TIME Kansas

White Supremacist Says He Will Plead Guilty in Jewish-Site Shootings

In this March 27, 2015, file photo, Frazier Glenn Miller, left, appears in court in Olathe, Kan., where he asked for his right to a speedy trial.
John Sleezer—AP Frazier Glenn Miller, left, appears in court in Olathe, Kans., on March 27, 2015

White supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, 74, doesn't believe he has much longer to live and wants to plead guilty to capital murder to avoid a lengthy trial

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — A white supremacist accused of killing three people at two Jewish centers in Kansas says he plans to plead guilty to capital murder to avoid a lengthy trial because of his failing health.

Frazier Glenn Miller, 74, of Aurora, Missouri, told The Associated Press in a phone call from jail on Monday that he doesn’t think he has much longer to live and wants a chance to speak in court about why he committed the crimes.

Miller is accused of fatally shooting William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas, on April 13, 2014. The two were there so the teen could compete in a singing contest.

Minutes after they were shot, Miller killed Terri LaMano, 53, at a nearby Jewish retirement home where she was visiting her mother, prosecutors said. He was taken into custody after that shooting.

Miller has told the AP and other media outlets that he planned and executed the fatal attacks, and that it was his intent to use the trial as a means to “put the Jews on trial where they belong.”

He called the slayings justified, though he said he regrets killing the 14-year-old.

Miller, who has chronic emphysema, has repeatedly insisted on receiving a speedy trial despite his attorneys’ insistence they need more time to develop a defense strategy.

He said he’s afraid it could take at least six months before he gets a trial date and even longer before sentencing, and he doesn’t think he will be around that long.

“I’m not sure I have the stamina to go through all of that,” Miller said. “I want to get it over with.”

Neither Steve Howe, the district attorney for Johnson County, Kansas, nor Miller’s defense attorney immediately returned calls seeking comment. Howe told the AP last year a judge has issued a gag order that prevents him or other attorneys from talking about the case.

Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, is a Vietnam War veteran who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party.

He was the target of a nationwide manhunt in 1987, when federal agents tracked him and three other men to a rural Missouri home stocked with hand grenades and automatic weapons. He was indicted on weapons charges and accused of plotting robberies and the assassination of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s founder. He served three years in federal prison.

Miller also ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.

TIME Courts

Two Things You Don’t Know About Roe v. Wade That Will Surprise You

New Justices Rehnquist And Powell
Keystone / Getty Images The two new Associate Justices of the US Supreme Court after being sworn in, William Rehnquist (left) and Lewis F Powell, on Jan. 11, 1972

One of these two things changed American politics

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

January 22, 1973 is the date that most associate with Roe v. Wade. That is the day when Justice Harry Blackmun read a summary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe and that of its companion case, Doe v. Bolton. Every year there are demonstrations in Washington on January 22 to commemorate or protest the Supreme Court’s decision recognizing a woman’s right to an abortion.

But there is another date that actually might be far more significant in the history of these decisions: May 25, 1972. That is when these cases should have been decided, and likely were decided, but in a much different form. And if they had come down in May or June 1972, the arc of American politics would have been remarkably different. I argue as much in my new book, January 1973, Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month that Changed America Forever (release date May 1, 2015).

First, let me identify my source. Larry Hammond was Justice Lewis F. Powell’s law clerk at the time Roe and Doe were decided. Hammond, now in his seventies, agreed to talk with me about how the decisions came about and I believe I am the first to interview him with the full benefit of the Powell Papers that were released after Powell’s death in 1998.

Here are the two revelations from these interviews and the Powell Papers that will surprise most people: (1) the justices of the Supreme Court had reached a majority on versions of the opinions that Blackmun first drafted in May 1972—and these drafts would have left it to the states to draw the line as to when life begins; and (2) Justice Powell, not Justice Blackmun, pushed for the “viability” standard that remains the hallmark of Roe forty years later. While Blackmun may have been the author, Powell really was the moving force behind the core principle of Roe.

