Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lack of Posting

Sorry everyone, I'm super busy at work with our Champions for Change luncheon so there probably won't be any posting until after Wednesday (April 30th) unless someone else does it.

See you Thursday,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Problem Solving

Deidra at Black and Missing but not Forgotten has posted an article by Lindsay Goldwert which addresses the racial disparity present in the media coverage of pregnant women killed by their partners or former partners in the United States. Goldwert begins her article with the astute observation that cases like that of Lacy Peterson have put a "white face" on this type of violence when in fact that face most often belongs to a woman of color.

According to the CDC, black women have a maternal homicide risk about seven times that of white women. Black women ages 25-29 are about 11 times more likely as white women in that age group to be murdered while pregnant or in the year after childbirth.

Goldwert proceeds to tell the stories of several young black women who were murdered by their partners while pregnant. She also points out the relationship between pregnancy and abuse and the ways in which not only societal mores, but actual public policy have contributed to this problem.
The Bush administration's welfare reform policies spent $300 million on programs to encourage marriage among low-income couples. These programs have indirectly impacted violence in the black community, says Kigvamasud'Vasht. "That money would have been better spent on education for these women so that they could support themselves without their abusive partner."

Kigvamasud'Vasht (quoted above) is the co-director of Communities Against Rape and Abuse in Seattle who also points out the societal reasons women do not report abusive behavior including fear and mistrust of law enforcement, faulty procedures for dealing with domestic disputes that often lead to the arrest of the victim, and the fear of losing their children. Apart from it just being inaccurate, the larger problem with the lack of coverage of women of color is that it frames domestic violence as simply a middle-class white issue. The CDC statistics and the fact that at WRC approximately 96% of our clientele is African-American reveals that to be false.

The fact is that limited resources is one of the main reasons women stay in violent relationships (along with the fact that leaving is the most dangerous time)and unfortunately, due to a long history of oppression, race and economic status are inextricably linked in this country. If we don't look at the problem from a realistic perspective then we can't hope to fix it, and women will just keep dying.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Expanding the definition of Rape, one state at a time.

Maryland recently became the one of nine states in the Union to decide that a woman can withdraw consent after sexual intercourse has started. Other states with similar rulings include Alaska, California, Connecticut, Kansas, Main, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Illinois, according to CNN.

One detractor of this law, Julia Morrow, claims that the new ruling will “open up the floodgates” of women claiming to have been raped. She stated during an interview on CNN: “Individuals have to start taking responsibility for their own actions, especially adults. Don’t go home with a guy, and get in bed with him, and agree to start having sex with him, and…and in the middle, all of a sudden change your mind and say its rape! I mean, it’s just ridiculous!”

Watch the interview here.

Clearly, Ms. Morrow has never been a position where intercourse has become painful, uncomfortable, or unpleasant. She has not been in a position where requests for a prophylactic have been misunderstood or ignored. A woman may have received information during intercourse which makes her realize she no longer desires to have sex. Regardless, now at least in nine states (out of fifty) it’s her choice to discontinue intercourse.

Furthermore, laws such as these allow people to take greater personal responsibility for their bodies. Instead of having to endure an experience that has become damaging and unpleasant, a woman is now able (at least in the nine states listed above) to request that her partner discontinue intercourse—and it requires that her partner be personally responsible, and honor that request.

Another criticism of this law is that Men may not be able to “stop on a dime.” The case on which this ruling was made, Baby vs. Maryland, the victim witnessed that she asked Maouloud Baby to stop because he was hurting her, and he continued for 5 to 10 seconds longer. (Read about the case at the Washington Post.)

Many feel as if this time is a “gray area” and that one cannot expect a man to immediately halt intercourse once it has begun. It is my opinion that this assertion is insulting to men and their ability to listen and empathize with their sexual partners. I think it is perfectly feasible that a man can stop sexual intercourse within seconds of being asked. Those who wish to assert otherwise are attempting to relieve the male of his responsibility of treating his partner with dignity and respect.

This is a positive step in the direction of women having full control of what happens to their bodies. There are many reasons why a person may request to stop having sex, and all are valid, and should be respected.

H/t to feministing and shakesville

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Eco-Friendly Way to Help Domestic Violence Survivors

In honor of Earth Day, Women's Resource Center invites you to participate in their easy and eco-friendly Cells for Survivors campaign to help survivors of domestic violence.

