Sunday, January 2, 2011

Current Event, 1/7/11

Happy 2011! Welcome to en exciting new year of current events and special topics. :) This week we are beginning the Judicial Branch (3/3 on the tree...ha ha). For your current event post, please select something that has to do with the courts, court cases or the law. You should not have any problems tracking down a relevant article. HINT: Check out the crime report. Have fun finding something that interests you.



    Timeka Pridgen was last seen on May 12, 2001, at the age of sixteen. On that night, her mother, Cosandra Best fell asleep while waiting for her boyfriend, Eric Moore. When she awoke, she was suprised to find that her daughter was missing -- and that her boyfriend never showed up. Investigators could not find signs of intrusion or forced entrance. A friend, who was talking with Tamika moments before her disappearance, stated that the phone call ended when Tamika heard a knock on the door. Best later found out that Moore had been convicted for theft, sex charges, kidnapping and assault. He is expected to be released in 2015, and police will not reveal whether or not he is considered to be a suspect.
    It's really amazing that Best can still hope and have faith in her situation. Each day, she hopes and waits for her daughter's return, even though nine years have already passed. Moore has committed several crimes and broken the law, and therefore, I would be surprised if he wasn't considered to be a suspect. Additionally, the fact that there were not any signs of forced entry gives more reason to suspect him. There's a good chance that the kidnapper was familiar with the family, if not extremely close. I hope that investigators and the police find the culprit soon because that person clearly does not care about the well-being of others and is willing to break laws and defy the government. I hope that Pridgen is safe, but under the circumstances that she isn't, I at least hope that her family will find out what has happened to her so they can find some peace.

    Nicole Chang
    7th period


    Jay Htut
    6th Period Civics

    "Body of former Pentagon Official found in Landfill."

    John P. Wheeler, a former Pentagon Official and chairman of the Vietnamese Veterans Memorial Fund and Mothers Against Drunk Driving organizations, became a victim of homocide on New Years Eve. His body was found in a landfill in the state of Delaware. Wheeler served under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. He served in the Vietnamese war, and was a graduate of West Point.

    In my opinion, this incident is very tragic. Wheeler seems like a very accomplished man that cared about the welfare of others. He did not deserve to die in this fashion. The police who are investigating this crime state that "they are in need of Public Assistance." This means that they dont really have any leads. I dont blame them, because after all, the body was randomly dumped in the landfill, which means theres no way of finding out the location of the crime scene.

    Police believe they found the skeletal remains of a 3-year-old Alabama boy and were charging his father with two counts of murder as they prepared to search for the man's missing young daughter, also believed dead, authorities said Wednesday.
    Authorities are working to verify the remains found Wednesday near Vancleave, Mississippi, belong to Jonathan Chase DeBlase. Police believe he was killed by his father, John Joseph DeBlase, 27, and the father's girlfriend.
    Jonathan had not been seen since June, police in Mobile, Alabama, said. Investigators believe he was slain around that time. His sister, 4-year-old Natalie, was last seen in March, when authorities believe she was killed. Earlier, police had reversed the order of the last sightings of the children, but they clarified that timeline Wednesday.
    Police, who did not know the children were missing until November 19, contend that the elder DeBlase allowed the girlfriend, Heather Keaton, to abuse the children by restraining them with tape, putting socks in their mouths and confining them.
    The boy's skeletal remains were found about 12 miles north of Vancleave, after the boy's father -- who is in police custody in Alabama -- gave authorities information on where the body might be buried, said Jackson County, Mississippi, Sheriff Mike Byrd.
    A spokesman for Mobile Police told HLN that prosecutors are signing two murder warrants against John DeBlase.
    Authorities will decide in the next few days whether to charge his girlfriend in the deaths, Officer Christopher Levy said.

    I personally think that this is really sick. You have to be really messed up to tie toddlers up and gag them with socks. The other thing that really scared me is that the bodies were just dumped out in the woods and left there for over 6 months and the police just found them. It's really hard to believe that a dad could kill his own children and hide them in the woods, no matter how much drugs he was doing. This is a look at the darker side of America.