Let me explain further.

When Roe and its companion case out of Georgia were first argued in the Supreme Court in December 1971, the Court was down two justices. Justices Black and Harlan had both retired (and died) in the fall of 1971 and President Nixon had nominated Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist to take their places. Neither man had been confirmed by the Senate at the time of the first oral arguments in Roe and Doe, so by Court tradition neither could take part in “the Conference” to decide the cases, nor could they vote on the outcomes.

There did not appear to be a consensus at the time of the first Conference on how to decide the abortion cases, so Chief Justice Warren Burger took it upon himself to assign Justice Harry Blackmun, his friend from childhood, to take a stab at first drafts. If Blackmun’s drafts would “command a majority” then those would become the Court’s decisions. Justice William O. Douglas disputed Burger’s assignment to Blackmun and thought he had the right to make the assignment as the most senior judge who, he believed, was in the majority out of the first conference. Douglas, however, let it go after an exchange of some fairly heated notes with the Chief.

Blackmun took his time in drafting. As former counsel to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, his perspective was that of the doctor whose patient seeks an abortion. He wanted to study up on the history of abortion, with a kind of obsessive focus on the Hippocratic Oath (which actually has a proscription against abortions).

Blackmun’s first drafts of Roe and Doe came out in May 1972.

With Roe, Blackmun wanted to overturn the Texas statute as void for vagueness, meaning it was too imprecise to be enforceable. The result would be to turn it back to Texas to redraft a clear statute. On Doe, the more reform Georgia statute from 1968, Blackmun addressed squarely a woman’s right to an abortion. He found there was such a right, but critically, he observed that the Court, at that moment in time, did not have the experience or knowledge to decide “when life begins.”

Thus, given these outcomes, the Supreme Court would have recognized a right to an abortion, but left it to state legislatures to do the line-drawing on when an abortion could be prohibited.

Justice Douglas, for one, believed that a majority of the seven justices who could decide the cases was in place in May 1972. Specifically, on May 25, 1972, Douglas, Brennan, Marshall and Blackmun (4 of 7) all agreed on Blackmun’s drafts. Justice Stewart added his vote in favor by May 29, 1972. (From my perspective, it is fascinating that this all took place just as burglars were first breaking into the Watergate in their political espionage campaign against the Democrats.)

Enter Chief Justice Burger. He was not pleased with the first drafts and pressed Blackmun to “re-argue” the cases, allowing two conservatives, Powell and Rehnquist, to take part. Douglas and the others in the majority exploded—they believed the decisions should have come down and that Burger was playing politics with a partisan issue likely to have some role in the 1972 presidential contest. Douglas’s dissent to re-argument was vitriolic—and never saw the light of day. With Powell and Rehnquist participating, the vote to re-argue carried.

This is when Justice Powell asked his law clerk, Larry Hammond, to take a look at the briefs in Roe and Doe and Justice Blackmun’s first drafts. Hammond did so over the summer of 1972 (as Richard Nixon became mired in the Watergate cover-up). Hammond wrote a 30-page memo for Powell, arguing in favor of the right to an abortion. Powell, when he returned from the summer break, told Hammond that he agreed with him. This was a real surprise. Chief Justice Burger’s push to re-argue was about to backfire.

As the second oral argument drew near in October 1972, Hammond wrote a game-changing bench memo to Powell, pointing out a recent federal court case out of a lower court in Connecticut that had address that state’s abortion statute. In what lawyer’s call dicta (meaning not critical to the opinion), the Connecticut judges argued that the critical line in any pregnancy was “viability,” that is, when the fetus could live outside the womb—roughly the end of the sixth month.

No one argued “viability” in the briefs or in oral argument. Yet it was Powell who gently suggested to Blackmun that the Court consider and accept “viability” as its important dividing line. The Court adopted a three-part test, according to the trimesters of a nine-month pregnancy, but decided that the rights of a fetus were not to be considered until viability. While the other parts of Roe have dissolved, “viability” remains the law today.