Cells for Survivors is a community-based cell phone drive of the Women’s Resource Center
to End Domestic Violence (WRC). Cell phones are collected from individuals, local businesses, schools, and community organizations and then converted into cash proceeds, which benefit WRC’s family resettlement program. In addition, the cell phone recycling program WRC has partnered with, 911 Cell Phone Bank, provides WRC with working cell phones and chargers to provide survivors with 911 access.

Your donations of cell phones support women and their children as they overcome homelessness as a result of domestic violence, transition into homes of their own, and establish a foundation of self-empowerment. Funds are disbursed to meet families’ needs of resettlement, including first month’s rent, deposits, utilities, and MARTA tokens.


-Organize a cell phone drive at your place of business/employment, worship, or recreation;
-Donate old, unwanted cell phones and phone batteries directly to WRC; and/or
-Place a collection receptacle in your place of business/employment, worship, or recreation.
For more information about Cells for Survivors, forming a cell phone drive or setting up a donation bin, or if you'd like to donate cell phones directly to WRC, please contact Rachel at 404-370-7670 ext. 104 or via e-mail at rachel@wrcdv.org.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Postpartum Health Alliance

Our partner organization, Postpartum Health Alliance is gearing up for MamaFest 2008 this May.
MamaFest 2008

Join us for our annual fundraiser, MamaFest. Timed days before Mother's Day, this is your opportunity to go out with some girlfriends, do some shopping, hear interesting discussions on mom-related topics, participate in a silent auction and see films by, for and about women at the LunaFest film festival. 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Temple Solel, 3575 Manchester Ave., Cardiff by the Sea, 92007. $20 per person in advance by 4/23 ($25 at the door). For more information, visit strollerstrides.com or call 866-348-4666 or email info@strollerstrides.com. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you're in the area you should really check it out. If you'd like to learn more about PHA or postpartum depression in general, their website is a great place to start. While you're there make sure to read PHA board member Holly Herring's article, Pregnancy Without a Plan in which she details with fearless honesty both her own struggle and the ways in which PHA helped her through a difficult time in her life. It's extremely well written and worth a read. I'll leave you with my favorite part.
Every now and then I will show up at a PPD support group meeting. I remember all too well the feelings behind those sad and frightened faces. I see these mothers with their babies and they are fighting back tears and it just hurts inside because I can relate. I KNOW how that feels. But, you know what I tell them? “You are not alone and this will end”.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Institutionalized death is not cruel and unusual

On April 16th the Supreme Court ruled that the most common form of lethal injection could not be considered cruel and unusual punishment, despite the claim that it causes unnecessary pain to the individual being executed. There is once again heightened urgency to push for fairness in the criminal justice system.
There has been a de facto moratorium on executions in the U.S. while states waited for the court’s decision in this case. Today’s decision means that the chances of an innocent person being executed are once again very real, as executions will likely resume immediately. One Innocence Project client on death row, Tommy Arthur in Alabama, was scheduled for execution before challenges to lethal injection led to a delay in the execution date. Will Alabama Gov. Bob Riley grant him the DNA testing that could prove his innocence before allowing him to be executed? Learn more about Arthur’s case here and send an email to Riley here.

The vote was 7-2. Justice John Paul Stevens voted with the majority but he wrote in his opinion that “the time for a dispassionate, impartial comparison of the enormous costs that death penalty litigation imposes on society with the benefits that it produces has surely arrived." He also cites the possibility of executing innocent people as something to be considered when taking further action on the death penalty.

In my opinion, the possibility of executing an innocent person is the only thing that really needs to be considered when asking if the death penalty should be allowed to remain as part of our criminal justice system. The system is and will always be set up by humans and will therefore be flawed and subject to mistakes. Innocent people will be convicted (though hopefully by a much smaller margin as time goes on) no matter what kind of reforms we succeed in making. While the damage that incarceration can do to a person is permanent, they at least still have their life and their liberty can be reinstated once they are exonerated.

Jill at Feministe had this to say about the ruling:
What the hell kind of country are we living in when we not only allow the state the right to execute criminals — something done in only a handful of other states with abhorrent human rights recorders, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen — but when we can’t even be bothered to make sure that our methods of execution are as humane as possible? Who are we when our standard for killing our own citizens is that the way we kill them simply cannot pose an “objectively intolerable risk of harm”?

