Click to
Win!

EBONY magazine names Mitzi Miller editor-in-chief

April 24, 2014

LAWT News Service

 

Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), recently named Mitzi Miller as the new editor-in-chief of EBONY magazine, effective immediately.

Miller,... Read more...

L.A. County Sheriffs revise unreasonable force policy

April 17, 2014

City News Service

 

An attorney responsible for monitoring reforms of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said this week that revisions to the definition of unreasonable force... Read more...

Organ Donor Run/Walk set for April 26; 12,000 donor family members, transplant recipients and organ, eye and tissue advocates to participate

April 17, 2014

LAWT News Service

 

Entering its 12th year, the annual Donate Life Run/Walk will celebrate the gift of life through organ, eye, and tissue donation with more than 12,000 people and more... Read more...

Prophet Walker is more than Assembly Candidate; For those who dream he is their internal hope

April 10, 2014

By Kenneth D. Miller

Assistant Managing Editor

 

I’ve heard the whispers of this young man Prophet Walker for some months now, so much so that I took it upon myself to track... Read more...

Elijah Stewart, Julian Richardson lead Boys City Collision XVI roster; View Park’s Top Gun Mareshah Farmer Heads Girl’s City Team

April 03, 2014

LAWT News Services

 

John Wooden Player of the Year and leading City Player of the Year candidate Elijah Stewart and El Camino Real star Julian Richardson will join forces to lead the... Read more...

February 27, 2014

By MARK SHERMAN

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police may search a home without a warrant when two occupants disagree about allowing officers to enter, and the resident who refuses access is then arrested.

The justices declined to extend an earlier ruling denying entry to police when the occupants disagree and both are present.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s 6-3 decision holding that an occupant may not object to a search when he is not at home.

“We therefore hold that an occupant who is absent due to a lawful detention or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occupant who is absent for any other reason,” Alito said.

Police found a shotgun, ammunition and a knife when they searched the Los Angeles apartment that Walter Fernandez shared with his girlfriend, Roxanne Rojas.

Fernandez told police they could not enter. But shortly after his arrest, officers returned to the apartment and persuaded Rojas to let them in.

Fernandez is serving a 14-year prison term on robbery and guns charges.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent that “Fernandez’s objection to the search did not become null upon his arrest and removal from the scene.”

The court ruled 5-3 in 2006 that when two occupants who disagree about letting the police in are present, the objecting occupant prevails.

Ginsburg, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, also took issue with the notion that ruling for Fernandez would harm women who are victims of domestic violence.

Ginsburg said that police are justified in the immediate removal of the abuser from the premises. That, she said, is what happened in this case. But that shouldn't trump the need for a warrant to overcome Fernandez’s objection to the search of his home

When Rojas first answered the door for police, she was crying and holding her 2-month-old baby. She had a fresh bump on her nose, and blood on her hands and shirt. She said she had been in a fight.

At that point Fernandez appeared and ordered the police to get out, telling them he knew his constitutional rights. The police believed the couple had just been in a fight and removed Fernandez from the apartment in handcuffs. An officer noticed a tattoo on Fernandez’s shaved head that matched the description of a robbery suspect. Fernandez soon was arrested.

California maintained in its argument at the court that police had enough evidence at that point to get a warrant. But they said one was unnecessary because Rojas had the authority to let them in, despite Fernandez’s earlier objection.

The court agreed with that proposition Tuesday.

The case is Fernandez v. California, 12-7822.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

February 27, 2014

By Jennifer Bihm

 

John Punch is the first known slave in the United States and he is believed to be the ancestor of President Barack Obama. He arrived in the Virginia colony in the 17th century, one  of a handful of indentured servants belonging to Virginia planter, Hugh Gwyn. In 1640 he attempted to escape Gwyn, along with two European indentured servants but was caught and sent back.

Punishment for the two Europeans was four years longer of servitude. But a judge ordered Punch to serve out the rest of his natural life to Gwyn. This incident is believed to have set the precedence for the institution of slavery in America.

It’s also the first documented case of differences in treatment based on race in America. According to historians, Punch had children with a white woman most likely an indentured servant (which was a common occurrence during the time).The children inherited the mother’s free status, causing legislators at the time to reconsider the slavery laws (children usually held the status of the father).

Most likely, said historians drawing from documents, and Y-DNA analysis, Punch’s descendants were called Bunch.

“Before 1640, there were fewer than 100 African men in Virginia, and John Punch was the only one with a surname similar to it,” they said.

“The Bunch descendants were free people of color who became successful landowners in Virginia. Some lines eventually assimilated as white, after generations of marrying whites.”

In the early 1700s, a man called John Bunch III, a mulatto, asked the court to publish proclamation of marriage to a white woman called Sara Slayden, causing  another rule change, mulattos were now considered black, no matter what percentage of white DNA they had. Bunch didn’t marry Slayden, however, historical records show him fathering children with another white woman called Rebecca.

