ratcheted up since the recession began. Leonardo Vilchis of the Union de Vecinos, a community organization in Los Angeles, suspects that “poor people have become a source of revenue” for recession-starved cities, and that the police can always find a violation leading to a fine. If so, this is a singularly demented fund-raising strategy. At a Congressional hearing in June, the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers testified about the pervasive “overcriminalization of crimes that are not a risk to public safety,” like sleeping in a cardboard box or jumping turnstiles, which leads to expensively clogged courts and prisons.
This factsheet by the National Coalition for the Homeless says that about 51% of all homeless adults are single men and about 17% are single women. Strangely, it gives no overall figures for homeless adults, but if the 3:1 ratio for single adults is applied to the remaining 32% of adults who aren't single, that would give an overall percentage of 75% male and 25% female. Of course the fact that it's been men who've lost 80% of the jobs during the past year may well mean that men make up more than 75% of the homeless, but we don't seem to know that now. http://mensnewsdaily.comIT’S too bad so many people are falling into poverty at a time when it’s... more
Biological dad has "no rights," judge says.
Two dads face off against two moms. It's perhaps the most unique custody battle in recent Florida history and maybe the most radical verdict. Katherine Alicea and her eight-year partner, Ana Sobrino, decided to have a baby about a half-decade ago. Again and again, they tried using sperm from anonymous donors. But Katherine — a driven real estate agent then in her late 30s — couldn't get pregnant.
Enter their close friend, Ray Janssen, a handsome, gay Air Force veteran.
After some casual negotiation, he donated and Katherine conceived. In August 2006, a sweet and burbling baby whom we'll call Austin was born. Katherine put Ray's name on the birth certificate because she wanted the child to know his dad's identity.
That was a big mistake.
The baby was raised mostly by Katherine and Ana at their NE 24th Street home, a block from Biscayne Bay. But Ray and his partner Craig also spent time with the boy. "[Ray] made it clear he wanted to be involved in the child's life," psychologist Sherrie Lewis-Thomas later wrote. He took Austin to baby music lessons. Sometimes the child would sleep over at his "da-da's" Miami Beach apartment overlooking a canal.
Then, last fall, the mothers decided to move to California, and things got ugly.
Ray sued Katherine in November 2008. The case tells the story of two sets of gay parents — all of them loving and active in the child's life — vying for custody. "Responsibility for the child should be awarded to the mother and father equally," Ray demanded in the suit. "[I am] the natural father."
After considering arguments from both sides, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Leon Firtel on June 3 found Ray was nothing more than a sperm donor. Because there was no contract before birth, he had "no rights."
Says Ray's attorney, Gerald Kornreich: "[The ruling] is the most tragic of my career, and I will not rest until Ray is reunited with his son."
Opposing council Hugo Acebo responds that Ray surrendered his role when he let the mothers become primary caregivers: "Ray has changed his mind about his parental role... Katherine and Ana feel like their family unit is being attacked."
A motion for reconsideration is scheduled in circuit court this week.Biological dad has "no rights," judge says.
Two dads face off against two... more