This is sick and shameful.

Not only did the Supreme Court vote to uphold the death penalty, it is now hearing arguments on whether or not to expand the death penalty to sexual abuse cases. Make no mistake, if someone touched my child or murdered someone I cared about, I feel confident I would kill them if given the chance. I don't pretend to truly understand that kind of pain. Unfortunately, with the inherent flaws of our system there is no concrete way to know that the right person is being punished. The death penalty is not only intrinsically a moral failure, but it is also handed out disproportionately to poor defendants and defendants of color. It's time to stand up and say no to this barbaric vestige of our past.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

$5,000 reward in the case of Chioma Gray

A $5,000 reward is now being offered by the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation for the safe return of missing 15-year old Chioma Gray who has been missing since December.
Police and the FBI say Andrew Joshua Tafoya disappeared with 15-year-old Chioma Gray to Mexico seven months after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with her.A $5,000 reward also will be paid for information leading to Tafoya's arrest and conviction.

Tafoya is suspected of stealing a white 2008 Acura from a local dealership.
The car's license plate is 6AXX928. The car was seen crossing the U.S.-Mexico border at San Ysidro.

The investigation into Chioma Gray's disappearance was stalled by unwillingness on the part of the police department to classify her as being abducted. No Amber Alert was ever issued even though the person she was last seen with was known to be violent towards her, and even if she had wanted to run away with him, at 15 she lacks the ability to consent. Let's spread the word and help Miss Gray and her family get the justice they deserve.

Authorities asked anyone with information on the case to contact the FBI at 310-477-6565 or Ventura police at 339-4400.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Part 2: Take it Seriously

Recently Wayout TV, a Damon Wayans project, put out this video on YouTube. It features a young man who, after hearing his girlfriend is pregnant, calls on Abortion Man to fix his problem. This "super hero" then proceeds to find the young man's girlfriend and repeatedly punch, kick, and stomp on her until what we are meant to believe is a bloody fetus flies across the screen.

In short, it is horrifying.

Violence against women is not funny. This video is especially egregious given the fact that women are at greater risk of violence during pregnancy than at any other time in their life. It is important to note as well given the perceived ages of the two people in the video that pregnant women between 15 and 19 are at a higher risk for homicide than any other group.

Producing this kind of "entertainment" is not edgy, or cool, or funny. It's irresponsible at best. Making light of violence against women gives tacit approval to abusers and would-be abusers, and tells the rest of society that this type of violence is really no big deal.

H/T Feministing

Friday, April 11, 2008

Part 4 Innocence in Mississippi

Dr. Steven Hayne, who performs 80% of the autopsies in the state of Mississippi and who performed the autopsies on the victims in both the Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks cases, is being exposed as a fraud by the Innocence Project. Innocence Project attorneys in Mississippi are officially calling for Hayne's license to be revoked. Hayne's misdeeds include lying under oath about his position within the medical examiners office, performing too many autopsies in a year, and making false statements concerning the conclusions of his autopsies. Given the importance of his job and the long term effect his testimony can have, Dr. Hayne's is amazingly cavalier about his indiscretions. In response to the Innocence Project asserting that while he has performed around 1500 autopsies each year, the maximum limit of the National Association of Medical Examiners is 250, Hayne told the press

Hayne said such a number is arbitrary. “There’s one group that says you shouldn’t do more than 350, and there are other groups that don’t have a limit,” he said. “Should I call the Innocence Project to see if I’ve done too many and stop?”

He estimates he works 110 hours a week. “Some people were put on this earth to party, and some people were put on this earth to work,” he said. “I’ve always worked very hard.”

Dr. Hayne fails to ever cite any group with 350 as its limit or with no limits at all. The question of quantity is central to this case given the fact that the autopsies he has performed when evaluated by independent experts is shown to be astonishingly poor. There is also a demonstrated pattern of arriving to scientifically improbably solutions in order to support the prosecutions theory of the crime. It's not surprising then that Mississippi prosecutor Forrest Allgood had this to say,
"My experience with Hayne is that 99 times out of 100 he testifies this guy died and this is how he died," Allgood said. "How is that in any way convicting innocent people?"