I argue in my new book that this controversial change in how the case was decided had a dramatic impact on American politics. The Roe decision activated the so-called Religious Right. But more importantly, because abortion is an issue about which many will not compromise—it is a life and death decision to some—the whole concept of “no compromise” as a political strategy entered our political bloodstream. Along with the other great events of January 1973—Truman’s death, end of the Vietnam War for the US, Watergate burglars’ trial, Nixon’s Second Inaugural, Roe and the death of Lyndon Johnson (on the same day as Roe)—the conditions set up for a government of deadlock.

Checks and balances have become checks.

Obviously history is never quite this clean, but I think it is an important time to look back at this momentous month to start to understand how we got to where we are and perhaps learn how we might all start to get along again for the sake of our democracy and our country. Understanding Roe v. Wade and how it was actually decided is a first step.

James Robenalt is a trial lawyer and author of “The Harding Affair, Love and Espionage During the Great War” (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009). Robenalt lectures nationally with John W. Dean, former White House Counsel, on Watergate and legal ethics. His latest book is “January 1973: Watergate, Roe v. Wade, Vietnam, and the Month That Changed America Forever.

TIME Courts

Columbia Student Alleges Gender Bias After Rape Claim Tossed

Lawsuit claims onetime friend repeatedly and publicly called him a "serial rapist"

(NEW YORK) — A Columbia University student sued the school Thursday, saying it failed to protect him against harassment when a female student went public with claims he raped her after school and law enforcement authorities rejected her case.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court by Paul Nungesser, a German citizen who said onetime friend Emma Sulkowicz has repeatedly and publicly called him a “serial rapist,” resulting in national and international media attention.

Defendants include the school, its board of trustees, President Lee C. Bollinger and Professor Jon Kessler. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages.

“Columbia University’s effective sponsorship of the gender-based harassment and defamation of Paul resulted in an intimidating, hostile, demeaning … learning and living environment,” the lawsuit said.

Roger Hornsby, a Columbia spokesman, said the school had no comment. Email messages requesting comment from Bollinger and Kessler were not immediately returned. The suit was filed three days after a judge tossed out another gender-based lawsuit brought by a male student against Columbia University.

In his lawsuit, Nungesser said a Columbia-owned website had presented as fact that he sexually assaulted Sulkowicz, a senior majoring in visual arts. It said that the school allowed Sulkowicz to carry a mattress into classes, the library and campus-provided transportation as part of her senior thesis, that Kessler approved the “Mattress Project” for her course credit and that Sulkowicz’s pledge to carry her mattress to graduation may prevent Nungesser and his parents, who’d like to fly from Germany, from participating in graduation ceremonies.

“Day-to-day life is unbearably stressful, as Emma and her mattress parade around campus each and every day,” the suit said.

As a result of publicity that resulted in media reports in 35 countries, the lawsuit said, Nungesser “has been subjected to severe, pervasive … and threatening behavior by other Columbia students, believing that Paul is a ‘serial rapist,’ whenever Paul has appeared at university activities.”

The complaint also said he wants to stay in the United States, where he has been dating a girlfriend for over a year, and is seeking consulting work in New York, though job prospects have been “severely jeopardized” by the school’s support of Sulkowicz.

In an email responding to a request for comment, Sulkowicz wrote: “I think it’s ridiculous that Paul would sue not only the school but one of my past professors for allowing me to make an art piece.

“It’s ridiculous that he would read it as a ‘bullying strategy,’ especially given his continued public attempts to smear my reputation, when really it’s just an artistic expression of the personal trauma I’ve experienced at Columbia. If artists are not allowed to make art that reflect on our experiences, then how are we to heal?”

Sulkowicz has argued her case was badly mishandled by the school disciplinary panel after she reported in 2013 she was raped in her dorm months before. She was among 23 students who sued Columbia last year, saying it mishandled sexual assault cases. She also attended President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January at the invitation of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

The Associated Press normally does not identify people claiming they were sexually assaulted, but makes exceptions when the alleged victim has spoken publicly on the subject.