“He had moved to Louisa County as part of the westward migration of colonists to the frontier of Virginia.,” said historians from Ancestry.com.

“Through continued intermarriage with whites in Virginia, the line of Obama’s maternal Bunch ancestors probably appeared as and identified as white as early as 1720. Members of this line eventually migrated into Tennessee and ultimately to Kansas, where descendants included Obama’s maternal grandmother and his mother Stanley Ann Dunham.

“Another branch of the Bunch family migrated to North Carolina, where they were classified in some records as mulatto. They intermarried with people of a variety of ethnicities, including European. The Bunch or Bunche family was established as free before the American Revolution. The Bunch surname lines also became associated with core mixed-race families later known as Melungeon in Tennessee.

“Y-DNA testing of descendants of the Bunch family lines has revealed common ancestry going back to a single male ancestor of sub-Saharan African ethnicity. Gene­alogists believe this male ancestor to be John Punch the African. He was probably born in present-day Cameroon in West Africa, where his particular type of DNA is most common…”

In July 2012, Ancestry.com officials determined that President Barack Obama is an eleventh great grandson of Punch.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

February 27, 2014

By PAUL ELIAS

Associated Press

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nearly 1,400 lifers in California's prisons have been released over the past three years in a sharp turnaround in a state where murderers and others sentenced to life with the possibility of parole almost never got out.

Since taking office three years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown has affirmed 82 percent of parole board decisions, resulting in a record number of inmates with life sentences going free.

Brown's predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, authorized the release of 557 lifers during his six-year term, sustaining the board at a 27 percent clip. Before that, Gov. Gray Davis over three years approved the release of two.

This dramatic shift in releases under Brown comes as the state grapples with court orders to ease a decades-long prison crowding crisis that has seen triple bunking, prison gyms turned into dormitories and inmates shipped out of state.

Crime victims and their advocates have said the releases are an injustice to the victims and that the parolees could pose a danger to the public. More than 80 percent of lifers are in prison for murder, while the remaining are mostly rapists and kidnappers.

"This is playing Russian roulette with public safety," said Christine Ward, executive director of the Crime Victims Action Alliance. "This is a change of philosophy that can be dangerous."

The governor's office said the overcrowding crisis plays no role in the parole decisions. Rather, the governor's office said, each case is addressed individually and Brown is bound by court orders that require state officials to ease the stringent parole requirements that have dramatically increased the time murderers spend in prison.

Today, an inmate convicted of first-degree murders can expect to serve an average of 27 years — almost twice what it was two decades ago before California became the fourth state to give governors the politically fraught final decision on lifer paroles.

Since then, the number of lifers has grown from 9,000 to 35,000 inmates, representing a quarter of the state prison population. But two seminal California Supreme Court rulings in 2008 have significantly eased tough parole restrictions.

The court ordered prison officials to consider more than the severity of the applicant's underlying crimes. It ruled that inmates' records while incarcerated plus their volunteer work should count heavily in assessing early release.

State figures show that since the rulings, the board has granted parole to nearly 3,000 lifers, including 590 last year and a record 670 in 2012. In the three decades prior to the 2008 rulings, only about 1,800 such prisoners were granted parole.

Davis allowed only two inmates released out of 232 board decisions granting parole between 1999 and 2002. Schwarzenegger sustained the board at a 27 percent clip during his seven years in office when he was presented with 2,050 paroles granted by the board.

Brown has allowed 82 percent of the 1,590 paroles granted by the board.

Brown's office says he is operating under a different legal landscape than previous governors, and that he is following court rulings and a 23-year-old state law that gave governors the power to block paroles of lifers who the state board found suitable for release.

A Stanford University study of lifer paroles between 1990 and 2010 found that a murderer had a 6 percent chance of leaving prison alive since governors were given the power to veto board decisions.

Gov. Pete Wilson, the first governor vested with veto power, used it sparingly, though the parole board was approving just a few dozen paroles a year compared with the hundreds the board has been approving in recent years.

Between 1991 and when he left office in January 1999, he approved 115 of the 171, or 67 percent, of the lifers the board found suitable for release.

"If an individual is eligible for parole and the board determines they are no longer a threat, the law says they must be paroled unless there is firm evidence indicating they are still a threat," Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said.

The few studies of recidivism among released lifers including a Stanford University report show they re-offend at much lower rates than other inmates released on parole and none has been convicted of a new murder.

Of the 860 murderers paroled between 1990 and 2010 that Stanford tracked, only five inmates committed new crimes and none were convicted of murder. The average released lifer is in his mid-50s. Experts say older ex-cons are less prone to commit new crimes than younger ones.

Brown has reversed the parole board. On Friday, his office announced it blocked the parole of 100 inmates deemed fit by the board for release and sent two others back to the board for reconsideration.

One of those inmates found fit for release by the board but blocked by Brown was James Mackey, a former University of Pacific football player found guilty of shooting his victim with a crossbow and then strangling him. Brown said Mackey hasn't sufficiently owned up to the crime.

