Tag Archives: rape

President Obama Signs the Tribal Law and Order Act

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Lynn Rosenthal

President Barack Obama, surrounded by members of congress and Native American leaders, signs the Tribal Law and Order Act during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House, on July 29, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Act will give tribal courts the authority to impose harsher sentences and will require the courts to keep a better record of declinations involving Indian Country among other provisions. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)


We encourage readers to watch the video of the signing, including the moving introduction from Lisa Marie Iyotte.

The President just signed the Tribal Law and Order Act — an important step to help the Federal Government better address the unique public safety challenges that confront tribal communities.

According to a Department of Justice report, Native American women suffer from violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. Astoundingly, one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. At the White House Tribal Nations Conference in November 2009, President Obama stated that this shocking figure “is an assault on our national conscience that we can no longer ignore.”

Last week, Congress took another important step to improve the lives of Native American women by passing the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The Act includes a strong emphasis on decreasing violence against women in Native communities, and is one of many steps this Administration strongly supports to address the challenges faced by Native women.

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Filed under Change, Native Americans, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

2 in one week: DNA testing clears wrongly convicted

Donald Eugene Gates

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who spent 28 years behind bars for a rape and murder he said he didn’t commit walked out of a federal prison in Arizona on Tuesday with $75 and a bus ticket to Ohio after DNA testing showed he was innocent.

The conviction of Donald Eugene Gates, 58, was based largely on the testimony of an FBI forensic analyst whose work later came under fire and a hair analysis technique that has been discredited.

“I feel beautiful,” Gates told The Associated Press by telephone after leaving the U.S. penitentiary in Tucson, Ariz.

Just hours before, the same judge who had presided over Gates’ trial years ago in D.C. Superior Court ordered his release.

Prosecutors had agreed Gates should be released. However, at their request, Senior Judge Fred B. Ugast delayed Gates’ formal exoneration until next week to give the government a chance to conduct one more round of DNA testing.

Ben Friedman, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, said Gates would be the first D.C. defendant who spent significant time in prison to be exonerated based on DNA evidence.

Gates was convicted of the 1981 rape and murder of Catherine Schilling, a 21-year-old Georgetown University student, in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

But the conviction was based largely on the testimony of FBI hair analyst Michael P. Malone whose work came under fire in 1997. At that time, the FBI’s inspector general found that Malone gave false testimony in proceedings that led to the impeachment and ouster of U.S. District Judge Alcee Hastings in 1989.

Ugast was incredulous that prosecutors had failed to inform him after Malone’s work was called into question. He ordered the U.S. attorney’s office to review all its cases in which Malone testified – something he said should have been done earlier.

Sandra K. Levick, one of Gates’ attorneys from the D.C. Public Defender Service, said she came across the inspector general’s report while doing her own research for the case. She then obtained more information through a Freedom of Information Act request that showed the FBI had issued warnings about the work of Malone and 12 other analysts who were criticized by the inspector general. As part of a review requested by the FBI, prosecutors confirmed they had relied on Malone’s work to obtain Gates’ conviction.

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Fla. man exonerated by DNA after 35 years in jail

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who spent 35 years in prison has been freed after DNA evidence exonerated him. James Bain was sentenced to life in prison in 1974 for kidnapping and raping a 9-year-old boy. He’s been pushing for DNA testing and he finally got it after the Innocence Project of Florida got involved in his case.

Tests released last week showed he could not have committed the crime. A judge ordered him freed on Thursday and he walked out of a courthouse a free man.

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Filed under Courts, Crime, Forensics, Police, True Crime, Uncategorized, Washington, DC

Disgraceful: Senator John Cornyn Opposed Anti-Rape Amendment

Posted by LibbyShaw

Senator John Cornyn (R)

It seems that 30 misogynist Republicans in the U.S. Senate are totally OK with rape, at least where women are concerned. Predictably in yet another routine attempt to serve their corporate masters, (this time the GOP stood by Halliburton) Republicans voted against women and for corporate contempt of rape victims.

Some Republican senators are taking heat for voting against an amendment that would allow employees of military contractors to sue their employers if they are raped at work — and they want the Democratic senator who wrote the amendment to help them fight off the bad publicity.

In October, 30 Republicans voted against Sen. Al Franken’s amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would de-fund contractors who prevent their employees from suing if they are raped by co-workers. Since then, those Republicans have faced outrage for what critics say amounts to support for rape.

Instead of standing up to take responsibility for or clarifying their disgraceful votes, Republican cowards are instead attacking Al Franken, blaming him for their votes.

Jamie Leigh Jones

Jamie Leigh Jones

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) accused Franken exploiting the story of Jamie Leigh Jones — a former KBR employee who says she was locked in a container in Iraq after alleging she was raped by co-workers — to further his political agenda.

Trying to tap into the natural sympathy that we have for this victim of this rape –and use that as a justification to frankly misrepresent and embarrass his colleagues, I don’t think it’s a very constructive thing,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in an interview.

I guess Franken held a sledge hammer over Cornyn’s head and said if he did not vote against the anti-rape amendment Franken would crack it over his head.

What shameless cowards.

I could not agree more with Laura Clawson over at Daily Kos.

To summarize the Republican position: As women, we are not “average Americans,” and gang rape is not a “serious” issue. As women, no matter how powerful we become on our own merits, the Republican establishment will still be hoping for a man to come along and put us in our place.

Not every Republican signs onto these views — indeed, 10 Senate Republicans voted for the Franken amendment, giving the lie to the NRSC’s claim of partisanship — but this is the undercurrent of the party’s policies. This is what they’re hoping to get voters to overlook when they run a Sarah Palin or a Kelly Ayotte for office. This is why Bob McDonnell’s campaign for Virginia governor has been such a popular campaign stop for 2012 prospects: because of, not despite, his opposition to marital contraception and women in the workplace. This is why David Vitter (who voted against the Franken amendment) is still a senator in good standing with the party of alleged sexual morality.

You don’t have to go very far beneath the Republican surface claims of equality-but-not-really to get to the rock-bottom sense that women just don’t count, that our rights and our wellbeing are always subordinate to whatever interest of men they might conflict with. When it comes to it, even the (themselves sexist) notions of chivalry and protecting women come behind protecting the right of corporations to imprison their female employees to shield their male employees from rape charges and still get government contracts.

This latest vote against anti-rape legislation should be a chilling and sober wake up call for all women.

In October 2009, Sen. Franken tears into KBR’s front man. It is well worth watching.

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Filed under Courts, Crime, Democrats, Law, Military, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC, Women's Issues