___

Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this story.

TIME Courts

Prosecution Rests in Penalty Phase of Boston Bomber’s Trial

(BOSTON) — A video played Thursday at the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev showed a mother crouched over her 8-year-old son as he lay dying on the sidewalk, a scene that prosecutors hoped would linger in jurors’ minds while they determine whether Tsarnaev lives or dies.

Prosecutors rested their case after playing the video during the testimony of a man who lost his leg in the bombing, and jurors watched as the mother pleaded with her little boy.

“I heard ‘please’ and ‘Martin’ being uttered by Denise Richard,” said Steve Woolfenden, who was lying on the pavement next to Martin and his mother after the second bomb exploded.

“Just pleading with her son.”

The boy bled to death on the sidewalk.

Prosecutors presented the testimony and searing images to give the jury one last reminder of the brutality and heartbreaking consequences of the bombings before the defense begins to present its case next week. Prosecutors argue that Tsarnaev, now 21, deserves to be executed for his crimes, while his lawyers say his life should be spared because his late older brother, Tamerlan, was the mastermind of the attack.

Woolfenden’s left leg had been sheared off below the knee. He described frantically trying to get his 3-year-old son, Leo, out of his stroller after he heard him screaming and saw he was bleeding from the side of his head. As he lay helpless on the pavement, he spotted Martin and Denise Richard.

“I saw Martin’s face,” Woolfenden said. “I could see a boy that was, looked like he was fatally injured.”

Tsarnaev was convicted this month of all 30 charges against him. Three people were killed and more than 260 others were wounded when twin bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon April 15, 2013.

The same jury that found him guilty must decide whether to sentence him to life in prison or to death.

Woolfenden described the terror he felt as he tried to help his son while trying to stanch blood pouring from his own leg.

“I took off my belt, and I applied it on my thigh as tight as I possibly could,” he said.

“Leo was crying and screaming uncontrollably. He was saying, ‘Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy,'” he said.

A bystander came over and offered help.

Woolfenden said he told the man, “Please get my son to safety.”

The man tied another tourniquet on Woolfenden’s leg, then took his son.

“I was completely terrified because I didn’t know if I was ever going to see my son again,” he said.

Leo was taken to Children’s Hospital with a skull fracture, lacerations, small burns and a perforated eardrum.

An FBI field photographer, Michelle Gamble, showed the jury a paper mock-up of a metal grate where Tsarnaev placed the second bomb. She said the bomb exploded about 3½ feet from Martin Richard. Dr. David King, a trauma surgeon, testified Thursday that Martin didn’t die instantly and that his liver, spleen and intestines were painfully twisted and stretched by the blast.

Martin’s parents recently said they want the Justice Department to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for a life sentence and Tsarnaev agreeing to give up his rights to appeal.

Also testifying Thursday was Heather Abbott, whose left leg was amputated after the bombing

Abbott, of Newport, Rhode Island, said she was catapulted through the entrance of a restaurant when the second bomb exploded. She said her foot felt like it was on fire, so she began crawling through the restaurant to follow a crowd of people trying to get away from the bomb.

Later, in the hospital, a doctor recommended amputating her left leg below the knee. Her heel had been entirely blown off, and her foot was severely damaged.

“It was probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” she said.

Abbott identified photos of 16 others who lost limbs. The photos showed the amputees wearing prosthetic limbs, in wheelchairs and on crutches.

Another amputee, Marc Fucarile, testified Thursday from a wheelchair and glared at Tsarnaev as he sat about 10 feet away with his lawyers. Tsarnaev did not look at him and stared straight ahead impassively.

Fucarile, whose right leg was blown off, said he has had more than 60 surgeries. Two years after the bombing, it is still unclear whether his left leg can be saved, he said.

“We are going to try,” he said.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers are expected to begin presenting their witnesses Monday. Prosecutors will be allowed to present rebuttal witnesses.