"Until he can give a better explanation for his actions," Brown wrote, "I do not think he is ready to be released."

Ernest Morgan on the other hand, is a lifer Brown did let free.

Morgan, a San Francisco man convicted of the shotgun slaying of his 14-year-old stepsister burglarizing the family home, was turned down for parole five times before the board granted him parole, only to be overruled by Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger wrote that Morgan posed "a current, unreasonable risk to public safety." And he noted that Morgan had at one point claimed that the shotgun had gone off accidentally, although he later acknowledged his guilt to the parole board.

"So I was devastated when Schwarzenegger denied my release," said Morgan, who now is majoring in business management at San Francisco State. "I felt I was a political pawn who would never get out."

In 2011, Brown approved his release after 24 years in prison. Brown made no comment in granting Morgan his release. Instead, the governor signaled his approval by taking no action within 30 days of the parole board's decision becoming official.

"It's been a remarkable and unexpected change," said Johanna Hoffman, Morgan's lawyer who has represented hundreds of lifers vying for parole since becoming a California lawyer in 2008. "The overcrowding issue has a huge amount to do with it."

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

February 27, 2014

LAWT News Service

 

Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame for her outstanding contributions to the state’s heritage and progress on Monday, February 24, at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina.

“I am grateful and humbled to be receiving this great honor from my home state especially with one of my great heroines, the late Septima Clark who fought courageously for equal educational opportunity, teacher pay equity and citizenship rights – especially the votes,” said Edelman.

“I have always felt blessed to be born who I was, where I was, when I was, and with the parents I had. Growing up in Bennettsville, I was richly blessed with parents and a Black community who nurtured me and other children so that we could realize our God-given potential despite many negative messages of the outside segregated world. We were taught that the world had a lot of problems but that we could change them and that those of us who were given much had a responsibility to give back and that service is the rent we pay for living.

“What keeps me going everyday is my belief that we can and will win the fight to make America live up to its ideals in the Declaration of Independence and realize the dream of a level playing field for all. We must confront the structural inequalities of opportunity and outcome that contribute to more than 16 million children living in poverty, almost half of them in extreme poverty. They pose a greater threat to the economic, military and national security of our nation than any outside enemy.

“It is a disgrace that children are the poorest group of Americans and that Black children are the poorest of the poor. Parents, grandparents, youth leaders, women of all races and income levels in our communities must raise an irresistible and persistent voice for new investment priorities of time and resources to rescue voiceless, voteless children from poor and unequal education, ill health, and violence.”

She was honored along with civil rights activist Septima Clark who helped lay the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement and equal educational opportunity in South Carolina and the nation.

“We are pleased to be inducting two strong African American women and civil rights activists —Marian Wright Edelman and Septima Clark — into the official South Carolina Hall of Fame. Marian has been ambassador for disadvantaged people from the Civil Rights Movement until today. She has worked relentlessly to defend children for over forty years and her achievements have helped millions,” said Dr. Leo Twiggs, Chairman of the Trustees of the Official South Carolina Hall of Fame.

The daughter of the late Reverend Arthur Jerome and Maggie Leola Bowen Wright, Wright-Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. After completing her education at Spelman College and Yale Law School, she became the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death.

Under her leadership for the last forty years, CDF has become the nation's strongest voice for children and families. The Children’s Defense Fund’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

 She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours, Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors, I’m Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children; and The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.

She is married to Peter B. Edelman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and they are the parents of three sons and have four grandchildren.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

News

Curren Price cleans up ninth district during Earth Day

Curren Price cleans up ninth district during Earth Day

April 24, 2014 LAWT Staff and Wire Report   “Earth Day is being celebrated everyday in your New Ninth District,  as we work to clean up — and...

Read More...

Community

L.A. City Councilman wants Jay Z concert stopped

L.A. City Councilman wants Jay Z concert stopped

April 03, 2014 City News Service   Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar wants his colleagues to put the brakes on rapper Jay-Z’s planned two-day...

Read More...

Sports News

Boxing world mourns death of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

Boxing world mourns death of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

April 24, 2014 Associated Press   TORONTO — Rubin “Hurri­cane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol...

Read More...

Arts & Culture

One woman show explores love, life and relationships gone wrong;102.3 KJLH Radio Host Tammi Mac presents “Bag Lady,” a dramatic one woman show exposing painful truths about love, life and relationships gone wrong, and gets candid about acting and her pers

One woman show explores love, life and relationships gone wrong;102.3 KJLH Radio Host Tammi Mac presents “Bag Lady,” a dramatic one woman show exposing painful truths about love, life and relationships gone wrong, and gets candid about acting and her pers

April 24, 2014 Shonassee Shaver LAWT Contributing Writer   Radio co-host Tammi Mac of “Mac & Amiche,” Los Angeles’ #1 urban radio show on...

Read More...

Market Update

1 DOW 16,501.65
0.00 (0.00%)    
2 S&P 1,878.61
+3.22 (0.17%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,148.34
+21.37 (0.52%)