Archives for October 2013

Lawsuit alleges Mobile Infirmary ‘dumped’ man out in the cold to die

Lagniappe; October 30, 2013

On March 18, 2013, LeJuan Johnson died. The 24-year-old had HIV, but a lawsuit filed on behalf of his estate blames Mobile Infirmary, the city of Mobile, two security guards and five unnamed witnesses for the cause of his death. There is also allegedly video evidence, according to the court documents filed by Andy Citrin, the attorney for the estate .

The lawsuit, which was filed Oct. 24 in Mobile County Circuit Court, claims security guards Jerry Ripple and Shawn Poff “dumped” Johnson onto a sidewalk near Mobile Infirmary’s ER and left him there to die. Ripple is also a sergeant at the Mobile Police Department, which is why the city is also named in the suit.

On March 5, Johnson was brought to the ER by ambulance after suffering from “extreme weakness, altered mental status and nausea.”

The lawsuit claims Johnson was so weak that he could not take a single step on his own. However, the patient never received the treatment he sought, according to the lawsuit.

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A Florida Tragedy Illustrates Rising Concern About Cyber-Bullying Suicides

Time; October 17, 2013

On Monday, two Florida girls – one 12, the other 14 – were arrested on aggravated stalking charges after the death of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who committed suicide last month.

Authorities say the two girls repeatedly cyberbullied the Lakeland, Fla., girl. One of them even wrote on Facebook: “I bullied Rebecca nd (sic) she killed herself.”

Such incidents are rare, but they’re the kind of episodes many prevention experts are increasingly worried about.

Mom of Missouri teen raped, dumped on family’s porch: Justice was denied

Detroit Free Press; October 17, 2013

MARYVILLE, MO. — A prosecutor in Missouri who’s faced intense criticism over his handling of a case involving a 14-year-old girl who says she was raped by a 17-year-old acquaintance says he wants a special prosecutor to decide if new charges should be filed.

Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice announced Wednesday that he’s asking a judge to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.

Melinda Coleman, the mother of 14-year-old Daisy Coleman, claims justice was denied when Rice dropped felony charges in March 2012, two months after she says her daughter was plied with alcohol, raped, then dumped on the family’s front porch in sub-freezing temperatures.

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Video: Blind Man Beaten on Philadelphia Street as Witnesses Look on

CBS News; October 9, 2013

Philadelphia police have released surveillance footage  they say shows an unidentified man knock a blind man to the ground and then proceed to kick and stomp on him as he lay helpless on the side of the road.

The video appears to show at least three witnesses who did not attempt to intervene.

Authorities hope the release of the footage will help identify the suspect and lead to an arrest.

Police say the incident took place around noon on Oct. 2 on a street in northwest Philadelphia. The video shows the 33-year-old victim, who is blind, according to police, walking along the street when the suspect approaches him.

The camera pans away and in the next frame, the suspect is seen striking the victim, knocking him to the ground and then proceeding to kick and stomp on him as he lay on the ground. The suspect is then seen walking away. reports the victim was robbed in the process.

Police say the victim suffered injuries to his head and face.

The suspect is described as a black male in his mid 20s who was wearing a tan colored baseball cap, tan shirt, khaki colored pants and was carrying a dark colored back pack at the time of the assault.

If anyone has any information on the incident they are asked to call the Philadelphia Police Department at (215)-686-3353.

Parents consider legal action after South Dakota police use Taser on 8-year-old girl

NBC News; October 10, 2013

The parents of an 8-year-old South Dakota girl want the police officer who stunned their daughter with a Taser disciplined, but the police chief said Wednesday that the officer acted properly and may have saved the little girl’s life.

Pierre Police Chief Bob Grandpre told Dakota Radio Group News that the incident happened Friday night after a baby-sitter called to report that the girl had stabbed herself in the leg and was making comments about suicide.

The girl — whose identity hasn’t been released because she is a juvenile — was holding a 4½-inch knife and refused to put it down when the three officers arrived, he said.

Grandpre said the child had the tip of the knife to her chest and then moved toward a hallway that could have taken her out of the officers’ sight, posing a potential threat.

When one of the officers approached her, the girl pointed the knife at the officer and then back at herself, Grandpre said. That’s when the officer used the Taser, whose prongs lodged in her chest and stomach, Grandpre said.

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Hotel Desk Clerk Fired for Needing Oxygen Tank

Chicago Tribune; October 4, 2013

Donna Colvin loved her job as the overnight desk clerk at the Paddle Wheel Inn, especially the quiet hours spent tidying the lobby and laying out the morning’s continental breakfast while guests were still fast asleep.

Even when respiratory ailments briefly sidelined her two years ago, Colvin was determined to keep working at the charming inn, situated on the banks of the Rock River about 90 miles west of Chicago.

Heeding her doctor’s advice, Colvin informed the inn’s manager that she would have to be on oxygen while she worked. The next day, she learned by letter that she had been fired.

On Thursday, the 51-year-old filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the Paddle Wheel Inn violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by dismissing her without attempting to accommodate her need for a small oxygen tank.

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Legal Advocates Want Overhaul of Public Defender System

NPR; October 3, 2013

Prominent members of the legal community are pressuring the Obama administration to do more to ensure that poor criminal defendants have access to a lawyer, a situation that Attorney General Eric Holder has already likened to a national crisis.

Calls to create a bipartisan White House commission began earlier this year, with the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright that first insured a public defender for persons accused of non-capital offenses. This week, advocates traveled to Washington to meet with Associate Attorney General Tony West to push the idea of the commission beyond the talking stage, NPR has learned.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb, former Vice President Walter Mondale, New York indigent legal services director William Leahy, and Equal Justice Initiative Director Bryan Stevenson wrote a letter to the Justice Department earlier this year expressing concern that many defendants charged with minor offenses were not getting legal counsel and that others were not being properly served by overworked and underpaid public defenders.

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