TIME Courts

Former Iowa Lawmaker Found Not Guilty of Sexually Abusing Wife With Dementia

He was accused of having sex with her at a nursing home after being told by staff she wasn't capable of consent

(GARNER, Iowa) — An Iowa jury on Wednesday found a longtime state lawmaker not guilty of sexually abusing his wife who suffered from dementia, an unusual case that centered on when a person is no longer mentally capable of consenting to sex.

After about 13 hours of deliberation over three days, jurors found Henry Rayhons, 78, not guilty of third-degree sexual abuse of his wife, Donna Lou Rayhons. He was accused of having sex with her at a nursing home in May after being told by staff that she was no longer capable of consenting due to dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. She died in August.

Henry Rayhons testified in his own defense that on the night in question the couple held hands, prayed and kissed, but had no sexual contact.

“The truth finally came out,” Rayhons said after the verdict, noting that he believed his wife was “with him” throughout the trial.

Jurors weighed testimony from family members, doctors and investigators throughout the trial in Hancock County Court. Rayhons’ defense attorney said a guilty verdict could raise fears that any interaction between spouses could be interpreted as sexual abuse. Prosecutors said a not guilty verdict would put others with dementia at risk of being harmed.

Iowa law defines an act as sexual abuse in the third degree if the two parties are not living together as husband and wife and if one person “is suffering from a mental defect or incapacity which precludes giving consent.”

Mark Kosieradzki, a Minneapolis-based attorney who has tried numerous cases of sexual abuse in nursing homes, said it wasn’t clear whether the jury concluded that she was able to consent or if they decided that the prosecution had failed to prove that sex took place on that day.

“But the legal question doesn’t change. It should always be a matter of consent of the patient,” Kosieradzki said.

Jurors on Tuesday submitted a note to the judge, asking how many days are included in the prosecution’s allegation that a sex act occurred “on or about” May 23. The court answered that a set number of days couldn’t be provided.

Henry and Donna Lou Rayhons were married for seven years, the second marriage for both after they had been widowed. The dispute began last year when Donna Lou Rayhons’ health deteriorated and she was moved to a nursing home in the town of Garner.

The family conflict that erupted between Henry Rayhons and his wife’s daughters from her previous marriage over how to care for her culminated in a meeting in which the nursing home staff briefly told Rayhons that his wife was no longer mentally capable of legally consenting to sex. In his testimony, Rayhons said he thought this was a doctor’s advice, not an order.

Donna Lou Rayhons’ daughters declined comment through an attorney after the verdict Wednesday.

During the trial, nursing home staffers testified that Donna Lou Rayhons’ roommate talked about the couple having sex behind a curtain, but in testimony the roommate was unsure whether the noises she heard that day were sexual in nature.

Prosecutors said investigators found DNA evidence on sheets and a quilt in his wife’s room. They also played a recorded interview with an investigator that showed Rayhons initially said he and his wife never had sex at the nursing home, but later said they had a few times, and possibly briefly on the day in question.

Security camera video from the night of the alleged incident was also aired in court, showing Henry Rayhons going into his wife’s room, staying there for about half an hour and depositing something into a laundry cart on his way out. Rayhons’ attorney said his client frequently dropped his wife’s laundry into the bin, but prosecutors said he was trying to discard evidence.

“Our office prosecuted this case based on a complaint, thorough law enforcement investigation, and Iowa law,” said Geoff Greenwood, spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. “The jury made its decision, which we respect.”

The nonprofit Alzheimer’s Association said it was not taking a position on the case, but noted that it highlighted the importance of conversations about patients’ capacity for decision-making.

Rayhons served 18 years as a Republican member of the Iowa House. He withdrew from the race for another term shortly before he was charged last year.

