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Ray Lewis III, son of former NFL player, charged with criminal sexual conduct
WPRay Anthony Lewis, III, 20, of Apopka, Fla., was charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct on Friday after police say he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman, according to warrants.

Lewis is the son of former NFL player Ray Lewis, who retired from the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 23 at an apartment on Technology Boulevard. The warrant says Lewis engaged in sexual battery with the woman while she was mentally incapacitated and/or physically helpless from the use of drugs and/or alcohol.

On Jan. 23, police responded to Grand Strand Hospital for a report of a sexual assault. A rape kit was performed, according to the police report.

After compiling medical reports from the hospital, victim statements, witness statements and lab results, the case was presented to the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office for review.

After review, police were directed to get an arrest warrant for Lewis, according to the police report.

Lewis turned himself into police on Friday, April 29.

Tommy Brittain and Ed Garland, the attorneys for Lewis released the following statement on his arrest:

Ray Lewis III is innocent of all charges and we expect him to be fully vindicated by the end of this matter.

Lewis announced plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina University in January of 2015 and played cornerback on the CCU football team.

Martha Hunn, a spokeswoman for CCU, says Lewis has been suspended from the football team and the university is currently conducting an administrative investigation.

The full statement from CCU says:

Once CCU became aware of an incident, the University immediately began facilitating the administrative investigation, which includes requests to Conway Police Department for the police report and other information pertaining to this case. The University obtained the arrest warrant today. Immediately upon arrest, Ray Lewis III was suspended indefinitely from the football team. The University continues its administrative investigation process.
Lt. Selena Small with the Conway Police Department said this is all the information available at this time because the case is still under investigation.

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WPDE Apr-29-2016 135 0
WPRay Anthony Lewis, III, 20, of Apopka, Fla., was charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct on Friday after police say he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman, according to warrants.

Lewis is the son of former NFL player Ray Lewis, who retired from the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 23 at an apartment on Technology Boulevard. The warrant says Lewis engaged in sexual battery with the woman while she was mentally incapacitated and/or physically helpless from the use of drugs and/or alcohol.

On Jan. 23, police responded to Grand Strand Hospital for a report of a sexual assault. A rape kit was performed, according to the police report.

After compiling medical reports from the hospital, victim statements, witness statements and lab results, the case was presented to the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office for review.

After review, police were directed to get an arrest warrant for Lewis, according to the police report.

Lewis turned himself into police on Friday, April 29.

Tommy Brittain and Ed Garland, the attorneys for Lewis released the following statement on his arrest:

Ray Lewis III is innocent of all charges and we expect him to be fully vindicated by the end of this matter.

Lewis announced plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina University in January of 2015 and played cornerback on the CCU football team.

Martha Hunn, a spokeswoman for CCU, says Lewis has been suspended from the football team and the university is currently conducting an administrative investigation.

The full statement from CCU says:

Once CCU became aware of an incident, the University immediately began facilitating the administrative investigation, which includes requests to Conway Police Department for the police report and other information pertaining to this case. The University obtained the arrest warrant today. Immediately upon arrest, Ray Lewis III was suspended indefinitely from the football team. The University continues its administrative investigation process.
Lt. Selena Small with the Conway Police Department said this is all the information available at this time because the case is still under investigation.

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Emily Lane, Apr-28-2016 111 0
Cardell Hayes, the accused shooter of former Saints star Will Smith, was indicted by a New Orleans grand jury Thursday (April 28) on a second-degree murder charge, and also for attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of Smith's wife Racquel, among other charges.

Hayes pleaded not guilty at his arraignment shortly after. A judge set his bond at $1.75 million -- $750,000 higher than Hayes' previous bond.

The indictment highlighted a dramatic day in court, with prosecutors racing toward a grand jury vote and getting the formal charges just as Hayes attorneys had started questioning witnesses in a separate hearing aiming to free Hayes.

The indictment, which halted that questioning, was followed by a scuffle outside the courtroom that left two women in handcuffs, and by the unusual relocation of the hearing -- and the corresponding media entourage -- to a different judge's courtroom.

Cardell Hayes pleaded not guilty Thursday (April 28) to murdering former Saints player Will Smith and shooting Smith's wife Racquel.

The indictment also started the clock on what is likely to be months, and possibly years, of legal wrangling over what evidence and witnesses would be admitted in an eventual trial.

Hayes, who attended the hearing Thursday and blew kisses to his relatives in the courtroom, has been in jail since first arrested after police said he fatally shot Will Smith and wounded Racquel Smith following a traffic collision late April 9 in the Lower Garden District.

Indictment handed down for Cardell Hayes in Will Smith case, defense attorney speaks

Cardell Hayes' attorney John Fuller talks about his client's indictment from the Grand Jury at criminal court over the shooting death of former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith.

There was no indication Thursday that Hayes plans to post bond, but his attorneys immediately requested a bond-reduction hearing.

Peter Thomson, an attorney representing the Smith family, said they were "please, though not surprised" by the grand jury indictment.

"Although nothing can ease the pain this family is feeling, today was a step towards ensuring this cold-blooded murderer is held responsible for the actions that took the life of their husband, father and friend," Thomson said of Racquel Smith.

Defense: witness saw gun being removed; ex-cop denies it

A big development in the case was expected one way or another Thursday. Hayes' attorneys John Fuller and Jay Daniels, who have criticized the investigation, had subpoenaed 24 witnesses for a hearing to determine whether there was probably cause to continue to hold Hayes in jail.

But the dramatic sequence in which the charges were delivered was notable.