As the prosecutor in both the Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer cases, Allgood really should know the answer to this question. The jury convicted both men largely based on the faulty testimony of Dr. Hayne and another pathologist. These cases have thankfully held this obviously corrupt criminal justice system under the national microscope, and the fact that both Dr. Hayne and Mr. Allgood seem to have no remorse about the wrong that was done to these two men (and now it seems probably many more people as faulty autopsies done by Hayne are being discovered as a I type this for trials that have recently concluded or have not yet begun) is very unsettling. Our criminal justice system is not perfect and never can be and mistakes will happen, but when covering up those mistakes becomes more important than the rights of innocent people then maybe Mr. Allgood needs think about stepping down as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

PPD Prevention: Building a Support System

When possible, prevention is always the best medicine. Studies have shown that new mothers with a strong social support system in place are at much lower risk of developing significant postpartum depression than those who do not have this kind of support. At Postpartum Support International they have an essay written by RN and BSN Carolyn White entitled How You can Build Your Own Social Support Network which presents a thorough easy to understand guide to building and maintaining your social support system including surveys that you can complete to examine how you as a new mother are feeling about your experience.

The author and PSI do make it clear that this essay is meant to be preventative and that if you are currently experiencing PPD or other severe emotional symptoms, it is imperative that you consult a professional in order to receive adequate care. New mothers who are already having emotional difficulties may be too stressed out to try to begin to employ these strategies, and the thrust of the essay is the importance of reaching out and asking for help which is what they suggest current struggling new mothers do albeit in a different way.

This essay is an interesting read with information that could be applied to the lives of people from all walks of life. White begins her How-To guide with five steps that anyone regardless of pregnancy status could benefit from.
Below are five steps that will aid you in the process of developing a healthier network: taking stock of social support, naming names for social support, asking for help, persevering in support and keeping reciprocity in mind.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in her conclusion White stresses the fact that you should not feel guilty for any negative feelings you have with regard to motherhood. She also illustrates the importance of taking care of yourself in order to offer your baby the best mothering possible.
Make time and energy now to reach out to the support system you already have in place or to begin building and enhancing your support network. By taking one small step at a time you can create a little victory for yourself everyday. Getting what you need enhances your ability to give to your baby. You and your whole family will be off to a healthier start.

Having a social support system is very important period, but especially during a trying experience such as new motherhood. It's a continuing theme in my posts about PPD but I can't help it. PPD is shrouded in unnecessary shame and secrecy and just the knowledge that you are not alone can be a big help in recovering. So hold your head up high, speak out, reach out, ask for help, share your story and remember:
You are not alone. You are not to blame.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Action Alert: New Gun Control Legislation

House Bill 257, which was backed by the NRA, passed the Senate on Wednesday evening after two rounds of intense debate. The bill was originally intended to allow constables to carry their firearms into court, but an amendment to the bill could mean fatal consequences for thousands of women throughout the state of Georgia.

It was amendment two, however, that really shook things up.

It states that a person who has a license to carry a firearm can carry it "in public transportation," as long as it is not a violation of federal law. Additionally, a firearm license holder can't consume alcohol in a restaurant or other eating establishment while carrying a firearm. Under current law, guns can't be carried in any place where alcohol is served.

Thankfully, some of Georgia's lawmakers understand the danger this policy presents to domestic violence survivors as well as the population at large.
Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, spoke against the bill.
"The leading cause of death in domestic violence is gun violence," Orrock said. "Now we're opening up a whole new window to have people carrying guns and imbibing alcoholic beverages." Bartenders and waitresses won't be enforcing the prohibition against drinking and carrying a gun, Orrock said.

Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, said that most of the people who have committed mass killings in America recently were not felons, and likely could have legally carried guns. "We might be asking for a tragedy on MARTA or other transit systems, and it might be the next best place to go for the fellow that is about to drop off the edge," Fort said. "Let's keep guns out of places where they don't belong."

Senator Fort even went so far as to add a third amendment that he knew would ultimately not be approved in order to stall the voting and keep the bill from passing. Unfortunately, these voices of reason are in the minority. This bill was passed at 7pm on April 3, 2008. Those in the Senate who have said that this bill only affects "law abiding citizens" with permits haven't taken into account the fact that many batterers have no criminal record and could legally obtain a concealed weapons permit. And while many women do not wish to follow through on assault or harassment charges, a weapons charge could still keep a dangerous person off the street or at least establish a documented pattern of violence. House Bill 257 has dramatically decreased the safety of public spaces, not just for survivors of domestic violence but for everyone in our community. Please contact your representatives and senators and let them know that you oppose this legislation and that it must be repealed.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Missing Girls

Black and Missing but not Forgotten has a new list of missing girls. Please take a look and contact your local police if you have any information of their whereabouts.
Zaier Henry, 16
She was last seen wearing a white blouse, blue jeans, pink high-heel shoes, pink necklace and a pink bandana on her hand. She is dark in complexion with brown eyes, black hair, about five feet one inch in height and weighs about 100 pounds, the report said.

