The House Judiciary Committee of the Kentucky Legislature passed a bill on March 6 that would give law enforcement more leeway and stronger penalties to curb dog fighting.
House Bill 408 is co-sponsored by Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, and Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, and would enable law enforcement to charge more individuals involved in dog fighting with animal cruelty in the first degree, which is a felony.
Those who could be charged include:
(1) Dog owners who know, or should know, that their animal is being used to fight other animals for pleasure or profit;
(2) Those who help to organize the fights; and
(3) Those who train, breed, or otherwise keep animals and their offspring for fighting.
Rep. Jenkins explained that HB 408 would allow law enforcement officers to consider dog fighting paraphernalia, such as weights and sticks typically used to train dogs for fighting as evidence in an animal-cruelty case.
Currently, law enforcement can only pursue charges once a dog fight has taken place.
“It’s very secretive,” Jenkins said. “The actual fights are hard to know about and to investigate.”
Note: The legislation would not apply to police dogs, dogs involved in field trials, guard dogs or other working dogs trained to attack under specific circumstances, although some lawmakers indicated they may file floor amendments to clarify that point.
HB 408 now goes to the full House for consideration.
The Legislative Research Commission advises that anyone can visit lrc.ky.gov or call toll-free 1-866-840-2835 for the latest on the status of bills.
To leave a message for any legislator, call the General Assembly’s toll-free Message Line at 1-800-372-7181.
You may write to any legislator by name at Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, Ky., 40601.
Source: Kentucky Forward
A Gulfport, Mississippi woman claims she’s been fighting Walgreens after a local store denied her request to have copies of Bible scriptures made. Kelly Taylor, 48, says she was initially told that her online copy order was denied because of technical issues, but according to her account, they later changed their reasoning, saying that it infringed on copyright laws.
The initial response from the store read, “"Hello Kelly! Due to a technical issue we were unable to process your print order at this time. For more details, contact a photo team associate -- they’re happy to help! Just have your order number handy."
When Taylor called the store to see what the problem was, she was told they couldn’t print out the scripture quotes because of copyright issues.
“I told the lady my Father wrote them and who exactly would I get the approval from?” said Taylor. "I’ve seen so many Bible verses printed out - surely they didn’t all get permission from the publisher.”
A Walgreens spokesperson made a statement to Fox News defending their decision.
"Speaking for the company, I can tell you that the document in question contained not only text but an artist’s graphic design featuring images of the sky, clouds and stars. It is possible that our employee had concerns about copyright protection for the artist’s work," said company spokesman James W. Graham. "In any case, we decided any copyright concerns could be addressed by asking the customer to sign a waiver. We were sorry for the inconvenience this caused our customer and we printed the document for her at no charge."
Even though Taylor now has her images, she says, “We’re praying that Walgreens learns that the Bible doesn’t belong to anyone, it belongs to everyone,” and hopes the company learns from this experience.
A Kansas lawmaker is proposing a controversial bill that would allow parents, teachers, and caregivers to spank children hard enough to leave marks.
Democratic House member Gail Finney says that the new bill would allow for an adult to give up to 10 strikes of the hand and would make it OK if that spanking left marks or bruises on the child. In addition, the bill would allow for parents to give others permission to spank their children. The current Kansas law allows for spanking, but does not allow for it to leave a mark on a child. The new bill would expand on this law.
"This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal," said McPherson Deputy County Attorney Britt Colle, who proposed the bill to Finney. "This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not."
While there are many who support this bill, some experts say that spanking isn’t as effective as it used to be.
"20, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and we do now, said pediatric nurse practitioner and child abuse specialist Amy Terreros to KCTV. “So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out. It tends to lead to more aggressive behavior with a child.”
Fellow lawmakers say they aren’t sure that the House committee would even consider this bill, so the chance of it ever being made law is up in the air.
Mohammad Tabibar Rahman, a science teacher and Bangladeshi immigrant, has been banned from taking anyone to court after 50 cases in 10 years.
Rahman’s ban was made official by Justice Michael Adams, who ruled he was a “vexatious litigant,” using the judicial system to “harass, annoy or achieve another wrongful purpose.”
As a vexatious litigant, Rahman cannot start legal proceedings without first gaining the court’s consent.
Being put on the vexatious litigant register is not stopping Rahman from making one more trip to court.
Rahman plans to fight to have his ban overturned, reports the Telegraph.
“This is a crime against humanity, I will take them to the International Criminal Court if I have to,” Rahman said.
The first time Rahman filed a lawsuit was in 2001, when he failed an English exam and was denied teaching at NSW. He filed a complaint for racial bias with the Anti-Discrimination Board, and when it was rejected he began legal proceedings.
Since 2001, Rahman has taken legal action over social security payments, speeding tickets, a failed job interview with the Department of Immigration, and a suspension from studying law at the University of Technology.
When he sued his own legal team over their bill he ended up paying more when he lost the case.
