[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----OHIO, USA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Oct 17 02:12:27 CDT 2005
Father Faces Death Penalty In Daughter's Death
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters will seek the death penalty for a
father accused of killing his daughter.
Darius Myrick is accused of taking his daughter, 19-month-old Aliyah, from
her mother's house, murdering her and leaving her body in Mt. Auburn's
"If you purposely kill a child in Hamilton County, we'll going to seek the
death penalty every time...My staff and I are committed to seeking the
harshest possible sentence in these types of cases," Deters said during a
Friday morning news conference.
Deters said he's also going to open an investigation into the way a
operator handled Aliyah's mother's 911 calls for help.
(source: WCPO News)
Voting Rights, Human Rights
The United States has the worst record in the democratic world when it
comes to stripping convicted felons of the right to vote. Of the nearly 5
million people who were barred from participating in the last presidential
election, for example, most, if not all, would have been free to vote if
they had been citizens of any one of dozens of other nations. Many of
those nations cherish the franchise so deeply that they let inmates vote
from their prison cells.
Courts outside this country are actually expanding the rights of prison
inmates to cast ballots, on the theory that the right to vote is a basic
human right that should be abridged only after careful deliberation and
under the rarest circumstances. That message was underscored last week in
a strong ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which has
jurisdiction in the nations that are parties to the European Convention, a
rights charter drafted more than a half-century ago.
The European court overturned a British law that banned all convicted
prison inmates from voting. The British law, however, is far less onerous
than laws in the United States, which imprisons people at 5 times the rate
of Britain and disenfranchises millions, many of them permanently.
The European court recognized that nations have the right to limit voting
in some cases, but it condemned blanket prohibitions as unacceptable. This
ruling includes a clear warning to the dozen other European Convention
countries that prohibit voting for convicted prisoners or have no
provisions for allowing inmates to participate in elections. Laws that
deny citizens access to the polls should be employed only after
painstaking deliberation - if at all - and never in a fashion that bars an
entire class of people from the polls.
This issue deserves a full hearing in the United States, which shows less
regard for the rights of prisoners and ex-offenders than just about any of
(source: Editorial, The New York Times)
Federal Courts Trim Hours----Branch offices closed, employees multitask
Budget pinching has prompted federal court clerks' offices across the
country to curtail public hours of operation, with at least 1 Mississippi
clerk's office shuttered to save money, according to a survey by the
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
While Congress mandates annual wage increases to court staff, the pay
hikes have not been funded, forcing courts to take money from operations
in other areas or reduce staff numbers through layoffs, attrition and
At least 36 district and bankruptcy courts have curtailed office hours in
76 locations nationwide in the last two years, according to the survey.
Some have closed branch offices while they figure out ways to cope with
fewer staff members, according to Richard Carelli, a spokesman for the
administrative office. Most cut back 30 minutes to an hour at the
beginning and end of each day.
In the Northern District of Texas, court clerk Karen Mitchell said that
the staff works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the office is only open from 9
a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. "It is inconvenient for a lot of customers," she
said. But shorter hours "enables us to get work done without
interruption," she said. The district cut 9 positions during the last
fiscal year but still has to keep up with docketing and providing
courtroom staff to judges.
STRESS LEVEL 'ENORMOUS'
Victoria Minor, chief deputy clerk in New Haven, Conn., said the time
involved for quality control for electronic document filing by lawyers is
"We can't trust the lawyers to do it right. We are their safety net," she
She lost 3 people through attrition yet still has to support 18 judges on
the court. The 5 magistrates often go without court stenographers, using
tape recordings instead.
"Nobody in my office has just one job. Courtroom deputies are also doing
docketing and managing case files. The luxury of just having a docket
clerk -- I don't know what that is like," Minor said. "The stress level in
our office is enormous."
The Eastern District of Virginia has limited public hours to 10 a.m. to 4
p.m. daily, cut back from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. before November 2004.
"We cut the clerk's staff 10 % over the course of 2004, and to provide the
remaining staff the time [to handle the workload], we felt this was the
most sensible way to deal with it," said Edward Adams, spokesman for the
court in Alexandria, Va.
He pointed out that lawyers are allowed to file after hours at a drop box,
but the court does not have any means for lawyers to file electronically
at this point.
Meanwhile, the clerk's office for the Northern District of Mississippi
closed one of its 3 offices, in Greenville, to all public access on Sept.
30, leaving only a public-access computer terminal, case-file microfiche
cards and a photocopier in the clerk's office lobby.
"This closing is attributable to federal fiscal constraints requiring
reductions in ... court-support personnel," according to a statement
posted on the court Web site.
Closures and cutback in hours has no relation to storm damage from
Hurricane Katrina, which displaced 400 federal court employees in the
region, according to Carelli.
The survey may be the court's first salvo in the budget battles with
Congress for more money.
(source: The National Law Journal)
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