FSU students volunteer for Innocence Project

first_img FSU students volunteer for Innocence Project May 15, 2003 Regular News FSU students volunteer for Innocence Projectcenter_img More than 30 law students at Florida State University are eager to help free wrongly convicted prisoners by doing research for the Innocence Project’s new office in Tallahassee.“You have a chance to make a huge difference in people’s lives,” New York attorney Barry Scheck told FSU law students April 10, announcing the creation of a Florida branch of the nonprofit legal clinic he co-founded that uses DNA tests to challenge convictions. Since 1992, the Innocence Project has helped exonerate 127 inmates across the country, including two in Florida.“Being responsible for an innocent person walking out of prison would be a highlight in the lives of most lawyers. You have a chance to see your legal career peak early.”FSU law Professor Meg Baldwin will teach a course this summer on researching inmate claims and will coordinate pro bono work of reviewing files and evidence. Students have three ways to become involved in the project, Baldwin said:• Take a course that combines classroom instruction with hands-on research.• Volunteer to review actual files.• Apply for two clerkships funded by FSU’s Center for Human Rights, located near the law school on Jefferson Street.“This is a wonderful opportunity for our law students to learn how wrongful convictions occur and be part of the solution for Florida inmates who are innocent of the crimes they were convicted of,” Baldwin said.Training sessions for lawyers interested in offering pro bono services to the Innocence Project may also be offered at the law school.Scheck, co-director of New York’s Cordoza Law School-based Innocence Project who gained prominence as the DNA expert on the O.J. Simpson murder defense team, said he wanted a presence in Florida for two reasons:“The first is that this state has the third largest inmate population in the country, and we’ve identified more than 500 cases where DNA evidence might affect a conviction,” Scheck said.“The second reason is that all the criminal appeals records are in Tallahassee, and the law school provides us with a great resource of research talent.”The clock is ticking.Florida is one of 30 states that passed legislation providing a review process of prison inmates who believe they can prove their innocence through DNA testing. However, legislation passed during the 2001 session allows Florida prisoners only until October 2003 to file a claim.“Needless to say, we have a huge job ahead of us,” said Scheck, who also spent time lobbying legislators and Attorney General Charlie Crist for support in extending that deadline.Although the Innocence Project deals exclusively with claims involving DNA evidence, Scheck said he hopes that success in genetic testing will focus attention on other areas of criminal evidence. Noting that a number of crime labs, including one in Houston, have been shut down recently for poor quality work, Scheck said standards are inconsistent from state to state.“If the kind of attention we’re paying to DNA were applied to other aspects of criminal evidence, I think you would see a lot more innocent people being released from prison,” he said.The Florida Innocence Project will be directed by Jenny Greenberg, a 1988 FSU law graduate and former director of the Battered Women’s Clemency Project and the Volunteer Lawyers Resource Center. She will be responsible for fundraising and helping decide which cases will be researched.“I would say that her job is pretty overwhelming,” Scheck said.Already, in the basement of the Collins Building in downtown Tallahassee, members of the Innocence Project are poring over hundreds of pages of trial transcripts, searching for details of biological evidence – such as blood, semen, and saliva – that could be tested for DNA.Of more than 1,000 Florida prisoners who wrote to the New York office asking for help, the Innocence Project decided to investigate about 400.Recently, Greenberg, Huy Dao, the Innocence Project’s assistant director, and Sheila Meehan, an administrator for the Holland & Knight law firm’s Tallahassee office, were plunging into boxes of records, some piled five feet high.David Menschel, one of the project’s staff attorneys in New York, called the challenge in Florida “Herculean.”“It’s almost impossible to compare this to any other state,” Menschel said. “These aren’t simple cases.. . . What could very well take as long as a decade, we have to do in a few months.”What the Innocence Project already has managed to do in Florida is clear Frank Lee Smith of a 1985 murder, after he had already died of cancer in prison in 2000.And after serving 22 years of several life sentences for multiple murders in South Florida, Jerry Frank Townsend walked out of prison a free man in 2001.The project’s Web page — at www.innocenceproject.org – said it is a non-profit legal clinic that “only handles cases where postconviction DNA testing of evidence can yield conclusive proof of innocence. As a clinic, students handle the case work while supervised by a team of attorneys and clinic staff.last_img read more

