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Showing posts from October, 2008

US Supreme Court refuses to hear free speech issue in Nebraska rape case

The US Supreme Court has refused to hear a rape case in which the defendant PamirSafi was charged with raping the victim while she was unconscious. At trial, a Lancaster County [Nebraska] District Court Judge Jeffrey Cheuvront ordered the victim not to use the terms rape, sexual assault, attack, force, or victim in her trial testimony, requiring her instead to describe the acts as “sex” and “intercourse.” The judge also forbade use of the phrase “rape kit” and ordered witnesses to say “sexual examination kit” to describe the process conducted on the victim after the incident. The “sexual assault nurse examiner” was to be described as a “sexual examiner”. While it is not uncommon for a judge to control the language and evidence used by state actors, such as prosecutors and police, an order against a private person raises constitutional free speech concerns which would be addressed in the appeal before the US Supreme Court filed by the victim's attorney, Wendy Murphy.

I have follow…

Book Review: Finding Angela Shelton

Finding Angela Shelton by Angela Shelton was just recently released on April 1. I’m a huge fan of hers so of course I pre-ordered it. I even got to meet her when she spoke in one of my classes! She is a close friend of one of my professors (Wendy Murphy). For those of you who are not familiar with her work as an activist/filmmaker/actress/screenwriter, a few years ago she filmed a documentary, Searching for Angela Shelton, where she set out in an RV with her film crew and interviewed women who shared her name. She went all over the place from California to Florida. She was hoping the documentary would turn out to be a lighthearted comedy that inspired women. However, it became much much more. Her life and self-discovery were center stage throughout the movie as more and more Angela Sheltons revealed that they were survivors of rape, abuse or domestic violence. As a survivor of sexual abuse and incest as a child, she was not prepared for all the emotions and memories that came…

Connecticut Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage

October 10, 2008 11:55 AM
By Andrew Ryan and Michael Levenson, Globe Staff

Connecticut became the third state to legalize same-sex marriage today in a 4-3 decision by the state Supreme Court.

In an 85-page decision issued at 11:30 a.m., the court ruled that the state had "failed to establish adequate reason to justify the statutory ban on same sex marriage."
The justices noted in the majority opinion that they recognized "as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health … that 'our decision marks a change in the history of our marriage law.' "

The case, Kerrigan v. the state Commissioner of Public Health, was brought by eight same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses by the Madison town clerk. They argued that the state's civil union law was discriminatory and unconstitutional because it established a separate and therefore inherently unequal institution for a minority group. Citing equal protection under the la…

Congressman Al Green In the News: Shakedown or Sexual Assault?

Last week, Texas Congressman, Al Green, filed a declaratory judgment seeking injunctive relief against Lucinda Daniels, a former employee who allegedly approached Green demanding 1.8M for an incident that occurred in May 2007. An incident he claims was a "romantic moment" and she alleges was a "sexual assault." Green filed the suit to prevent what he calls a shakedown for money.

So what's really going on? Is this a sexual harassment case or a sexual assault case? Well, I guess that depends on which attorney you talk to.

Green tells reporters (and the pleadings state) that Daniels threatened him with a sexual harassment/workplace discrimination/retaliation case which centers on the "romantic moment" in 2007. This seems outlandish because it doesn't make sense for Daniels, an attorney herself, to threaten a Title VII suit now. The statute of limitations has long since passed. And Green's attorney has seemingly jumped the gun by filing a suit as…