A prosecutor rushed into the courtroom to bring the indictment in the middle of the probable cause hearing, which was convened at Hayes' request. The charges were delivered as David Olasky, a private investigator for Hayes' attorneys, was testifying about a witness who claimed to have seen a retired NOPD captain remove a gun from Smith's SUV the night of the shooting. Hayes' attorneys have previously suggested someone may have tampered with the crime scene after the shooting.

But Tanya Picou Faia, an attorney for former officer Billy Ceravolo, flat out denied the allegation that her client removed a gun from Smith's vehicle.

"It's Mr. Fuller's script," said Faia, referring to Fuller's previous allusions to crime scene tampering. "I expected that allegation would be made."

Ceravolo had been subpoenaed to testify Thursday, but he was among the witnesses who never were put on the stand once the indictment came in.

By opting to charge Hayes in an indictment, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office was able to stop the hearing and prevent almost all of those witnesses from testifying -- keeping most evidence in their case under wraps. Many of the witnesses Hayes' attorneys planned to call were also subpoenaed for the grand jury proceedings.

The indictment answers why New Orleans police had not yet charged Hayes in the shooting of Racquel Smith. Days after the shooting, NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble said charges were pending against Hayes in connection to Racquel Smith's shooting. She was shot once in each leg and attended her husband's funeral in a wheelchair. But nearly three weeks after the high profile incident, prosecutors had yet to charge Hayes in her shooting, choosing instead to allow the grand jury to determine whether to charge him.

Will Smith was fatally shot shortly before 11:30 p.m. April 9 following a traffic crash in the Lower Garden District, police say. According to the department, Hayes' Hummer H2 rear-ended Smith's Mercedes SUV. An argument followed, then gunfire. The former defensive lineman was shot seven times in the back and once in the chest, according to Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse.

Questions remains about whether Smith was in possession of a gun when Hayes opened fire. An attorney for the Smith family, Peter Thomson, has said a gun police said was found in Smith's SUV remained in a compartment of the vehicle the night of the shooting. Fuller has suggested, however, that he can produce a witness who will dispute that. Police have not said where in the vehicle Smith's gun was located.

Fuller and Daniels have not disputed that Hayes pulled the trigger. They have continued to assert, however, they can prove Hayes is "legally not guilty" of murder, suggesting -- but not expressly saying -- the shots might have been fired in self-defense.

Thomson told reporters Hayes killed Will Smith, a father of three, in "cold blood," yelling has he stood over Smith's body after shooting him.





Jeff Truesdell Apr-28-2016 644 0
The godmother of a 16-year-old Louisiana girl found dead in a ditch with her hair in pink rollers Sunday spoke with PEOPLE about her grief.

"Our lives will be forever changed with this," says Katrice Reid, 36, the godmother of Jorion White, of Kenner, Louisiana. "I am truly heartbroken. We don't know how to comprehend how to go on without her."

Authorities in St. Charles Parish suspect foul play and tell PEOPLE they still are investigating what happened to White. She was last seen by her family at home on Thursday night as she prepared for bed; her family reported her missing on Friday evening. Sunday evening, a body later identified as White's was found in a drainage ditch.

Results from an autopsy have not been released, and police have not revealed a manner of death.

Those left behind recall White as an ambitious, grounded, smiling high school junior at Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School whose life ended too soon.

White Wanted to Be a Nurse, 'Loved to Help and Take Care of People'

"She just lit up the room when she came in," says Reid. "We were very blessed to have her for the 16 years we had."

"She had a goal of being a nurse. She loved to help people and take care of people," adds Reid. "She just impacted more people that I think she even thought she did. It was just her personality – just such a sweet person."

That was made clear by an impromptu memorial gathering on Monday night.

"We had at least 200 people out there," says Reid. "They had buses – they were busing kids in. It was so beautiful, so beautiful. And it wasn't anything that was organized. Somebody put it out there, and everybody just showed up."

"It just tells me that she was a wonderful soul. So many people loved her."

? Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

'No Matter How Good We Are, There's Just so Much Evil'

White was the youngest in a family of six kids – three boys, three girls. In her bedroom, there were self-help and inspirational books such as Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on her shelf.

"Her mother was big with her in setting goals and how to improve yourself," says Reid, who was a classmate and friend of White's mother, Michelle Price, since the age of 13. "Her mom always encouraged her to look ahead and how to prepare herself for life as a grownup."

Although White's parents were divorced, White stayed close to both her mother and father, and looked ahead to spending time this summer with her dad and stepmom at their home in Dallas.

"She had a lot of people around her that she could look to as far as guidance for her," says Reid. "That's why it's hard. There was so much positive. This just kind of blind-sided us."

"It just touches you to your soul, because it shows that no matter how good we are, there's just so much evil at any given time, and we don't know when the evil will take the good out."

Reid did not speculate on what may have happened to her goddaughter, only that White would not have left home on her own with her hair in curlers. "She was a person who made sure she was pretty when she walked out the door," she says.

"We don't know – that's the hardest part, we really don't know. We're just confused."

As authorities continue to search for answers, Reid has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money toward White's burial, "because you're just never prepared to bury a 16-year-old," she says.

"I believe that she's looking down on us right now," says Reid, who created the hashtag #JusticeforJorion. "She just has to be smiling even more than I know she can, just to know she was loved so much."

AP Apr-27-2016 162 0
Former LAPD Chief Willie Williams has died. He was 72.

Williams was appointed as the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department in the wake of Chief Daryl Gates' resignation following the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

He became the first African-American to lead the LAPD.

During his tenure in L.A., Williams worked to bolster the image of the LAPD, and heal the rift that opened between police and Los Angeles communities following the violent arrest in 1991 of motorist Rodney King.

He served as police chief in L.A. until 1997.