“He has persistently undertaken proceedings which were bound to be futile as they had no proper basis either in law and fact and, to bolster his cases, has resorted to allegations of corruption, bias and incompetence,” said Justice Adams.
Rahman blames his losses on a “corrupt” and “racist” judicial system.
His constant legal battles have had a huge financial impact.
It is estimated that Rahman’s legal battles have cost between $500,000 and $1 million. His two homes, valued at about $980,000, are now at risk and his bank account has had $57,000 removed.
“Taxpayers cannot be expected to foot the bill for the private and never-ending court battles of malicious, vindictive, unreasonable individuals,’’ Attorney General Greg Smith said.
But Rahman still believes he has made the right decisions.
“I am not wrong, they are doing the wrong thing, they are not following the right procedure,” Rahman said.
Victorian Psychiatrist Grant Lester said about 50% of vexatious litigants demonstrate the behavioral disorder querulousness.
“Those who use the courts extensively will often appear as unrepresented litigants, sometimes because they have exhausted their funds or the patience of lawyers,” Lester wrote in a research paper co-authored with psychiatrist Paul Mullen.
Rahman denies he has an obsession with litigating people, or that it is a problem.
“Do you think this is obsessive? Is it not my legal right?” Rahman said.
It's Illegal For A Homeless Person To Cover Up With a Blanket in Pensacola, and People Are Not Happy About It
An ordinance was recently passed in Pensacola, Fla., that makes it illegal for homeless people to cover themselves with blankets or newspapers, and with the recent polar vortex slamming the country, many people are outraged that homeless people in the city are being forced to freeze in the extreme temperatures.
As noted by Forward Progressive, the “camping ordinance” was passed just this past summer, and now that winter has hit, many are noting how extreme and cruel this ordinance is towards people living on the streets.
Just last month, locals asked Pensacola City Council to repeal sections of the camping ordinance that negatively affected homeless people. Jeremy Bosso was one of those who stood up and pleaded with the council to look at the issue from a humanitarian standpoint.
“Good evening, City Council,” said Bosso in his appeal. "I just wanted to bring to your attention, WEAR ABC News posted a sort of public service announcement, if you will, just reminding people with this cute little meme on their Facebook page. It’s a cute little dog, and it says, ‘If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. Please bring your pets inside. Please share to get out this message.’ I would just like to say that I fully agree with this, that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets. But I would also like to ask that the City Council extend that same courtesy to our fellow human beings. The temperatures have reached the teens recently. It’s expected to be a hard freeze tonight. And because of that, I’d like to ask the Council to respectfully reconsider the “camping” ordinance that I believe several other people have mentioned, that does prohibit sleeping with a blanket, a sleeping bag. I think we should extend that courtesy to our fellow humans. I mean, we do it for the animals, and I think we should respect life at all stages.”
Author, human rights activist, and former priest Father Nathan Monk started a petition, and it has already received over 7,000 signatures. The petition, which is directed at Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, asks that the no-blankets ordinance be repealed.
Delray Beach was shocked on Tuesday when police gunned down a man that was reportedly terrorizing the South Florida community.
Following the incident, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw explained that a 6 foot 3, 250-pound naked man with 'super-human' strength had assaulted a 66-year-old retired police officer and bit the face of an 18-year-old man. When police failed to subdue the suspect with a Taser gun, they fired three fatal gunshots. The law enforcement officials believed the man to have been under the influence of some sort of "narcotic," although his exact mental state at the time is unknown.
New details and cell phone footage have now emerged as evidence of the incident. The man shot by police is named Anesson Joseph, a 28-year-old West Palm Beach resident who, according to Facebook, was the CEO of Nightlife University Parties & Events. One of Joseph’s neighbors, interviewed by CBS, described the man as “quiet,” claiming he “never would have expected something like this.” Police are still unclear whether the man was mentally ill or under the influence of drugs.
A cell phone video of the incident shot by Delray Beach resident Robert Friskney depicts some of Joseph’s actions. According to the Daily Mail, Friskney claimed that Joseph was “acting like an animal, even growling, before he lunged at police and they shot him with a Taser.” The video shows Joseph continuing to struggle on the ground after being shot by the police.
Joseph’s family attorney Byrnes Guillaume has claimed that the police’s use of force may not have been justified due to the fact that Joseph was unarmed.
“There has to be an answer to where an unarmed man came and they used deadly force. We just need to figure out what occurred, and we need to find out some answers,” said Guillaume.
The death of Avonte Oquendo, the New York teenager that went missing after wandering away from school last fall, has prompted a lawmaker to introduce a bill that would fund GPS tracking devices for all children with autism.
The numerous “Missing Person” flyers scattered throughout New York City in the days following Oquendo’s disappearance explained that the teenager had autism and could not speak. He was recently found dead in the East River.
The new law, introduced by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, is being referred to as “Avonte’s Law” in honor of the teenager. The law would allocate $10 million in funding for the tracking devices.
