August 28, 2014

 

LAWT News Service

 

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Knabe announced the installation and launch of electric vehicle charging stations at various County facilities for public use. Electric vehicle owners headed to certain County destinations will be able to charge their vehicles for up to four hours, free of charge, during the initial year of the program.

 

“From hospitals, to Sheriff’s stations to the Registrar-Recorder’s, we have facilities across the county that our 10 million residents visit or drive near-by,” said Knabe.  “We hope this program will encourage people to consider an electric vehicle by making charging options more accessible and convenient.”

 

Currently, there are over 20 electric vehicle charging stations at facilities across the County, with additional stations planned for installation in the coming months. Parking rates and restrictions may apply at certain facilities.

 

For an interactive Google Map of all current EV charging stations in LA County, visit: bit.ly/evchargers.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

August 28, 2014

By PAUL ELIAS 

Associated Press

  

California’s attorney general says she will appeal a federal court ruling that called the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.

 

The announcement on Thursday August 21 by Attorney General Kamala Harris came after U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney in Los Angeles ruled last month that the state’s death penalty takes too long to carry out, and that the unpredictable delays are arbitrary and unfair.

 

Death penalty foes have long argued that California’s delays amounted to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, but until Carney’s ruling, the argument failed to persuade a judge.

 

Harris, however, said the amount of time it takes to execute inmates in California ensures they receive due process.

 

“I am appealing the court’s decision because it is not supported by the law, and it undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants,” Harris said in a prepared statement. “This flawed ruling requires appellate review.”

 

Death penalty foes had called on Harris to let Carney’s ruling stand rather than risk a reversal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

“We hope the 9th Circuit will recognize that California’s death penalty system is as broken and unconstitutional as Judge Cormac found,” Matt Cherry, executive director of Death Penalty Focus, which seeks to abolish capital punishment, said in response to Harris’s move.

 

Death penalty backers supported Harris’ decision.

 

“It is obviously the correct decision to make,” said Kent Scheidegger, the top lawyer at the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento.

 

Scheidegger was attending a death penalty conference for government lawyers in San Diego and said the initial ruling by Carney “has been the talk in the hallways” among attendees.

 

The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit is often viewed as a liberal-leaning court, but the three-judge panel that will consider the appeal by Harris will be randomly selected from the entire court of more than two dozen judges of varying political pedigrees.

 

“You never know what you’re going to get,” Scheidegger said of the 9th Circuit’s three-judge panels.

 

Harris has said she personally opposes the death penalty but promised voters she would enforce state law.

 

Carney’s ruling overturned the death sentence of Ernest Dewayne Jones, a Los Angeles man sentenced to die for the 1992 rape and murder of his girlfriend’s mother.

 

Since the current death penalty system was adopted 35 years ago, the judge noted, more than 900 people have been sentenced to death but only 13 have been executed.

 

The judge called the death penalty an empty promise that violates the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

 

“Inordinate and unpredictable delay has resulted in a death penalty system in which very few of the hundreds of individuals sentenced to death have been, or even will be, executed by the state,” wrote Carney, a George W. Bush appointee.

 

He noted that death penalty appeals can last decades and, as a result, most condemned inmates are likely to die of natural causes before their executions are carried out.

 

No executions have been done in California since 2006 after another federal judge ordered an overhaul of the state’s lethal injection procedures.

 

In addition, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is drafting new lethal injection regulations after Gov. Jerry Brown said the state would switch from a three-drug cocktail to a single-drug lethal injection. No executions can occur until the new rules are adopted.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

August 21, 2014

 

By Saeed Shabazz

 

Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News

 

 

 

Incensed by the news that President Barack Obama gave $10 million to France to fight terrorism in three of its former African colonies, Minister Menelik Harris, of the Atlanta-based World African Diaspora Union, sent out an email message demanding that Obama keep his “terror money.”

 

Menelik suggested that the president of the U.S. should instead “give us our trillions of dollars in reparations to rebuild Africa as one union government to protect our enslaved, devastated and scattered people.”

 

Aug. 11, website The Hill announced that Obama directed the $10 million in foreign aid to France to assist in “counter[ter]rorism operations on the African continent to target terror groups.” The article stated that money went to support a French counterterrorism operation code-named “Barkhan,” which would prevent the establishment of a “jihadist” foothold between Libya and the Atlantic Ocean.