Jo-Dian Sharpe, 15
Jo-Dian is described as a black girl with long black hair, 5 feet 4 inches tall with a slim build.

She was last seen wearing mainly black clothing.

Alyssa Lynn Egurrola, 13
Police say she was last seen wearing a white hoodie jacket with a cat symbol or Fat Cat brand logo on it, dark blue jeans and a pink backpack. She is bi-racial, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 180 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.Police say Alyssa is bi-polar and takes medication for a mood disorder. She can be aggressive if provoked but is not normally violent.

For more information on these girls or for the latest updates in these and other often overlooked cases, please visit Black and Missing but not Forgotten.

Friday, April 4, 2008

In Remembrance

40 years ago today our society lost a great force for change and an amazing person.

The 947 Years Campaign

According to the Innocence Project, more than one-third of the 215 people that have been exonerated due to DNA evidence were between 14 and 22 years of age when they were convicted. These kids have spent a combined 947 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. To raise awareness and engage young people in the fight to free the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions, the Innocence Project has launched a national campaign called 947 Years. In their Prime. In Prison. Innocent..

The campaign's website includes a two minute video, a petition to support universal access to post-conviction DNA testing, and multimedia accounts of the kids who were sent to jail for crimes they did not commit. Click here to sign the petition today, and please spread the word on your blogs and/or in your lives about this campaign as they are counting on you to keep it going.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Letter from Mama

Over at A Booblog there is a touching letter that I suggest you read in its entirety. It is a wonderful testament to the importance of talking about PPD. Below are some key excerpts.
Recently, I realized something. If something were to happen to me, my own daughter may not know the truth. She may see this blog some day and think that everything turned out fine. She may some day, have a child of her own. She may some day, struggle with postpartum depression. I would be horrified to think that she might say "well, my own mother dealt with it stoically, therefore I must as well".

Anjukutty, I do not expect us to be friends. Ever. I want to be your mother - the one to guide you and share life with you. But not as your friend. You will have many, many friends in your life. I might be a sort of friend, on a lesser scale, but I will always, always be your mother first. This means that I may tell you things that you do not want to hear. On the other hand, friends have to a tendency to tell you only the things you want to hear. You can always come to me for an honest opinion, that you may or may not desire. But it will be honest and only with pure intentions for I only have your best interest at heart.

I have been taking Zoloft and that has helped. In addition, I am still trying my best to eat healthy, go for walks and keep active while I wait for my body to get back to normal. Reading, writing and knitting have taken on an even greater importance for me as a means for relaxation. Lately, I have felt that I am getting more normal and that my hormones are settling down. I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

She's right to write this letter to let her daughter know she isn't alone if she experiences PPD. There is so little common knowledge out there about postpartum depression. Even though as much as 20% of mothers experience it, many women feel like they are all alone and that there is no "light at the end of the tunnel." No matter what our story is about we have a responsibility to share it. We need each other and your experience matters.

Call for Submissions

We recently posted an ad that has been getting a favorable response, and I wanted to make sure to share it with our readers, in case there was confusion about participation.

Make a difference (and money) doing what you love! Giving by Design, an up and coming arts organization is seeking submissions for their on-line gallery which is set to launch this Summer.

Giving by Design is a Georgia non-profit formed with the aim of offering a cost-efficient launch pad for self-represented student and emerging artists. A portion of every sale will go to the non-profit organization of the buyer's choice from our growing list of partner organizations.

We encourage artists in all mediums to submit work, there is no application fee. We are accepting works on a rolling basis, but the deadline for the May board meeting is April 25th.

For more information you can e-mail us, or visit our blog at http://givingbydesign.blogspot.com.