Williams also served as the police commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department from 1988 to 1992.

He was appointed federal security director for Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta in 2002. Williams was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time of his death.

RYAN NAKASHIMA Apr-26-2016 117 0
Prince's sister says the superstar musician had no known will and filed paperwork Tuesday asking a Minneapolis court appoint a special administrator to oversee his estate.

Tyka Nelson, Prince's only surviving full sibling, said in the court filing that immediate action was necessary to manage Prince's business interests following his death last week. The size of Prince's fortune is unclear, though he made hundreds of millions of dollars for record companies, concert venues and others during his career and his estate included about $27 million in property.

Nelson asked that Bremer Trust, a corporate trust company, be named administrator of the estate. The court documents say Breber Bank provided financial services to Price for many years.

The filing comes less than a week after the pop star died Thursday at his home in suburban Minneapolis. The outpouring of grief and nostalgia prompted fans to buy 2.3 million of his songs in three days.

Prince owned a dozen properties in and around his famous Paisley Park complex in suburban Minneapolis: mostly rural pieces of land and some houses for family members. Public records show those properties were worth about $27 million in 2016.

Estimates of how much licensing his personal brand will bring in after death reach to the purple clouds.

"He was as big as they get," said Mark Roesler, chief executive of CMG Worldwide, which handles licensing for the estates of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other late stars.

Roesler estimates Prince's post-mortem earnings will match top-earning dead celebrities like Elvis Presley, whose estate made $55 million in 2015, according to Forbes magazine.

"Will there be a business built up around Prince 60 years from now like James Dean? The answer is unequivocally yes," said Roesler.

If Prince filed a will or created a trust, heirs to his future fortune would be known. But no such documents have yet turned up.

Under Minnesota law, a person can file a will with probate court in secret. If Prince did so, the fact one exists would become public once a death certificate is filed, but the medical examiner has not yet issued one for Prince. An autopsy was conducted Friday and his remains were cremated Saturday.

L. Londell McMillan, a longtime lawyer and former manager of the superstar, declined to comment Monday to The Associated Press about whether the entertainer had a will or any other particulars regarding his estate, but added: "I want to make sure his legacy is respected and protected no matter what role I play." McMillan was Michael Jackson's lawyer and played a role in his estate, as well as those of rapper Notorious B.I.G. and Sammy Davis Jr.

Several other attorneys who have done work for Prince in the past - including Alan Eidsness, who handled his 2006 divorce from Manuela Testolini Nelson - said they were not handling his estate.

Wealthy people usually create trusts to avoid the public spectacle of probate court, and it's probable Prince did so, according to Irwin Feinberg, a Los Angeles trust and probate lawyer.

Prince wasn't married and had no known living children. Nelson is his only full-sibling, though he has five half-siblings (two other half-siblings have died) who could share in his estate if he has no will.

The AP did not find liens or mortgages on any of his properties, which range from a sprawling 160-acre piece of grassland between Lake Lucy and Lake Ann, to a three-bedroom bungalow in Minneapolis that is home to his half brother, Omarr Baker.

Prince sold over 100 million albums on his lifetime, according to Warner Music Group. And Pollstar, a concert industry magazine, said that in the years that his tours topped the charts - 10 years over four decades performing - the tours raked in $225 million in ticket sales.

His best-earning touring year, when he took in $87.4 million, was 2004, the year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and two decades after the soundtrack to "Purple Rain" went multi-platinum.

But what remained in Prince's hands is, by any estimate, less than the sum of ticket and album sales. In every record deal, a cut goes to the label, background performers and music publishers, though Prince published and wrote his own songs. Concert ticket revenue is split among the venue, the promoter, staff and the cost of travelling around. And prince was known to throw expensive parties.

In April 2013, Prince lost a suit filed in New York State's Supreme Court brought by perfume maker Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics Inc. for failing to promote the "3121" perfume line named after his album from 2006 and which he touted, but only once, in a massive concert that started July 7, 2007 near Macy's in downtown Minneapolis and ended at 5 a.m. at the First Avenue club, a famous venue from "Purple Rain."

He was ordered to pay $4.4 million; he never did. Instead, plaintiff lawyers went searching for assets, found about $3 million in various Minnesota bank accounts, and used court orders to freeze them, according to Brian Slipakoff, a New York lawyer who represented the perfume maker. Prince settled for a lower amount shortly after.

"It doesn't suggest there was oodles of cash lying around," Slipakoff said.

Prince encountered tax difficulties several times over the years, including owing back taxes to France in 2012, which he paid up, and overdue property taxes around $450,000 in 2010. In 2013, the IRS filed a federal tax lien against him in Carver County, Minnesota, Court for $1.6 million. What happened with that case is unclear.

Records on file with Carver County, where Paisley Park is located, show that he was up to date on his property taxes when he died.

Inside Edition Apr-26-2016 153 0
As he put 25 years of prison time served for a crime he didn't commit, Monday marked the first day in the rest of Darryl Pinkins' life.

The 63-year-old Indiana father walked out of Lake County jail after spending just a month shy of a quarter-century behind bars after he was convicted in 1991 for what prosecutors said was his participation in a horrific 1989 gang rape.

After years of unflinchingly maintaining his innocence, Pinkins was set free thanks to one of the newest innovations in DNA analysis.

The technology is so new, in fact, that Pinkins is the first inmate ever set free with its help.

"It feels like this day was - was meant to be. And I know it was," Pinkins told reporters outside the jail after friends and family greeted him in a tearful reunion. "This is a new beginning."

One of the emotional family members waiting for Pinkins was his son, who hadn't even been born.