 

The Hill quoted a deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, as saying the U.S. was “very focused on the threat of terrorism in Africa.”

 

Obama issued a short statement concerning the money from his vacation spot on Martha’s Vineyard, located off the Massachusetts coast. “I hereby determine that an unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to France in its efforts to save Mali, Niger and Chad from terrorists and violent extremists,” said Obama.

 

“This shows that U.S. and French imperialism is alive in Africa, and that they are the real terrorists,” Sara Flounders, co-founder of the International Action Network, told the AmNews.

 

Observers say that in Mali, France has intervened to prop up the Bamako government to put down the aspirations for independence in Azawad, where the Tuareg have called for their own state.

 

In the corridors of the United Nations, there are suggestions that France continues to show that colonialism is not dead and that France’s colonialism is purely economic. One example cited at the U.N. is that France wants to charge other U.N. member states an “airfield service” fee in northern Mali. The French mission to the U.N. was asked to comment but had not responded as of AmNews press time.

 

The French have also refused to respond to questions from the U.N. press corps concerning the purchase of a $40 million jet by Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, which was criticized by the International Monetary Fund.

 

An IMF spokesman, Gerry Rice, explained to the press at the U.N. on May 22 that his organization was “concerned” about the “quality” of recent decisions by the Keita regime, including the purchase of the airplane.

 

Emira Woods, the global client principal for social impact programs at ThoughtWorks, a technology firm committed to social and economic justice, explained to the AmNews that the U.S. and France have “prioritized military efforts in Africa.”

 

Woods, who also serves as an associate fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Policy Studies, argues that the U.S.-French relationship is purely economic. “Both nations are interested in the resources in the region,” she said.

 

Understand that 70 percent of energy in France is nuclear, Woods stated. Analysts say that oil-rich Mali and Niger also have huge uranium deposits. The French nuclear company AREVA has just reportedly signed a new lease with the regimes in Niger and Mali. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters in Niger have been demanding transparency concerning the new lease agreement, which they say does not benefit the people.

 

Some analysts say that AREVA may have agreed to give up a number of tax breaks and a 12 percent increase in royalties to the government.

 

Chad’s role in all of this has been to supply troops for the French-led intervention in Mali. The regime, led by President Idriss Deby, has proven to be an indispensable ally to Western powers looking for allies in the Sahel, according to the Foreign Military Studies Office website OE Watch.

 

Woods, addressing the recent U.S.-Africa Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., stated that the “vast resources in Africa cannot be extracted to benefit the 1 percent.”

 

On Aug. 9, the Washington Post editorialized, “Sadly, the summit dealt little with human rights improvements that would sustain Africa’s growth.”

 

“I don’t see any of this as a hopeful sign for Africa,” Woods told the AmNews.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

August 21, 2014

 

City News Service

 

  

A 34-year-old man was charged this week with posing as a deliveryman in two home invasion robberies in Garden Grove this month. Jerry Cleveland Coleman of Garden Grove made his first appearance in court on Wednesday August 20 when his arraignment was rescheduled for Sept. 12. Coleman was arrested August 15, but investigators are looking for at least two more suspects, according to Garden Grove police.

 

Coleman is accused in an Aug. 11 home invasion robbery in the 13500 block of Merello Street and a break-in in the 8500 block of Hewitt Place. Police suspect there were up to four men involved in the first robbery, and three in the second. In the Merello Street robbery, two teenagers and a 23-year-old woman were home when they heard a knock at the door and saw two men at the door holding flowers as if they were delivery men, according to Garden Grove police and prosecutors. As soon as the door was opened, three armed men rushed in, police said.

 

In the Hewitt Place robbery, the three suspects were holding a large bouquet of balloons, again appearing to pose as delivery men. They zip-tied three children and two adults in their residence after gaining entry through an open garage, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Coleman allegedly forced the two adults at gunpoint to show him where the valuables in the home were stored, according to prosecutors.

 

Coleman is charged with seven counts each of first-degree robbery, imprisonment by violence or deceit, assault with a semiautomatic firearm and two counts each of dissuading a witness by force or threat and criminal threats, all felonies. Coleman also faces sentencing enhancement allegations for the personal use of a firearm and committing a crime against a vulnerable victim. Coleman could face up to 100 years in prison if convicted at trial.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

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