TIME Courts

Volunteer Deputy Facing Manslaughter Charge Will Still Go on Vacation

Robert Bates, left, leaves his arraignment with his daughter, Leslie McCreary, right, in Tulsa, Okla. on April 21, 2015. Bates, a 73-year-old Tulsa County reserve deputy who fatally shot a suspect who was pinned down by officers, pleaded not guilty to a second-degree manslaughter charge.
Sue Ogrocki—AP Robert Bates, left, leaves his arraignment with his daughter, Leslie McCreary, right, in Tulsa, Okla. on April 21, 2015. Bates, a 73-year-old Tulsa County reserve deputy who fatally shot a suspect who was pinned down by officers, pleaded not guilty to a second-degree manslaughter charge.

The victim's family criticized Robert Bates' planned trip to the Bahamas

(TULSA, Okla.) — A volunteer sheriff’s deputy plans to vacation in the Bahamas while facing a second-degree manslaughter charge in Oklahoma, his attorneys told a judge Tuesday, drawing immediate criticism from the family of the man he killed.

Robert Bates pleaded not guilty during the hearing in Tulsa district court. The 73-year-old former insurance executive has said he confused his handgun for a stun gun when he shot Eric Harris after the suspect ran during a sting investigation involving gun sales.

Bates’ lawyers told the judge that Bates, a reserve deputy with the Tulsa County sheriff’s office, and his family planned to take their previously planned vacation ahead of his next court date in July.

“It’s really not an issue,” Corbin Brewster, one of Bates’ attorneys, said in an interview after the hearing.

Harris’ family criticized the trip, saying it sends a message “of apathy with respect to the shooting and Eric’s life.”

“At a time when we are still mourning the death of a loved one that he shot down in the street, Mr. Bates will be relaxing and enjoying his wealth and privilege,” the family said in a statement released Tuesday.

Bates was charged after the sheriff’s office released video of the shooting, in which Bates is overheard apologizing for shooting the suspect.

Harris’ family has questioned whether Bates was qualified to conduct police work. Their attorneys allege that the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office violated several of its own policies by not keeping a permanent record of Bates’ certifications and allowing him to carry his personal handgun after training on another weapon.

But Sheriff Stanley Glanz said Bates — his longtime insurance agent and former campaign manager — had been properly trained and passed annual firearms certifications required by the state.

Bates, who sold his insurance business for $6 million in 1999, was trained to be a Tulsa Police Department patrolman in 1964, but he left the department in 1965.

He was out of law enforcement for 35 years before returning for volunteer work in Florida in 2000, and the Tulsa County force in 2008. Bates also made several donations to the Tulsa County sheriff’s office, and was Glanz’s campaign manager during the 2012 election.

TIME Courts

Justice Department Opens Investigation Into Baltimore Police-Custody Death

The investigation will look for civil rights violations in the treatment of Freddie Gray, who was arrested April 12 and placed in a transport van.

(BALTIMORE) — The Justice Department said Tuesday it has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal-cord injury under mysterious circumstances after he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police van.

Gray, 25, was taken into custody April 12 after police “made eye contact” with him and another man in an area known for drug activity and the two started running, Baltimore police said. Gray was handcuffed and put in a transport van. At some point during his roughly 30-minute ride, the van was stopped and Gray’s legs were shackled when an officer felt he was becoming “irate,” police said.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that Gray asked for an inhaler, and then several times asked for medical care. He was eventually rushed by ambulance to a hospital.

Hundreds of people rallied at the site of Gray’s arrest and then marched to a police department a couple of blocks away, chanting and holding signs that read: “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” — slogans that have come embody what demonstrators believe is widespread mistreatment of blacks by police.

Gray died Sunday — a week after his arrest — of what Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez described as “a significant spinal injury.”

Exactly how he was injured and what happened in the van is still not known.

Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said investigators are “gathering information to determine whether any prosecutable civil rights violation occurred.”

It’s not uncommon for federal investigators to look into allegations of excessive police force. Justice Department investigations in the last year include probes into the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri — a case that resulted in no charges against the officer — and an ongoing review of a police chokehold death of a New York City man.

There’s a high threshold for bringing federal civil rights charges against police officers in such cases. Federal investigators must show an officer willfully deprived a person of his or her civil rights by using more force than the law allows, a standard that’s challenging in rapidly unfolding confrontations in which snap judgments are made.