Mexico gunmen abandon two trucks with 35 bodies inside

first_img Share Share NewsRegional Mexico gunmen abandon two trucks with 35 bodies inside by: – September 21, 2011 Share Tweetcenter_img 7 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Officials suspect the killings stemmed from drug gang rivalryGunmen blocked a busy road in the Mexican state of Veracruz, abandoning two trucks with 35 bodies inside as horrified motorists looked on. Terrified witnesses sent messages on Twitter as they saw the bodies being left at an underpass in Boca del Rio. Some of the victims had their hands tied and showed signs of having been tortured, reports said. Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico coast, has seen a spike in drug-related violence in recent months. On Tuesday afternoon, people began to tweet that men wearing military-style uniforms were blocking the underpass near a big shopping centre, pointing their guns at motorists and dumping the bodies.“They don’t seem to be soldiers or police,” a tweet read, according to Associated Press. Another said: “Don’t go through that area, there is danger.”Strategic portVeracruz Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar said the corpses – 23 men and 12 women – were found in two vehicles. Of the seven victims so far identified, all had criminal records, he said.“We have begun the corresponding investigations and have identified some of the bodies and have confirmed that they all had prior criminal records and were involved with organised crime, like kidnapping, extortion, homicide, among other crimes.”Mr Escobar added: “We have never seen a situation like this before.” On Monday, 32 prisoners escaped from three jails in Veracruz, but Mr Escobar said there was no indication that any of the inmates were among those killed.Local media reported that some had been found with their hands bound and appeared to have been tortured.Veracruz had been spared much of the drug-related crime that has afflicted other regions of Mexico, but has recently witnessed an escalation of violence.The upsurge has been blamed on a struggle between the Zetas and its rivals in the Gulf Cartel for control of drug smuggling routes. Security expert Alberto Islas said drug gangs were looking to gain control of the area as they broadened their global reach.“Veracruz is an important strategic port. That has always been true for trade and commerce, but it’s now also true for drug exports,” Mr Islas told Reuters news agency.More than 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drugs cartels in 2006.BBC Newslast_img read more