    Kendall Simms 6th pd.

    An almost laughable, attempt at smuggling narcotics into the U.S. was recently discovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection two days before Christmas. The perpetrator tried to conceals 14 pounds of cocaine in, Easter eggs. That’s right, Easter eggs. Customs agents are used to seeing all kinds of concealment methods but none as obviously untimely as this. Esteban Galtes is being charged with importation of a controlled substance. His smuggling stunt can potentially land him in prison for life, which is the extent of this type of narcotics charge. Galtes was returning from a weeklong trip in Colombia when his luggage was found containing the fake Easter eggs with an estimated amount of $100,000 of cocaine inside. Galtes told authorities that the eggs were for his children. Needless to say, they weren’t impressed by his story.
    Apparently criminals are getting more and more stupid these days. I’m not sure whether or not this guy just lost track of time while he was out of the country or what. It just seems like most people would be aware that it’s the holiday season and not spring, where, the whole egg scheme might’ve worked. Drug traffickers without any common sense such as Mr. Esteban Galtes in this case, make Customs’ job so much easier. I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy for the simple fact that one the worst idea in his life could keep him in jail for quite awhile. I don’t condone drug trafficking at all, however shouldn’t these people be a little bit smarter or better at what they do? I am glad to see that this particular incident did not go overlooked, or else it would’ve looked really bad on us in terms of international law enforcement.

  5. Andrew Cohen
    7th period

    An attempted bank robbery took place in the Los Angeles area this week. Gregory Sanchez was charged with the crime. However, this was no ordinary bank robbery as Sanchez wore pink hospital scrubs, a Darth Vader mask, a black wig, and gloves in addition to his interesting weapon of choice; a hatchet. Nonetheless, he managed to get away with an undisclosed sum of cash from a Bank of America teller inside a Los Angeles area grocery store. It was only successful for about three hours, though, as investigators caught him at the scene of crime very shortly thereafter. As it turns out, Sanchez works at that same grocery store as a courtesy clerk and showed up for his shift three hours later. He was charged with the crime and the bail is set at $100,000 dollars.

    I think this story is ridiculous! This man thinks he can get away with a bank robbery just because he puts on a lousy disguise. This man obviously needs to be put in prison but he could also use some common sense. This event is important because it shows that getting away with a major crime takes at least a little effort. It’s good to know that investigators could solve this case because if they couldn’t, I would have lost a lot of hope in our country. This event relates to what we are studying in class because this man was charged with the bank robbery and has his bail set at $100,000 dollars, both of which were administered by the judicial branch.


    Eric Plevy

    Today, 67 year old Luis Armando Pena Soltren was sentenced to 15 years in jail for hijacking a plane in 1968. Alvin K. Hellerstein was the justice who had sentenced Luis. Alvin had kept in mind what it would be like to have a knife put to his throat while reaching a proper sentence. The accomplices of Luis had already been sentenced long ago before the 9/11 incident. Neuman, Luis’s lawyer, had claimed that the sentence would be harsher than pre-9/11 when Luis’s accomplices had been sentenced. Neuman had claimed that Luis’s purpose for hijacking the aircraft was that Luis knew it was impossible to get into Cuba since he is a U.S. citizen, and since his father was dying in Cuba, all Luis wanted to do was visit his father. However, Luis had been trying to come back to the U.S. for many years so he could admit his crime, but both U.S. and Cuban authorities refused his request. Neuman had also stated that Luis had showed remorse by wanting to admit his crime which proves his respect for the U.S.
    I believe that this is a major wrong-doing on both Cuba and the U.S.’s part. To start, Cuba should have let this man see his sickly father before his father died. Also, this man should have been arrested in the 1970s like his accomplices. Hijacking is serious business, and we should have caught this man much sooner. At this point, I really do not even think this man could do any more harm. He is in his late 60s and will probably die in jail for a crime he committed over 40 years ago. Of course I believe he should be jailed for hijacking a plane, but he should have been jailed 40 years ago. This case is important because it serves as a wake up call to us by showing us how a serious crime was put off for over 40 years. And since this article is about a trial that had taken place in the Supreme Court, I thought that it would go along with what we are studying very well. Hopefully situations such as this can be avoided from now on so our country can become a safer, more efficient country.