In the Baltimore case, six police officers have been suspended with pay while local authorities also look into the death. The officers have been on the force anywhere from three years to 18 years.

According to court documents, Officer Garrett Miller accused Gray of carrying a switchblade, which was discovered in Gray’s pocket after he was stopped.

The lawyer for Gray’s family said he believes the police had no reason to stop him.

“They’ve made concessions on lack of probable cause,” attorney Billy Murphy said. “Running while black is not probable cause. Felony running doesn’t exist, and you can’t arrest someone for looking you in the eye.”

The suspended officers were identified as:

— Lt. Brian Rice, 41, with the department since 1997.

— Sgt. Alicia White, 30, with the department since 2010.

— Officer Caesar Goodson, 45, who has been there since 1999.

— Officers William Porter and Edward Nero, who along with Miller, all joined in 2012.

Kim Deachilla, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, said a law firm that contracts with the union is representing them.

The officers’ specific roles in the arrest were not released by city officials. Bystander video of the arrest shows officers on bicycles, in patrol cars and outside the transport van.

Batts said the reason for Gray’s stop is “a question we have to dig into.”

Gray’s death has prompted daily protests and a vigil was planned Tuesday evening at the spot where he was arrested. About 100 people had gathered around the start of the rally.

Harold Perry, 73, a retired small businessman who is nearly blind, said he heard the arrest through his bedroom window. A young man was screaming “You’re hurting me! Get your knee off my back,” Perry said.

He said he also heard the young man say, “I’m an asthmatic.”

In the bystander video, Gray is screaming, but it’s not clear what he is saying.

Capt. Eric Kowalczyk, a department spokesman, said Batts met with all six officers involved in Gray’s arrest on Monday. The Baltimore Sun first reported the meeting.

At a news conference Monday, officials vowed transparency and pledged to hold those found responsible accountable. Batts said the investigation will be completed by May 1 and the results will be sent to the state attorney’s office to determine whether criminal charges will be filed. Batts also said he is ordering that police review and rewrite “effective immediately” its policies on moving prisoners and providing them with medical attention.

___

Tucker reported from Washington.

TIME animals

Confined Chimps Will Get Their Day in Court, Judge Rules

chimpanzee
Getty Images

The chimps will face another hearing on May 6

A New York judge ruled this week to grant lawyers representing two chimpanzees a hearing to challenge the animals’ confinement.

The judge’s ruling comes in response to a complaint filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of two chimpanzees held at Stony Brook University. In response to the ruling, the university will be required to demonstrate to a court that it has reason to detain the chimpanzees.

The decision does not guarantee that the chimpanzees will be released and instead only sets up another hearing, scheduled for May 6, to determine whether Stony Brook has a reason to detain them. New York courts have previously upheld the right to detain chimpanzees.

The judge, Barbara Jaffe of the New York County Supreme Court, originally had invoked habeas corpus, to order the hearing, but amended her order the day following her initial decision. Habeas corpus, a doctrine used to protect against unlawful imprisonment, had never been used to protect non-human animals. The Nonhuman Rights Project argued that by granting the chimpanzees habeas corpus, Jaffe had “implicitly determined” that chimps are “persons.”

Stony Brook declined to comment on pending litigation.

TIME Courts

Uber to Face Lawsuit Claiming Discrimination Against the Blind

Some blind passengers with guide dogs allege they have been refused service

A California court has ruled that ride-sharing service Uber must face a lawsuit that claims the company has discriminated against blind people by sometimes refusing service to passengers with guide dogs.

A magistrate judge in San Jose said in a decision last week that the plaintiffs could argue that Uber is a “travel service” subjected to the parameters of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Reuters reports, rejecting Uber’s position that the plaintiffs couldn’t sue under the ADA. The company issued a statement saying drivers are told it’s policy to comply with all laws related to the transportation of passengers with service animals.