NFL Draft 2019: 5 takeaways from the first round

first_img NFL Draft 2019: First-round picks by the Opta numbers NFL Draft 2019 trade roundup: Tracking every single one of the record 39 deals Those final two picks were very good for both the team and to change the culture, as well. So it makes the Ferrell pick sting a little less.5. A perfect fitMarquise Brown and Lamar Jackson just feels right. The Ravens have been big on getting the ball out of Jackson’s hands quickly as a young starter and Brown is blazing fast and a very good route-runner, especially on quick slants and drags.He will make Jackson’s job so much easier immediately. He just has to cut down on the drops a bit. Other than that, this is a match made in heaven. Here are five takeaways from Round 1.Five takeaways from the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft1. The Giants and Jets are going in opposite directionsThis is a weird sentence to write, but the Jets know what they’re doing right now and the Giants appear to have no clue. Related Newscenter_img The Giants traded away their best wide receiver, a good pass rusher, a run-stuffing defensive tackle and a cornerback all in the last two years while not re-signing a Pro Bowl safety. Then, it took a quarterback, nose tackle and corner all in the first round Thursday and every single one of their picks was seen as an overdraft.Daniel Jones was valued by several as a second-round pick at best, Dexter Lawrence was seen as an overrated player and Deandre Baker was thought by many to be a late second-round pick. The Giants took all three of those players in the first round and they selected Jones at six. Meanwhile, the Jets took arguably the best player available on the board, and maybe in the draft, in Quinnen Williams while they already added C.J. Mosley and Le’Veon Bell this offseason. That comes one year after taking a pretty sure-fire bet to succeed at quarterback in Sam Darnold. 2. Washington made the right picks even if they carry some riskWhile Dwayne Haskins may carry some questions with him (he doesn’t have a ton of starts under his belt, Urban Meyer’s QBs struggle at the NFL level and he’s a bit immobile), Washington absolutely made the right move in picking him at No. 15.He can take a bit of time to develop behind Case Keenum, the team has Alex Smith already — who could come back and play within the next two years — and Haskins is a hometown favorite, so fans will be in full support of the move. It makes absolute sense.As does trading up to get pass rusher Montez Sweat, who was almost undoubtedly the best player on the board when they moved up to get him. He matches athleticism (4.41 40-yard dash) with production (30 sacks in his last two years at Mississippi State). Both of these moves made sense and kudos to the Redskins for pulling it off.3. Steelers offer big resetThere’s no way around it, when Ryan Shazier went down in 2017 so did the Steelers’ plans over the next couple of years. He was truly changing that defense and making Pittsburgh a much more formidable team going forward, so when he went down it was crushing for the organization.But, by drafting Devin Bush in the first round this year, the Steelers have a chance to reset and once again build around a great player in the middle. Shazier was a great player, and hopefully he can be again, but if he isn’t, Bush can lead a defense into the future.4. Raiders day a tale of two draftsThe Raiders started the day off with a bang, making the only pick more controversial than the Giants selection of Jones. Clelin Ferrell is a great person, a very good player and a foundational piece for the Raiders to build on, but he was taken way too high. The Raiders might have been able to get him in the 20s.But, instead they took him No. 4 and passed up on a better pass rusher in Josh Allen. It didn’t make a lot of sense. However, with the team’s second pick they got a player many pundits — and just football fans in general — will love in Josh Jacobs out of Alabama.The underdog running back has little wear and tear (just 251 carries in three years for the Crimson Tide), a non-stop motor and a mean streak not seen often today in running backs. Fans in Oakland and Vegas got a good one. Then, in Johnathan Abrams’ case, the Raiders got a similar player in a safety to help out an awful defense. The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft brought six trades, two head scratchers in the top 10 picks and an incredibly confused fanbase in New York.And those fans aren’t wearing green, which comes as a surprise to many hanging around the city.last_img read more

Kentucky School Surprises Student with Yearbook Photo of Her Service Dog

first_img“It’s important for us to do all we can to foster our relationship with families and do what we can to support students,” says Nathan Sturtzel, principal of St. Patrick Catholic School. “We love Ariel. She’s part of Hadley Jo’s family so she’s a part of our family too. Finding a place for her in our yearbook was an easy decision and it was a lot of fun to include her. We loved it.”The Labradoodle is the only service dog within the archdiocese of Louisville, according to Heather Lange.“When I got the yearbook and saw that they included our service dog, that was one of the most touching moments of my life. The inclusiveness meant so much,” she adds. “It proved that we may not all look the same, we may not all learn the same, we have differences but it’s OK. We can still be kind and inclusive and accept each other. This yearbook is a huge reflection of that.”She went on to say, “It’s very comforting knowing my daughter has a home at her school where she is loved and accepted, even though she may not look like everyone else. St. Patrick made a choice to accept my child and her service dog. The acceptance and inclusion is a true sign of kindness and compassion.” Photo courtesy: Heather Lange via CNN With the academic year coming to an end, one school in Kentucky decided to save a spot in its yearbook for a different kind of student – Ariel, a service dog.St. Patrick Catholic School in Louisville surprised the pet’s owner, 7-year-old Hadley Jo Lange, by including a photo of the Labradoodle among its kindergarten class. The girl suffers from epilepsy, which is a neurological disorder that causes seizures.“This dog has really saved my daughter’s life,” her mom, Heather Lange, told CNN. “I don’t know how I could ever thank Ariel as a mother. She goes with her everywhere, to school, rides the bus with her, goes to her dance classes and soccer practice. She always has her eyes on my little girl. It’s a huge sense of security.”The 4-year-old pooch can recognize when the child is having an episode. When the seizures happen at school, Ariel alerts teachers by barking. During the episodes, she also lies down next to Hadley Jo and moves her body underneath the child in order to cushion her fall.last_img read more