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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...

July 12, 2012

By DAVID MERCER |

Associated Press

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A Chicago man who spent more than 30 years behind bars before DNA evidence helped overturn his conviction in the rape and killing of a 3-year-old girl was released from prison late Friday, just hours after prosecutors dropped the case against him.

An Illinois appeals court in March had ordered a new trial for 50-year-old Andre Davis after tests found that DNA taken from the scene of the 1980 killing of Brianna Stickle wasn’t his. The girl was attacked in Rantoul, about 20 miles north of Champaign.

Davis was released from the super-maximum security prison in Tamms in far southern Illinois around 7:30 p.m., said Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kayce Ataiyero. Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz had decided earlier in the day not to pursue charges against him.

Judy Royal of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at North­western University, which represented Davis, said he was the longest-serving of the 42 people exonerated by DNA evidence in Illinois.

“Mr. Davis served 32 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn't commit,” Royal said. “Tamms is a difficult place to do time. He's hoping to rebuild his life, with the support of his family.”

It wasn’t immediately known if Davis’ family was at the prison when he walked out. Davis’ father was traveling to Tamms on Friday afternoon and couldn't be reached for comment.

Reitz said that while she didn't doubt the results of the DNA tests, she decided not to retry Davis because of the difficulty in taking a 32-year-old case to trial — not because of those tests.

“After 30 years, witnesses are either deceased, missing or no longer credible to testify,” said Rietz, who has been state’s attorney in Champaign County since 2004. “Based on the age of the case and the current state of the evidence, we elected to dismiss.”

She noted that Davis was twice convicted by juries. His first conviction was overturned because of a mistake made by a bailiff during jury deliberations.

Rietz said any further steps in the investigation of Briana’s death will be up to police. Rantoul Police Chief Paul Farber did not return a call regarding the status of the investigation.

Davis was arrested shortly after Briana was found on Aug. 8, 1980, in a house on the street where she lived with her mother and stepfather in Rantoul.

According to trial testimony, Davis — who was 19 at the time — was visiting his father in Rantoul. He spent the day the girl died drinking at the home where she was eventually found with the two brothers who lived there. At some point the brothers left, leaving Davis there alone.

Briana’s stepfather, Rand Spragg, said he left the girl playing in the family’s front yard and last saw her sitting under a tree.

The family later searched for her. She was found in the brothers’ home, naked and under bed clothes in a utility room. She died that night at a local hospital.

An acquaintance of Davis told police that Davis said he’d killed “a woman” at the home.

DNA testing wasn’t available in 1980. But in 2004, Davis requested that evidence gathered at the scene of Briana’s death be DNA tested.

According to the tests, blood and semen found at the scene weren’t from Davis. That led to the March appellate court decision.

Friday’s planned release caught Davis’ attorneys off guard. Most were on vacation, expecting that he might be released next week.

Royal, who works closely with Davis’ lead attorney, Jane Raley, didn’t represent him. She wasn’t sure what plans Davis had, but she said that after so many years he was fortunate that family members were still alive to greet him and help him acclimate to life outside prison.

“A lot of times when people are incarcerated for lengthy periods of time, family members die,” Royal said. “That is one good thing, that he will have their support.”

“I think it’s difficult for him to know exactly what to do,” she added, noting that the Center on Wrongful Convictions works with the people it helps free to aid in their adjustment. “I know that he’s very intelligent and he has been assisting in the preparation of his appeal for years and giving some good suggestions in that regard.”

Attempts to reach members of Briana’s family were not successful.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

July 12, 2012

By GARY FINEOUT | Associated Press

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The president of Florida A&M University submitted his resignation Wednesday, the same day the university was sued by parents of a drum major who died during a hazing. It was unclear if the two events were related.

James Ammons announced the resignation, which takes effect Oct. 11, in a letter to the chairman of the university’s governing board. He said his decision came after “considerable thought, introspection and conversations with my family.”

Ammons' departure is the latest in a series of blows to the university that has seen its image badly bruised by Champion’s death, the suspension of the band until 2013 and the springtime resignation of its veteran director.

Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in Champion’s hazing. They have pleaded not guilty. Their trial is scheduled to begin the same month as Ammons’ resignation, in October.

Dreams of playing in the band drew students to apply to the university as much if not more than the school’s academic program, and the same professional performances that led it to play at Super Bowls and presidential inaugurations were a huge attendance draw at football games.

An alumnus and former top administrator of the school, the president was first hired to help steady FAMU in the wake of financial woes and threats to its accreditation.

But Champion’s death put a spotlight on a hazing culture that he and other top FAMU officials have been unable to eradicate.

The school’s trustees gave Ammons a vote of no-confidence in June, after questioning his leadership in several areas, including what some saw as his lax attitude toward hazing and management of the band prior to Robert Champion’s death in November.

At the time, Ammons said he would stay on the job, and he immediately recommended stringent new eligibility requirements for membership in The Marching 100 band, which has played at Super Bowls and inauguration ceremonies.

Champion died in November after being beaten by fellow band members during a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel following a football game against the school’s archrival.

Champion’s death put a spotlight on hazing at the school and led to the suspension of the band until at least next year. In the meantime, the FAMU athletic department was already grappling with a multimillion-dollar deficit.

The lawsuit brought by Champion’s parents claims Florida A&M University officials did not take action to stop hazing even though a school dean proposed suspending the band because of hazing concerns three days before their son died. School officials also allowed nonstudents to play in the band, fell short in enforcing anti-hazing policies and did not keep a close eye on band members to prevent hazing, the lawsuit said.

School officials “failed to properly supervise, train, discipline and control the FAMU Band,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit seeks damages greater than $15,000, but does not give a specific amount.

Champion’s parents, Robert and Pamela, have already sued the bus company, claiming the driver stood guard outside while the hazing took place. The company said the driver was helping band members with their equipment.

Florida A&M University trustees were added as defendants to the lawsuit, which was to be refiled later Wednesday. Under state law, Champions parents had to wait six months before they could include the university in the lawsuit since it’s a state entity.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

uly 05, 2012

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations has endorsed an African Union force to capture warlord Joseph Kony and neutralize his Lord’s Resistance Army.

The 15-member Security Council approved the “United Nations Regional Strategy to Address the Threat and Impact of the Activities of the LRA” in a presidential statement Friday.

The plan provisions a new force of 5,000 AU soldiers and bolsters humanitarian efforts.

The LRA, carried out its worst atrocities in northern Ugandan in the 1990s, but had by 2004 largely been driven out of the area. Remnants, however, continued to attack civilians in Uganda and three neighboring countries. The group is notorious for carrying out massacres, mutilating victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers.

Kony and the LRA gained notoriety following a YouTube video, “Kony 2012,” that went viral.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

July 05, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation’s new poet laureate will be telling her own story, in prose.

Natasha Trethewey is working on a memoir, currently untitled, that has been acquired by Ecco. The publisher, an imprint of HarperCollins, announc­ed Monday that the book is scheduled to come out in 2014.

The 46-year-old Trethewey is the daughter of a white father and black mother. The memoir will tell of her childhood in the American South in the 1970s and ’80s.

Trethewey won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for her collection “Native Guard.” This fall, she begins a one-year term as U.S. poet laureate.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

News

Curren Price cleans up ninth district during Earth Day

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Community

L.A. City Councilman wants Jay Z concert stopped

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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...

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Sports News

Boxing world mourns death of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

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

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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

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

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