The plaintiffs allege there were at least 40 instances when blind passengers with service animals had been refused service, with some drivers yelling “no dogs” to potential riders. In one case, the plaintiffs claim, one Uber driver was said to refuse a blind woman’s request to pull over after she learned her guide dog was locked in the vehicle’s trunk.

The company, which has faced global complaints about its drivers’ pay and passenger treatment, has two weeks to respond to the complaint.

[Reuters]

TIME Courts

Utah Woman Gets Up to Life in Prison in Deaths of 6 Newborns

(PROVO, Utah) — A mother who killed six of her newborn babies and hid their bodies in her garage was sentenced to up to life in prison Monday at an emotional hearing in which a prosecutor depicted her as an “incredibly indifferent and callous” murderer.

The judge imposed a sentence against Megan Huntsman that went beyond what was called for in a plea deal because he was so repelled by the killings. Judge Darold McDade said that he heard about the case before it came to his courtroom and hoped it wouldn’t be assigned to him.

Huntsman, 40, told police she was too addicted to methamphetamine to care for more children during the decade when the babies were killed. Police said she concealed her pregnancies, gave birth at home and choked and strangled the children with her own hands just minutes after they were born. She killed six babies, and a seventh body of a newborn found in her garage was found to be stillborn.

Police found the bodies wrapped in cloth, put in plastic bags and packed into boxes. She eventually moved out of the house and left the decomposing remains behind. She thought about moving the bodies, but said she couldn’t think of a way to do it without getting caught.

It remains unclear how Huntsman concealed the pregnancies, births and murders from family members and friends.

“These were very cold, calculated killings,” prosecutor Jeff Buhman. “She was a woman who was remarkably, unbelievably, incredibly indifferent and callous.”

Family members sobbed in the courtroom as Pleasant Grove police Detective Dan Beckstrom spoke about the killings.

He said the first body was discovered by one of the couple’s daughters as she cleaned out the garage with her father, Darren West, shortly after he finished an eight-year federal prison stint on meth charges in April 2014. He lived with Huntsman during the decade when the babies were killed, but police have said they aren’t investigating him in the deaths.

Huntsman has three surviving children, and Huntsman opted to not kill one of them because people found out about the pregnancy, Buhman said.

Still, her family painted a picture of a shy, quiet person in a bad marriage who didn’t know how to speak up for herself but was a good mother to her three other children.

Huntsman said in a statement she couldn’t explain the deaths to herself. She could be seen dabbing at her eyes during the hearing, but she showed little other visible emotion.

“I know I didn’t feel strong enough to be a mother to those tiny babies, and in some small way I wanted to help them avoid the terrible life I would have given them,” said defense attorney Anthony Howell, reading from a letter she wrote.

Sister Jamie Huntsman read letters from two of Huntsman’s other children, who described their mother as smiling and laughing.

“This is not the mom I know,” she read. “I remember the mom I know, the one that made dinner for us every night, cleaned our house and loved not only her kids but kids in general.”

The description contrasted sharply with new details revealed by police Monday.

Buhman said she gave birth at home, twice when other people were in the house.

“She made sure the bathroom, or the bedroom, was cleaned before anyone got home and the baby was wrapped up quickly and thoroughly and stored in the garage before anyone would know,” Buhman said.

Over the years, she could smell their decomposing bodies in the garage but never moved them, he said.

West spoke briefly to reporters outside the courtroom Monday, saying that the details about the babies’ deaths were difficult to hear.

She agreed to plead guilty rather than go to trial under an agreement that reduced her minimum possible sentence to five years but left fewer options for appeal. Prosecutors said it would have been hard to prove the case against her at trial if she hadn’t cooperated with police.

McDade departed from that deal Monday, giving Huntsman a longer minimum sentence. “I really thought I’d seen it all until this case came along,” he said.

A parole board will make the final decision on how much time Huntsman spends in prison.

The sentence brings closure to a case that shocked residents of Pleasant Grove, the mostly Mormon community about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City where Huntsman stored her babies’ tiny bodies for more than a decade.

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