Pinkins maintained during his 1991 trial that he'd been in bed with his wife when prosecutors said five men raped a woman for hours after the victim identified him as one of her attackers.

"I stood back as an innocent man watching it fold out before me, and it wasn't right," Pinkins said.

For decades, Pinkins continued to campaign to have his name cleared.

"Until recently, there was no technology that could really do what I call, dissects DNA mixture," Fran Watson, Pinkins' attorney with the Indiana Innocence Project told reporters.

The new technology is a DNA analysis program called TrueAllele. The process can be used to tease out the DNA of individuals from DNA mixtures.

"Once they explained to us what DNA was, we told them to bring the test on because we know where we were," Pinkins said.

After the test, Pinkins found himself cleared of the rape conviction and Lake County prosecutors have declined to put him back on trial.

"We were 100 percent certain that we did in fact have the right person," Bernard Carter, Lake County prosecutor said. However, "when you look at the evidence that stands now, it would be an injustice for us to even attempt to try Mr. Pinkins. We would not convict him."

MARYCLAIRE DALE Apr-26-2016 104 0
A Pennsylvania appeals court has rejected Bill Cosby's attempt to throw out his criminal case because of what he called a decade-old deal not to prosecute him.

The mid-level state Superior Court ruled Monday that the criminal sex-assault case against Cosby can proceed, prompting the district attorney to press for a preliminary hearing date.

Cosby, 78, is facing trial over a 2004 encounter at his home with a then-Temple University employee who says she was drugged and molested by the comedian. Cosby says they engaged in consensual sex acts.

Former prosecutor Bruce Castor has said he promised he would never prosecute Cosby and urged him to testify in the woman's 2005 civil lawsuit. The release of that testimony last year led a new prosecutor to arrest him.

In the lengthy deposition, the long-married Cosby acknowledged a series of affairs and said he had gotten quaaludes to give to women he hoped to seduce.

Cosby has not yet entered a plea in the criminal case, and remains free on $1 million bail posted after his Dec. 30 arrest.

"We ... look forward to the court setting a date so we can present our case," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement.

Cosby's lawyers were considering whether to respond to Monday's ruling, a spokesman said. He could potentially appeal again to the state Supreme Court, but it's unclear if that would delay the case.

"He may do that, but the critical question will be whether the Supreme Court will give him a stay during the review," said David Rudovsky, a University of Pennsylvania law professor.

Cosby is meanwhile locked in a number of legal battles around the country with women who accuse him of sexual assault or defamation.

He has countersued some of them, including the Pennsylvania accuser. His lawsuit accuses her of breach of contract for talking to police who reopened the case last year, given the confidential settlement of the lawsuit she filed against him after Castor turned down the case.

Castor re-emerged in the case last fall as a key defense witness who said he had made a deal that Cosby would never be charged. Castor last year was running to return to the district attorney's office. He was defeated by Steele.

Cosby acknowledged in the deposition that he gave the Temple ex-employee, Andrea Constand, the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl before engaging in sex acts with her at his home near Philadelphia. He calls the encounter consensual.

Constand, who had sought career advice from Cosby, left her job with the Temple women's basketball team that spring. She returned home to Toronto and began training to become a massage therapist.

A year later, she contacted police to report the alleged sexual assault.

Thirteen other women came forward by the time she settled her lawsuit in 2006 to say that Cosby had also molested them. Cosby in the deposition described a long history of womanizing, including extramarital affairs with several of the accusers. However, he said he never assaulted anyone or gave them drugs unknowingly.

Dozens of women have since added their names to the list of accusers. But the statute of limitations had run on virtually all of them, and Constand's is the only case to result in criminal charges.

As the case proceeds, the key issues are likely to include whether other accusers can testify; whether Cosby is unfairly biased by the 12-year delay; and whether his testimony in the civil case can be used against him.

GRAHAM RAYMAN Apr-25-2016 166 0
The city of Cleveland has agreed to pay $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy gunned down by police in November 2014, the Daily News has learned.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city does not admit wrongdoing in the shooting.

Tamir was shot and killed by cops who responded to an inaccurate 911 report of a man waving a gun near a park playground.

Tamir Rice was carrying a fake firearm on Nov. 22, 2014 when he was gunned down in a park by Officer Timothy Loehmann.

The huge settlement is likely the largest that Cleveland has had to pay to settle a civil rights claim — and one the largest settlements in recent years.

The boy’s mother, Samira, sued the city alleging that Cleveland police violated her son's civil rights.

Tamir was carrying a fake firearm on Nov. 22, 2014 when he was gunned down in a park by Officer Timothy Loehmann, who opened fire less than a second after hopping out of his patrol car.

The shooting of Tamir was set in motion when a 911 caller reported seeing a youth in a park with a gun that was "probably fake." The dispatcher failed to tell the two responding officers those two key pieces of information.

A grainy surveillance video captured the officers arriving at the scene and Loehmann opening fire from mere feet away, striking Rice once in the chest.

“Although it’s historic in financial terms, no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a life,” said two of Tamir’s lawyers, Earl Ward and Jonathan Abady of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP in a statement. “Tamir was 12 years old when he was shot and killed by police — a young boy with his entire life ahead of him, full of potential and promise.”

JASON SILVERSTEIN Apr-24-2016 360 0
This school has another N-word for one teacher’s unconventional curriculum: No.

A middle school teacher in Texas was put on administrative leave last week for leading a lesson about the uses of the N-word — a bit of cultural education the district said it never approved.

Rebekah Cook, a social studies teacher at Utley Middle School in Rockwall, had been teaching her students about the Civil Rights movement, according to KTVT.