“Avonte’s Law will allow his memory to live on while helping to prevent more children with autism from going missing,” Schumer said, according to Yahoo News, “The technology will allow parents of all children with autism – no matter how much or how little money they have — to enjoy the benefits of a high-tech solution to an age-old problem.”
The decision to implement GPS tracking devices has proved controversial, as many fault Avonte’s school teachers and those that were responsible for watching over him for his disappearance. Avonte’s family also plans to file a wrongful death suit against the child’s school.
Schumer’s plan, however, is modeled after an existing law that funds tracking devices for patients with Alzheimer’s.
“We’ve seen it done - it works. All that stands in the way is funding,” Schumer said, referencing the existing Alzheimer’s program to emphasize his point.
Because autism occurs in different forms across a spectrum that varies from individual to individual, it could be difficult to determine which children are eligible for GPS tracking devices and which children do not need them. According to NBC News, however, research shows that “49% of children with autism wander off or run away.”
Avonte’s Law could prevent more children from being unnecessarily injured or killed, but it will also allocate funding to a complex issue which needs further, more careful consideration.
Virginia legislators have proposed a new bill that would reinstate many of the provisions found within the state’s former “Crimes Against Nature” Law, which controversally criminalized oral and anal sex even amongst consenting adults.
Although the initial "crimes against nature" law was recently ruled unconstitutional by federal courts, legislators have drafted a proposal that would change some aspects of the law while keeping certain provisions that criminalize oral and anal sex as felony offenses.
The state's initial law was struck down by a U.S. Court Of Appeals in May of 2013, citing the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence V. Texas in their ruling. That federal case held that "statutes criminalizing private acts of consensual sodomy between adults are inconsistent with the protections of liberty" outlined by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause, according to Think Progress.
The new proposal makes it clear that anal and oral sex between consenting adults is a non-criminal act, consistent with the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment.
According to the Virginia Legislative Information System, the law “clarifies that engaging in consensual sodomy is not a crime if all persons participating are adults, are not in a public place, and are not committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, aiding, or abetting any act in furtherance of prostitution. The bill states that an emergency exists and it is in force from its passage.”
The new proposal does, however, “restore felony penalties for minors engaging in oral sex and treat public sodomy differently from other public sex acts,” according to Think Progress. This, essentially, would classify consensual oral or anal sex between teenagers as a felony.
Despite the changes to the law, critics of the bill claim that it unfairly distinguishes between the same-sex practice of sodomy and vaginal intercourse. LGBT rights activists believe that the distinction unfairly targets individuals that practice consensual sex with members of the same sexual orientation.
Kentucky man and registered sex offender Guy Padraic Hamilton-Smith is pushing the state’s Supreme Court to allow him to take the bar exam and become a practicing lawyer.
In 2007, Hamilton-Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of matter portraying sexual performance by a child. He received a five-year suspended sentence and was required to register as a sex offender until 2027.
"It is so difficult for registrants to even get jobs and support themselves and function day to day, let alone pursue a law career," Shelley Stow of Reform Sex Offender Laws said.
Since his graduation in 2011, Hamilton-Smith has held a non-lawyer position at Baldani, Rowland and Richardson. The firm has filed multiple letters in his support.
Scott White, Hamilton-Smith’s attorney, argued that while his client has had a few relapses with adult pornography, he has not associated himself with child pornography. White added that Hamilton-Smith has used the law to redeem himself of the charge.
"He just hasn't let it define him," White said.
Hamilton-Smith, who graduated in the top third is law school class, plans to ask justices by Jan. 13 to reconsider the decision that he lacks the moral character to join the bar.
The daughter of a famous bureaucrat has been implicated in blasphemy after refusing to participate in an arranged marriage.
Eraj Sajjad's father reportedly arranged a marriage with businessman Imtiaz Alam against her will.
In letters written by Sajjad to the Federal Interior Ministry and Senior Minister Sindh Nisar Khuhro of Karachi, Pakistan, she narrates how she escaped from her residence in Lahore because of the arranged marriage. According to Sajjad, Alam belongs to a very wealthy family and is an influential person. For these reasons she believes he was able to register a false blasphemy case against her out of revenge because she refused to marry him. Sajjad sought protection and withdrawal of the false blasphemy case against her, The News reports.
Sajjad also stressed that her parents and Alam now wanted to kill her in the name of honor.
Her request for help and dismissal of the blasphemy charge was denied.
The Interior Ministry, in a letter to Sajjad, said that "she had been formally implicated in a case of a serious nature and this ministry could not help her." Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro also refused to help, and suggested she approach the proper forum of a court of law.
The exact written complaint filed by the Karachi Police on Dec. 14 2013 against Eraj Sajjad under Section 295-C of blasphemy law accuses Sajjad of giving derogatory remarks on a very sensitive religious issue of Alam's.
The blasphemy case against Sajjad still stands.
In Pakistan, a blasphemy conviction can mean the death penalty, states Patheos.