  7. Geoff Thomason
    Period 7 - 1/4/11

    Earlier this week, The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a law that was created in 2006. The law prohibits cities and other local governments from enforcing regulations that are more restrictive than state gun laws. The majority of the citizens in the city of Cleveland are upset with the ruling and are protesting in order to continue enforcing ordinances that officials said were modified to fight inner-city gun violence, and other firearm associations. These include registration of handguns, restrictions on children’s access to firearms and prohibitions on the possession or sale of assault weapons. Cleveland citizens argued that banning such ordinances would violate the state’s home-rule laws, and that the risk of injury due to firearms would greatly increase. In spite of their best efforts, The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision was released Wednesday; the court upheld the statute, 5 to 2.
    I’m not really sure if I agree with Cleveland’s argument. I definitely see their point; they want to be able to make the decisions that they think will best benefit their city. Then again, I also see The Ohio Supreme Court’s point; they don’t want every single local government to think that they can make their own decisions, and disregard the state’s decisions completely. I think that the state supreme court should reconsider the result of their viewing, and see if they can’t compromise with Cleveland.


    In Mississippi there has been a very strange incident including two girls, 11 dollars, and a kidney transplant. Two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, were in a Mississippi for taking part in an 11 dollar armed robbery. They have been pleading for the public to help them get out of jail and now they are said to be getting out, on one condition. This condition is that the younger sister, Gladys must donate her older sister one of her kidneys. Jamie has been having a difficult time her medical situation, where she suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, and also she experienced a kidney failure. Throughout all of these rough times with her medical problems this increased the amount of people protesting to get these two sisters out. The local black churches, radio stations, newspapers are supported the sisters in getting them released.

    First of all I think this is an extremely strange and unusual case, I have never seen one like it before. Also I think its kind of ridiculous that they are serving a double life sentence for an 11-dollar robbery, yes it was armed but they didn’t kill anyone and they only got 11 dollars out of it anyway. Besides the fact that the actual case being weird their sentencing is absurd. Really now a double life sentence is crazy for a robbery worth 11 dollars. So now that the case and the sentencing declared odd, now there comes how they get out of this pickle they are in. I think its extremely odd that the exception for their get out of jail free card Is the fact that the sister has to give her other sister her kidney. I think its really good and all but I don’t know why they would make it mandatory if she needed a kidney anyway!

    leah whitney


    Two teens, 15 and 17, were indicted today, on January 5 in North Carolina for first-degree murder charges against their farther, 52 year-old David Reuben Green Jr. Their mother is already being held on first-degree murder charges for the same case. Authorities opened the case in early September after the father was reported missing. Authorities searched the Green’s home but found no evidence. However in October the authorities again searched the house but the family was no longer living there and the power had been shut off. Authorities noticed a smell and found the decapitated body of the father in a freezer. The two children both openly admitted to having planned and assisted in the murder and clean up of their father’s body. Prosecutors are going to attempt to have both children tried as adults.

    This story in my opinion is sickening. The fact that children could murder their father in cold blood is appalling. I do not understand what could bring on a situation like this. No motive has been given as of now, but more evidence about the case is going to come to light as the trial progresses. I believe that the prosecutors’ choice of trying to have the children tried as adults is an excellent idea. These children not only knew about the murder and who committed it, but they also played an active role in it. For this, I believe that they should receive the maximum punishment possible. It seems harsh to punish children in this way, but in my opinion it was a heinous crime that deserves the most severe penalty.

    Zach Visco
    January 5, 2011
    Period 6


    Recently, the father of known terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki put in a lawsuit to the U.S. federal government. Awlaki is a U.S. citizen but is hiding in Yemen for the time being because he is on the “government’s target list”. The lawsuit was tossed aside by a judge who claimed he had no justifiable reason to sue. The actions of John Bates, the judge, are being questioned if they were morally correct. An important question that cropped up was “Can the Executive order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?”.

