June 20, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday handed down decisions in five cases and agreed to hear two important appeals in the fall. Among the court’s actions:
— Struck down, by a 7-2 vote, Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship law that asks would-be voters for additional documentation before allowing them to register using a federal form designed to make signing up easier.
— Ruled 5-3 that agreements between the makers of name-brand and generic drugs to delay the generics’ availability can be illegal, an outcome cheered by consumer groups.
— Held 5-4 that prosecutors in some instances may use a suspect’s silence at an early stage of a criminal investigation against him — before the suspect has been arrested or informed of his constitutional rights.
— Agreed to decide in its next term a new dispute involving race, whether federal housing law requires proof of intentional discrimination.
— Decided 5-4 that judges may not increase mandatory minimum prison terms when sentencing defendants unless the facts justifying the increase have been found by a jury.
— Barred lawyers, in another 5-4 ruling, from obtaining state driver license records to recruit clients, saying the practice is prohibited by a federal law aimed at shielding motor vehicle information.
— Said it would review a state court ruling upholding a $1.24 million defamation judgment against a Wisconsin airline that reported one of its pilots was potentially dangerous, despite a post-9/11 law that encourages airlines to report potential safety threats to federal officials.
June 20, 2013
By Xavier Higgs
LAWT Contributing Writer
The Black Prosecutors Association of Los Angeles held its 2nd annual Alfred Jenkins awards ceremony last Thursday attended by the Who's Who of local legal society.
In a rare appearance together, the chief law enforcement officers in the State of California were honored together. The ceremony honorees included Kamala Harris, California attorney general, Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles district attorney, Andre Birotte, Jr., U.S. attorney Central District of California, and Ron Brown, Los Angeles County public defender.
It was a big moment for Lacey, who talked about the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech.
“I believe we are witnessing Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream,” she tearfully reminded the crowd.
She also emphasized the importance of black prosecutors in this society.
For Lacey, Birotte, and Harris this was the pinnacle of climbing the often-unjust world of politics. Each toiled away as low and mid level prosecutors before becoming the first African Americans to hold their respected positions.
John Mack says, “we should celebrate Andre Birotte, Jackie Lacey, and Kamala Harris because not only are they African Americans but they are at the top of their game. He adds, “they earned it and they are the absolute best.”
The ceremony, billed as a tribute to the “Champions of Justice” is a fundraiser for the BPLA Scholarship fund. More than 300 glittering guests — women in elegant gowns and men in black business suits and tuxedos gingerly socialized with the four guess of honor.
Still, the evening’s festivities included photo ops with one or more of the honorees.
Harris praised U.S. Attorney Birotte as one of the “finest U.S. Attorney’s in the United States.” She also reminded the crowd that the penal code was not designed just to protect “snow white.”
Alfred Jenkins, Retired District Attorney, and considered the Godfather of many in the room, says it’s overwhelming to be a part of the pipeline of young black people succeeding in the law.
“It’s wonderful to get your recognition while you are here to appreciate it,” says Jenkins. “It’s a marvelous feeling.”
Birotte echoed the sentiment of the other honorees. “I am in this position because of all the people that supported me.”
June 20, 2013
By Shonassee Shaver
New Orleans civil rights advocate, Rev. Samson “Skip” Alexander is a legend among the many leaders who have helped affect social change. Samson was a close friend of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and he is responsible for the treasured photo capturing Coretta Scott King, sitting front row with her children mourning her husband’s death. Samson had taken and retains many historical images. It is no surprise that he is the owner of this momentous photograph.
Rev. Samson aka “Skip” recalls that day where the FBI was on patrol, lurking for misconduct and suspicious behavior.
“They were hurt about their father’s passing. As we marched to Morehouse College for his memorial, I remember them looking somber as if they were sleep walking” said Rev. Samson. Legendary boxing champ Muhammad Ali, President Richard Nixon were among many of the influential people to flow from the balcony of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, where Dr. King’s funeral was held.
“There were dignitaries at his funeral,” Samson recalled.
“Kings and queens from all around the world (Africa and India) came to show their respects for Dr. King.”
Samson had a hand in the funeral’s seating process, he said. He was also among the news press, accompanying Ebony Magazine, Pittsburg Courier, The Chicago Defender and Life and Times. “I was in charge of placing thousands people from around the world in the backyard of the church” he said.
“The FBI had told me I could not take any pictures because of the flash. The flash would spark concerns of gun firing at Dr. Kings memorial.”
Not likely to abide by law officials, he went ahead and took the picture.
“I was able to use light that was available to me. I learned this technique in the air force,” said Rev. Samson. Not wanting to get caught taking a picture. He gave the photo to someone unknown at the time, later to be someone from JET magazine.
Samson seems modest about his accomplishments, remaining humble and down to earth through all his triumphs.
“I was nobody special,” he stated when asked about his triumphs.
“I did not think I was making history at the time. We were doing what was needed during that time. We knew that in order to be free, we had to fight for desegregation.”
He candidly recalls the day when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot.
“I was stunned and dumb founded. The FBI told me not to leave. I remember blood coming down the 2nd floor. I was a young guy” said Rev. Samson.
King had been the president of the Southern Christian Leadership (SCLC). Rev. Samson worked for the International Representatives of the American Federation of the Sate County and Municipal employees AFI-CIO.
“SCLC had no money and we would help them raise money for the organization, while he spoke to unions” he said.
In Memphis, Rev. Samson conducted a strike with the sanitation workers. Coincidently this was done while staying at the Lorraine Hotel where King was staying when he was assassinated. His goal, to get sanitation cards signed, was short lived by the incident.
Many were uncertain if the Civil Rights Movement could go on. Rev. Samson had his doubts that the movement would not be as effective with King gone. “I thought so. No other man in the world was spontaneous as he was. He could rally up a crowd. He could bring together good men and bad men”. Dr. King was a phenomenal man.
Sampson fondly remembers the police shouting at him to get out of the way.
“I had no identification or anything,” he said.
“I ‘boguarded’ my way through. I had to take the picture, even if I was going to jail.”
June 13, 2013
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News
Eritrean or Sudanese people, who have sought asylum in Israel.
Israel is reportedly in talks with two other countries to secure a similar agreement.
Few other details of the transfer were available. Israeli Army Radio reported that the unnamed country was in east Africa and did not suffer from any unrest that would harm the migrants. The Haaretz newspaper said that Israel had agreed to provide agricultural expertise as part of the deal.
The Supreme Court has ordered the government to provide details of the arrangement, including the name of the African country, within seven days.
Or Kashti, an analyst writing for Haaretz, condemned the deal. “As if it were an export company, the State of Israel is trying to ship tens of thousands of people from Eritrea and Sudan to other countries, out of sight and out of mind. The main thing is that they will fly away from here. Price isn’t particularly important, nor is their fate in their new countries.
“Israeli imperviousness, the turning away from the distress of others, marks a new stage that is far from surprising. This is a natural progression from the systematic disregard for claims of asylum that were filed to the embarrassing legal amendment that enabled the detainment in prison facilities and incitement bordering on dehumanization. What is being discussed aren’t humans, but objects.