As part of her lesson on Wednesday, she led a discussion about the social uses of the N-word, and passed out a Chicago Reader article from 1997 called “The N-Word and How To Use It." The article, by Bennie M. Currie, begins with the N-word spelled out letter by letter.

The school district began investigating Cook right after her lesson, and announced the next day she was placed on administrative leave.

The district said in a statement it had no idea Cook, who is white, had planned the lesson, and it gave her no approval for the article she used.

“While the teacher has expressed that the intent of the lesson was to provoke discussion, the teacher did not seek prior approval from the campus or district,” the statement said.

“This lesson activity and article are not part of Rockwall ISD’s curriculum and racially derogatory terms have no place in our classrooms or district.”

The district did not say how long Cook is on leave or if she will continue getting paid. Cook earns $50,066 a year, district records show.

Cook did not return calls for comment from the Daily News.

She teaches seventh and eighth grade at Utley and also helps run the yearbook, according to her school district profile.

The profile shows her daily class schedule from last week, showing “N word article” planned for her seventh grade class. According to the schedule, the plan for her eighth grade class that day was “Holocaust Butterfly project introduction.”

SHERYL GAY STOLBERG Apr-24-2016 157 0
Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia used his executive power on Friday to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, circumventing the Republican-run legislature. The action effectively overturns a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution aimed, he said, at disenfranchising African-Americans.

The sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election, will enable all felons who have served their prison time and finished parole or probation to register to vote. Most are African-Americans, a core constituency of Democrats, Mr. McAuliffe’s political party.

Amid intensifying national attention over harsh sentencing policies that have disproportionately affected African-Americans, governors and legislatures around the nation have been debating — and often fighting over — moves to restore voting rights for convicted felons. Virginia imposes especially harsh restrictions, barring felons from voting for life.

In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin, a newly elected Republican, recently overturned an order enacted by his Democratic predecessor that was similar to the one Mr. McAuliffe signed Friday. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a measure to restore voting rights to convicted felons, but Democrats in the state legislature overrode him in February and an estimated 44,000 former prisoners who are on probation can now register to vote.

“There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it,” Mr. McAuliffe said in an interview Thursday, previewing the announcement he made on the steps of Virginia’s Capitol, just yards from where President Abraham Lincoln once addressed freed slaves. “We should do it as soon as we possibly can.”

Republicans in the Virginia Legislature have resisted measures to expand voting rights for convicted felons, and Mr. McAuliffe’s action, which he said was justified under an expansive legal interpretation of his executive clemency authority, provoked an immediate backlash. Virginia Republicans issued a statement Friday accusing the governor of “political opportunism” and “a transparent effort to win votes.”

“Those who have paid their debts to society should be allowed full participation in society,” said the statement from the party chairman, John Whitbeck. “But there are limits.” He said Mr. McAuliffe was wrong to issue a blanket restoration of rights, even to those who “committed heinous acts of violence.”
The order includes those convicted of violent crimes, including murder and rape. There is no way to know how many of the newly eligible voters in Virginia will register. “My message is going to be that I have now done my part,” Mr. McAuliffe said.

Nationally, an estimated 5.85 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of felony convictions, according to The Sentencing Project, a Washington research organizations, which says one in five African-Americans in Virginia cannot vote.

Only two states, Maine and Vermont, have no voting restrictions on felons; Virginia is among four – the others are Kentucky, Florida and Iowa – that have the harshest restrictions.

Friday’s shift in Virginia is part of a national trend toward restoring voter rights to felons, based in part on the hope that it will aid former prisoners’ re-entry into society. Over the last two decades about 20 states have acted to ease their restrictions, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

In Kentucky, Mr. Bevin, who took office in November, promptly overturned an executive order issued by his predecessor, Steven L. Beshear, just before he left office. Then, last week, Mr. Bevin signed into law a less expansive measure, allowing felons to petition judges to vacate their convictions, which would enable them to vote.

Previous governors in Florida and Iowa took executive action to ease their lifetime bans, but in each case, a subsequent governor restored the tough rules.

Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, said Mr. McAuliffe’s decision would have lasting consequences because it will remain in effect at least until January 2018, when the governor leaves office.

“This will be the single most significant action on disenfranchisement that we’ve ever seen from a governor,” Mr. Mauer said, “and it’s noteworthy that it’s coming in the middle of this term, not the day before he leaves office. So there may be some political heat but clearly he’s willing to take that on, which is quite admirable.”

Myrna Pérez, director of a voting rights project at the Brennan Center, said Mr. McAuliffe’s move was particularly important because Virginia has had such restrictive laws on voting by felons. Still, she said,“Compared to the rest of the country, this is a very middle of the road policy.’’

Ms. Pérez said a number of states already had less restrictive policies than the one announced by Mr. McAuliffe. Fourteen states allow felons to vote after their prison terms are completed even while they remain on parole or probation.

Advocates who have been working with the Virginia governor say they are planning to fan out into Richmond communities Friday to start registering people.

Experts say with the stroke of his pen, Mr. McAuliffe has allowed convicted felons to begin registering to vote, and that their voting rights cannot be revoked — even if a new governor rescinds the order for future released prisoners.

But the move led to accusations that the governor was playing politics; he is a longtime friend of — and fund-raiser for — Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee for president, and former President Bill Clinton.

In the interview, Mr. McAuliffe said that he was not acting for political reasons, and that few people outside his immediate staff knew of his plan. He said he did not consult with Mrs. Clinton or her campaign before making the decision.

The executive order builds on steps the governor had already taken to restore voting rights to 18,000 Virginians since the beginning of his term, and he said he believed his authority to issue the decision was “ironclad.”

DAVID BOROFF Apr-22-2016 183 0
A 19-year-old Michigan mother who was one of the first to file lawsuits on behalf of the thousands of children poisoned by water in Flint was found shot to death this week.