Due dates for consideration will fall on the 25th of every month. For example, the deadline for the June meeting will be May 25th. The application packet can be found by clicking here, or on our sidebar. We're really excited to see what you can do!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yay for Small Victories! Wisconsin amends housing rights to include domestic violence victims

Govenor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin has officially signed the Safe Housing Act into law! This new law allows victims of domestic violence to break rental agreements without penalty if they provide their landlord with documentation such as a criminal complaint or a restraining order. The law also makes leases void if landlords punish tenants for calling police or emergency services and prohibits municipalities from enforcing ordinances that charge fees to property owners when tenants call police for help in domestic violence situations.

While supporters have praised this latest effort to reduce the number barriers to leaving domestic violence situations, Kathy Kintopf, account executive with Start Renting and board member of the Fox Valley Apartment Association opposes the legislations and believes that it would place an undue burden on landlords. She issued this charming statement.
“I don’t know if it really protects anyone else in the building if that victim moves out,” Kintopf said. “Where does it stop? Would the bank let me out of my mortgage? Landlords are in favor of helping people, but I’m not convinced this is the best way.”

There are a lot of things wrong with this quote. First, the primary victim is the only one who is in need of protection. The rest of the tenants are only in tangential danger. For example, if the abuser decides to set the apartment on fire, or ends up in a hostage taking situation or shootout with the police then the other people in the building are put in harms way. But that sort of problem is solved if the victim is allowed to move out.
As far as the question of "Where does it stop?" goes, that single sentence truly encapsulates the horrific amount of societal bias against victims of domestic violence. It insinuates that these are people who are either lying or who in some way deserve what they get. The scenario of the bank letting Ms. Kintopf out of her mortgage is not comparable and she must know that. In most areas of the country, finding a new tenant is no more than a minor inconvenience. Basically it seems that she would rather have blood on her hands than be "burdened" by a little lost money.

Tillman Family Protest

Black and Missing but not Forgotten has a post up about the family of Janet Tillman who are protesting what they view as police inaction in the case of Tillman's disappearance. According to Suburban Journals Tillman, who worked as a prostitute in Belleville, MO, was last seen October 16th 2007 getting into a solicitor's vehicle. Essentially, the family believes that it is Ms. Tillman's profession that has made her a low priority for the Belleville Police Department.
Her younger sister, Vickie Tillman, said the family believed the police investigation had been wanting from the beginning and demanded police work harder to find Janet.
"They don't think that she's a priority," Vickie Tillman said. "I have to try something; I can't just give up on it."
Family members allege police had failed to properly investigate because Janet Tillman was a prostitute and updates on the case were few and far between.
"She was my sister, she was my kids' aunt," she said. "It's no excuse for what they did. Is she any less of a person because of what she did? Is she any less of a human being? Their job is to protect and serve - at least I thought they did."

Belleville Police Capt. Donald Sax who did not work the case but who agreed to speak on the Department's behalf denies that any wrongdoing has occured in this investigation. He stated that the case would remain open and had just gone cold due to a lack of leads.

The family counters this claim with the startling fact that a month went by before investigators searched Tillman's residence. It seems to us strange as well the the Police Department is insinuating that she may have just left of her own accord while the family has repeatedly stated that she always called regularly to check in and would not have just left without packing, notifying them, and arranging care for her animals.

Please visit Black and Missing for further information on this story. No matter their profession a missing person is a missing person with family and friends who are desperate to find them. They all deserve the same level of respect and protection under the law and this kind of systemic class prioritization is wrong and can't be allowed to continue.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Innocence in South Carolina

South Carolina is one of only six states in the US that does not currently have a law allowing inmates to request DNA testing for purposes of exoneration. Recently, Democratic state Senator Gerald Malloy, introduced a bill known as the Post-Conviction DNA Procedures Act that would give an inmate the right to apply for DNA testing of evidence in the county in which they were convicted. The Innocence Project has been heavily involved in lobbying for this bill's passing, but today there was an editorial in The Herald, a South Carolina newspaper, that concisely explains that passage of this bill is long overdue.
If a DNA test can free an innocent person from prison, the state should provide a path for inmates to request a test.

"Simply put, nobody wins when an innocent person is convicted," Scheck said. "Not the victims, the police, the prosecutors, the courts or the public."

That sentiment seems unassailable. We hope that DNA testing becomes commonplace in any case where evidence could provide an answer as to the guilt or innocence of a prisoner.

I couldn't say it any better than that.

Via Innocence Blog