    I do not agree with this. Although Awlaki is known to be a terrorist, my question is: has he been tried for any crimes or has he even committed any? He may only be considered a terrorist by who he communicates and what he plans, but if he has not done anything against the nation, or if he has already been tried and cleared, he should not be instantly executed as he would have been cleared once and would have to commit another crime to be tried again. He also should be given a trial as he is a U.S. citizen and he is legally allowed a trial.

    Jacob Harris
    7th Period


    A recent ruling in Richmond, Virgina federal court that the new health care law, destined to go into effect in 2014, is unconstitutional has the law's opponents excited. According to Judge Henry Hudson, the legislation can not be explained through Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce - by requiring all individuals to buy health care insurance, it exceeds government power. However, even if the Supreme Court itself eventually rules the law unconstitutional, another avenue may push most people into the plan anyhow. Used successfully with Medicare, this alternative approach is to penalize people every year they do not participate in the plan. That is, if a person did not participate for five years, their premiums would go up if they ever entered the program.

    I think that the current law is absurd - by forcing everyone to purchase health care insurance, it infringes on a citizen's inherent rights. Insurance is an industry - Congress could just as conceivably require citizens to purchase a car, or a magazine subscription. A plan that penalizes citizens for every year they do not participate, on the other hand, seems counterproductive - those who will not purchase insurance will likely be those unable to afford it. Thus, increasing the cost would be sure not to help at all.

    Shane Sater
    Pd. 7


    John P. Wheeler, 66, of New Castle, was a West Point graduate, an advocate for Vietnam veterans and the first chairman of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, he was also a former Pentagon official. But on New Years Eve, he became victim of homocide. People found Wheeler’s body jutting out of a garbage truck Friday at the landfill in Delaware. Police said that Wheeler was supposed to be boarding a train from Washington to Wilmington near the time of death. Police in Newark and the FBI are currently working on the case. Wheeler worked in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, Daddy Bush, and Baby Bush, he also served as a special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force from 2005 to 2008. Wheeler has recently been involved in a lengthy legal fight with a couple building a new home across the street in a historic district of New Castle, Wheeler adamantly opposed the new construction. Wheeler’s attorney said that most of the argument was in normal bounds and there was no confrontation going on. As of right now, Wheeler’s family asks for privacy and does wish to comment on his death.

    This is obviously a very bad thing that happened. Just through the descriptions, you can tell that Wheeler was a very accomplished man and that he cared about the welfare of others. I really hope that the police find the man who killed him, because no one deserves to die in such a terrible way. I wish Wheeler’s family well and hope they find comfort in knowing the many important things he achieved.

  13. Mike Carney
    6th period

    An Omaha, Nebraska, high school senior shot his principal and an assistant principal Wednesday before police found him dead in his car, according to Police Chief Alex Hayes.
    Principal Curtis Case and Assistant Principal Vicki Kaspar were wounded in the shooting at Millard South High School, Hayes said.
    Case is in serious but stable condition, and Kaspar is in critical condition, he said. Both are being treated at Creighton University Medical Center.

    I think this is a tricky situation. The suspect can't be charged with anything if they're dead. I'm not sure how this can be settled properly. It might be a good idea to find out why the student would shoot the principal and vice principal. Or the police should talk to the kids parents to see what they know about anything unusual about their son's behavior.


    Since the bill of Same-Sex Marriage in California has purposed and there have been so much arguments for a long time, people are definitely expecting a declaration for this considerable,controversial, and sensitive(may be to some of them) bill.The three-judge panel of the U.S Appellate Court for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco asked the California Supreme Court for a standing issue, or a clarification, on Tuesday of same-sex marriage,which is called Proposition 8.The purpose was mainly from the governors who do not defend the proposition 8.