The body of Sasha Bell was discovered Tuesday night at Ridgecrest Village Townhouses in Flint, authorities said. The body of a second woman, Sacorya Reed, was also found in the home.

Cops have not made any arrests or determined a motive.

An infant was found uninjured in the apartment, but it's not clear if that was Bell's son.

Sasha Bell's lawsuit alleges that her 16-month-old son suffers from lead poisoning because of "corporate and government misconduct."

"She just wanted what was best for her son," her New York-based lawyer Corey Stern told the Daily News on Friday. "She loved her son."

Stern said that Bell's lawsuit will go on, despite her death.

"It's really her son's case," he told The News.

The lawsuit named a group of companies, as well as three current or former government officials. One of the defendants tried to get the case moved to U.S. District Court, but a judge ruled earlier this month that the case should be heard in Genesee County Circuit Court in Flint, where the lawsuit was filed.

Stern says he is representing approximately 1,000 Flint children, and emphasized they are individual cases — it is not a class action suit. He has been traveling to the city over the last few months.

"There's not a lot of foot traffic, the restaurants are empty," he said of the city. "It's a community that's suffered from some serious trauma. I've met thousands of people in three months going back and forth, and they are resilient.

"Communities get torn apart or come together, and I think they have come together."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for funeral costs.

Joe Otterson Apr-22-2016 166 0
There were “no obvious signs of trauma” on Prince’s body when it was found in his Minnesota home, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said Friday in a press conference on the singer’s sudden death at age 57.

He added that "there is no reason to believe at this point that it was a suicide."

Prince, the music legend behind hits like "Raspberry Beret," "Purple Rain," and "Little Red Corvette," was discovered unresponsive at 10:07 a.m. on Thursday in an elevator at his Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

He had last been seen alive around 8 p.m. on Wednesday night when an acquaintance dropped him off at his estate, Olson said.

The coroner performed an autopsy on the star’s body Friday morning, but office spokeswoman Martha Weaver said the results “may take several weeks.”

However, Weaver said that Prince’s body had already been released to his family. It’s unclear when a funeral service might be held.

Olson also noted that he was “not privy” to whether the musician had a will.

Asked whether Prince was taking any medications at the time of his death, Olson said, “We are not able to confirm that at this time.”

Prince was briefly hospitalized last Friday in Moline, Illinois, while returning from a concert in Atlanta.

His representatives stated that he was suffering from flu-like symptoms, but a new report indicates that the singer may have overdosed on the painkiller Percocet.

At the press conference on Friday, Olson said that department personnel did not use any opiate antidotes like Narcan on Prince’s body at Paisley Park, although they do carry Narcan with them.

“This is tragedy for all of us,” Olson said. “To you, Prince Rogers Nelson was a celebrity. To us, he was a community member and good neighbor.”

Following news of the Purple One's death, a flood of tributes emerged from around the world on social media, with Katy Perry, Dwayne Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee and many others sharing their grief.

AP Apr-21-2016 165 0
A Florida teen accused of pretending to be a doctor has been offered a plea deal calling for three years in prison followed by five years of probation.

News outlets report prosecutor Mike Rachel offered 18-year-old Malachi Love-Robinson the deal Wednesday.

Love-Robinson was arrested in February after deputies say he was practicing medicine without a license.

Neither he nor his attorney Andrew Stine said Wednesday whether they would accept or reject the deal concerning several charges Love-Robinson faces, including practicing medicine without a license, fraud and grand theft.

Love-Robinson has denied the charges, saying he never said he was a medical doctor. He claims to have a doctorate from the Universal Life Church, which sells them online for $29.95.

If he declines the deal, Love-Robinson would face trial in July.

>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Nov-11-2015 12673 0
For years the question whether college athletes should be paid has been debated over and over only to be kicked down by legal rulings. The NCAA, the television networks, the media and large colleges have all profited off of the backs of primarily Black athletes, while the only colleges that would accept them are being forced to shut down because of a lack of resources. College coaches are earning millions of dollars per season, have large endorsement deals and live in upscale neighborhoods while college athletes, many who come from low income families, are penalize for accepting a meal from a booster, can’t afford to take a date out to dinner or a movie and can only wish that their families could afford to sit in the stands occupied by many who will not speak to them or support them after their college careers are over.

I’ve said on numerous occasions that in order for there to be a change within the system, the ones with the power would have to do something drastic. Two years ago the Grambling State University football team decided to stage a protest because of the lack of equipment and the conditions of Grambling’s facilities. Although I hated to see it come down to that, I understood their frustrations and realized that we were witnessing the beginning of a new movement. The day had come for college athletes to realize that they have as much power as professional athletes, to demand change.

Two years later, the football players at the University of Missouri made a bold statement that will have an everlasting impact on college sports. They walked away from a game they love to support their fellow students. They have now shown athletes at other schools the power they have when they join together in solidarity. As a result, the NCAA’s biggest fear just came to reality. There was not going to be any change or progress at the University of Missouri until the individuals responsible for generating a large share of the revenue said “Enough is Enough.” Within a few days of their walk-out, President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, the top administrator of the Columbia campus, announced their resignation. That's power.

The NCAA has long made the issues with college athletes, a legal one. The NCAA created rules that prevent athletes from earning a living until after they’ve made everyone else rich. College athletes are required to sign over all of their rights in exchange for a scholarship and cannot earn one single dime to support a parent who is sometimes forced to work two jobs and in some cases still don't have the resources to attend a game. LSU’s superstar Leonard Fournette is being questioned about a business venture his family started before his college career really took off. Now that he’s signed away his rights, it’s being frowned upon by the individuals who were earn millions off of him. In other words, we the NCAA and LSU own his rights. The system is old, is broken and it’s unfair. Schools like LSU and Alabama earn over $70 million per year off of football but the players receive $0. The coaches earn over $3 million per season but the players earn $0.

I'm predicting that we are a season or two away from college athletes staging one of the largest boycotts in college sports because they have come to realize that the power is in their hands. The Missouri football players did not have to miss one single game to get what they demanded but the fight is far from over. Today, the students in Missouri are being faced with the harsh reality of the racist society we still live in. They should be preparing for exams but instead they are fearing for their lives. One hundred thousand fans will cheer on black athletes on Saturdays but many will criticize their efforts and make fun of them on Monday morning. I applaud the efforts of our college athletes. It makes me feel good to see that Our future generation will not stop fighting the fight that many started years ago. We can only pray that one day we will be able to take off the gloves. Until that time, the fight must go on so that the future generation can experience what Dr. King died for many years ago; True equality for everyone.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Civil Rights Law, Sports and Entertainment, Litigation (Personal Injury and Commercial) and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl by email at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Danny Woodson Oct-22-2015 949 0
Highly-recruited since the sixth grade, Christian Jackson, has received countless visits from high school and college personnel. They’ve fawned over him and his abilities in an attempt to coax him to attend their institutions to bolster their pedigree of outstanding enrollees! Interested “third parties” will make countless monetary resources available to them, if they can secure top recruits such as he.

If they could only get Christian’s commitment to attend, surely others will follow his lead and attend there as well. It’s like a domino effect: like lemmings following the leader over a cliff, sheep cajoled by their shepherd and ducklings behind their mother. It’s the natural tendency to fall in line with what seems safe, comfortable and beneficial. Other top talents will get on the “bandwagon” with Christian because they know “he’s a winner and leader”. Unspeakable wealth and long-life prosperity await him and all who are on board with him. Everyone knows that this is just a stepping-stone for Christian because he’ll likely enter the professional ranks much more quickly than most. With his acumen and ability, he’ll surely leave school in three years or less.

The boosters, alumni and current student body are abuzz with the possibilities of Christian attending their illustrious institutions. They tweet him, post to his Facebook Page and his other social media accounts in hopes of winning him over to their side! They’ve seen his promising stats and know of his many attributes. “If we can get C. Jack, we’ll definitely win it all this year!!!”

Christian’s scouting report reads like a proverbial cornucopia of attributes; Christian Jackson, 5’11”, 210 lbs., Cumulative GPA, 4.3 on a 4.0 scale, 2 summer internships in his future major with two top, nationwide firms, 250 hours of community service, explosive grasp of all curriculums, able to improvise and adjust on a dime, great vision, high IQ, intuitive and possesses an innate ability to make those around him better.

This is different than the prevailing theme in today’s world, isn’t it? Why isn’t this the norm? Something’s missing. What, no mention of his playing a sport? Well, why in the heck would a university make such a big deal about someone like Christian? Sadly, there’s a stark difference between Christian and those they poach from our destitute and downtrodden neighborhoods with promises of future wealth in professional sports. Because of their athletic prowess, universities will sacrifice their own ethical and moral standards to attract those who can run fast or who can catch or shoot a ball well. They’ll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make repeat recruiting trips, countless phone calls, send thousands of texts and make empty promises in hopes of landing top talents to play sports for them. What if they did that for students like Christian, who can make a much greater impact on the world and who can truly be a beacon for others to attend their institutions? Well, those “third parties” aren’t paying the big bucks for the student who’ll change the world, only the student whose performance on the court or field, will keep the world from changing the channel!

What if the major networks paid these large institutions millions of dollars to broadcast that young men like Christian are scoring big in the classroom or in the community? I can see the rewards to the world that exist “outside of the white lines”, increase astronomically, as we observe those benefits being reaped nation and worldwide. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen because we’d rather be entertained than have our lives and our children’s lives improved. We just want to gloat that our team beat your team, yet again, and to have bragging rights for another year. That “entertainment” brings in and provides the suppliers of that entertainment MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, so it won’t ever stop.

What if it did? What if society grew and developed a higher level of consciousness and truly valued the promise of those who can change their world for lifetimes, not just for the temporary consequence of a win in four quarters or two halves of a sporting contest? Then, the recruiters would be parked outside of “C. Jack’s” house like the paparazzi. What if multiple websites posted footage of young, talented people at science fairs and other scholastic events and ranked them nationally according to their ACADEMIC, instead of their ATHLETIC potential? How awesome would that be? Christian would be ranked #3 or 250,000 scholars nationwide and colleges near and far would come calling!

You see, Christian’s goals are to graduate with a triple major in Economics, Sociology and Systematic Demographic Realignment so that he can strengthen his community and make it a viable, resilient and prosperous juggernaut in the local economy. He hopes to duplicate that throughout the country and to be a key player in the NFL. That stands for National Fortification League, which fortifies communities and whose teams consist of players with the same goals as he and his many cohorts. His team is fighting for a long-denied championship whereby all people, regardless of color and economic background, win control of their own communities; a place where people understand how to use their capital and assets to leverage building better schools, neighborhoods and establish a firm socioeconomic foothold in this country.

Christian no longer wants young African-American men and others to be pawns in a chess game that is played by a chess master whose interests lie only in capturing the king by using the pawns’ athletic prowess; a sacrificial lamb, if you will. When they’ve served their purpose, they’re thrown away. For years, their families have been brainwashed into believing that “sports” is the only way out of poverty as opposed to implanting the belief that an education and its application to the betterment of their present circumstances, is the most tangible and most realistic way to self-sufficiency.

It’s time to reassess where our own strengths lie and to demand to be recruited for our mental attributes instead of just our physical capabilities. The sad truth is that society and the media continue to thwart that constructive mantra with the “get rich with a big professional contract, shortsighted, self-centered gain” approach. Christian is not swayed. He wants to insure that all who look like him or who share his circumstances, are empowered and given the opportunity to earn an advanced degree, bring that newfound intellect back to the neighborhood and build a brain trust to revitalize, restore and reinvigorate a dying community and a marginalized people. Recruit him for that reason and for that reason alone, if you dare!

So, universities, how about offering scholarships en masse to burgeoning and brilliant young people with budding minds to make a name for themselves as well as your institutions? Offer scholarships and recruit those who may not be the brightest, but who show promise and desire, much like a “special teams player” or a “walk-on”. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the bragging rights that hundreds of your alumni have changed the circumstances of those locally, state-wide, nationally and globally or are you too caught in winning a network contract to have all of your team’s games broadcasted for the next 10 years for $100 million? Christian doesn’t care about television contracts. He only cares that those in power live up to their moral contracts with the people. To him that’s the only score and winning percentage that really matters. That’s when we’d all win a real NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Sep-09-2014 2804 0
On yesterday social media went crazy after the video of Ray Rice was released. Within hours Rice was released from the Ravens. Don't think for one second that it was not as a result of the public outcry on social media. The Ravens and the NFL did not have a choice but to release Rice because they had been exposed. However, the saddening part about of all of this is that the powers to be proclaimed they had not seen the video until yesterday.

Why do we live in a society where there's always a cover-up? If we are going to be angry at the police chief in Ferguson, MO for trying to cover up for one of his officers who killed Michael Brown we should also be upset with Commissioner Roger Goodell and Coach John Harbaugh because it appears that they took part in a scheme to deceive the public and by tuning in to the games as usual we are saying it's okay to cover-up a crime. Sean Payton, head coach of the Saints, was forced to sit out a year because an alleged wrongdoing took place under his watch. In my opinion, the same needs to happen to the Roger Goodell and Coach Harbaugh because somehow I think they knew and if they did not know it's even worse because they allowed a poor investigation to support a two game suspension.

Let's look at the severity of what they did. Their actions in trying to protect the NFL brand send the wrong message to ladies who are victims of domestic abuse. What the message says is that you should protect the abuser if there's something to lose. In this case, it was football games and plenty of revenue for a major brand. Their actions could help persuade a victim of domestic abuse to participate in a press conference in order to save a star and risk her life. This was not the right thing to do because someone following that same example could end up dead.

Releasing and/or suspending Rice for the year was the proper thing to do months ago but there are additional suspensions that need to be handed down before we stop talking about this. Take a year off Mr. Commissioner and Coach Harbaugh because you dropped the ball on this one. Better yet, if you won't suspend yourselves, donate your salaries for the year to a charity that supports domestic violence victims if you are really serious about the mistake that was made.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 3472 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

As a country, we came together after 9/11 but soon thereafter the unity went away. There's so much happening in our communities. I thought the Zimmerman verdict would be our wake up call to do more but our young black men continue to be gunned down at a high rate by Men who don't look anything close to their fathers and most of them get away with it. Just in case you mention the black on black crime, remember that the killer normally ends up in prison.

Just recently, the grand jury failed to indict a North Carolina police officer for the killing of Jonathan Ferrell, a young black male, but after there was a public outcry about the injustice that took place he was eventually indicted. Right here in Dallas, Texas we have black men being killed by white police officers and in a great majority of the cases, the police officers are not indicted and judged by a jury of their peers. Instead, the victim is placed on trial and society has become conditioned to believe that it's okay to kill someone if they have a prior criminal record or considered a menace to society. Well, it's not and it's time that it stops.

We need to be proactive and make sure laws that don't benefit us are changed. I will continue to say this until I can't say this anymore; we have to get out and VOTE during the mid-term elections. We need to make sure the right people are elected and the wrong people are removed from office, irrespective of their race. If the same people are in office (local officials) yet we are having some of the same problems, it's time for change. Vote for someone who wants to make a change. Don't just vote based on race or political affiliation; that's what has gotten us to this point where we are today. We have to be proactive or the next Jordan Davis might be our brother, our son, our nephew, our father or our friend. Let's do it. Get involved or get out of the way!!!!!



Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.


















Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 3817 0
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITIES?: I just finished talking to a mother who lost her son as a result of a police shooting. Hearing this mother talk about her son and how much he loved the holidays was simply heart wrenching. She went on to tell me that she's pleaded for help from our local politicians, pastors, leaders, etc. but no one wants to take her call, especially if the cameras are not rolling. To worsen matters, many of the leaders have put her son on trial and he's dead.

On last week they staged a protest in Dallas and sadly, 95% of the protestors were white. That made me wonder why do people make it in life and fail to reach back to help others? Why do people hear about injustices yet fail to say anything about it other than to say "that's sad!" During the 60's the leaders were individuals (black and white) who had college degrees, had bright futures ahead of them but they risk it all for us to be in the positions we are in today. The sad thing is that many of us believe it's all about us.

We must do more. We have to do more. We have to demand that our politicians and pastors step up to help us fight this battle. It truly takes a team effort. We must hold all of our community leaders accountable. When they ask for your vote, ask them to list ten things they did for the community in the last four years. Ask them how many times have they've attended a rally to show support to a grieving mother or father. We have serious issues and it takes all of us to stop this mess. I'm tired of seeing people who have never fought against a single injustice accept the Martin Luther King drum major for justice award. It's time for change.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
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