    In self-opinion, I agree with the action of those governors who do not defend the proposition,it's not that I support the proposition,but the supreme court of California would better give us a final clarification after this long time that this bill has been purposed, argued, and seem left there for a while.However,I'd like to wait more time for the final decision because the judges in the supreme court need time to clarify than anyone else in the court,they don't have juries to give them more suggestions, and they should deny the interfere from the purposed sides from California.Even though in August, a judge from federal district declared that Proposition was unconstitutional, the ruling was then appealed to the Ninth Circuit panel.

  15. Addendum for the last post:
    From Jessica Yin, 7th. period


    On Wednesday, January 5, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned an indictment today charging Phillip A. Hamilton, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, with allegedly soliciting employees of Old Dominion University, which is also known as the ODU, for a paid position at the same time he was introducing legislation to fund the position. Hamilton, who was 58, was charged with one count of federal program bribery and one count of extortion under color of official right. It is said on this article that he will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, tomorrow. According to the indictment, Hamilton began representing the 93rd district, which includes Newport News, and James City County in 1988. As part of his duties, Hamilton sat of the elementary and secondary education subcommittee of the Virginia House Appropriations Committee. From August 2006 through February 2007 Hamilton solicited employees of ODU for a position as director for the ODU center for teacher quality and educational leadership. Because this facility didn't have the appropriate fundings an ODU official assured Hamilton in December 2006 and January 2007 that if he were to obtain funding from the Virginia General Assembly for the creation of the center, then Hamilton would have the job, as the director. He was able to get the House of Delegates to appropriate $1 million dollars assuring him the job. But because of certain emails he had sent to the official of ODU the FBI were able to catch him, he took numerous steps to conceal this arrangement but inevitably failed.

    I'm not surprised that this happened, I think it only a matter of time before a corrupt or turned corrupt politician comes along. I'm sure thing like this happens all the time, maybe right this moment people of being bribed and extorted. But I don't understand why he would want more money when he already has enough, I'm sure he has his reasons for doing this whether they be justified or not, he's still not guilty, until he steps foot into the court system he's innocent until proven guilty. The justice system isn't perfect, but maybe in the future it will, but until that time comes we can only do our best to follow this system which keeps us apart from chaos, because in the end Justice is blind and only we, can be her eyes.


    On Wednesday, January 5, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned an indictment today charging Phillip A. Hamilton, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, with allegedly soliciting employees of Old Dominion University, which is also known as the ODU, for a paid position at the same time he was introducing legislation to fund the position. Hamilton, who was 58, was charged with one count of federal program bribery and one count of extortion under color of official right. It is said on this article that he will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, tomorrow. According to the indictment, Hamilton began representing the 93rd district, which includes Newport News, and James City County in 1988. As part of his duties, Hamilton sat of the elementary and secondary education subcommittee of the Virginia House Appropriations Committee. From August 2006 through February 2007 Hamilton solicited employees of ODU for a position as director for the ODU center for teacher quality and educational leadership. Because this facility didn't have the appropriate fundings an ODU official assured Hamilton in December 2006 and January 2007 that if he were to obtain funding from the Virginia General Assembly for the creation of the center, then Hamilton would have the job, as the director. He was able to get the House of Delegates to appropriate $1 million dollars assuring him the job. But because of certain emails he had sent to the official of ODU the FBI were able to catch him, he took numerous steps to conceal this arrangement but inevitably failed.
    I'm not surprised that this happened, I think it only a matter of time before a corrupt or turned corrupt politician comes along. I'm sure thing like this happens all the time, maybe right this moment people of being bribed and extorted. But I don't understand why he would want more money when he already has enough, I'm sure he has his reasons for doing this whether they be justified or not, he's still not guilty, until he steps foot into the court system he's innocent until proven guilty. The justice system isn't perfect, but maybe in the future it will, but until that time comes we can only do our best to follow this system which keeps us apart from chaos, because in the end Justice is blind and only we, can be her eyes.


    A ten year old, whose name will not be released to public, has been charged of fatally shooting his mother. He is charged of intentional murder and murder by a firearm. Deborah McVay, his mother, was found with a bullet hole in her head. A neighbor called the police after the boy allegedly confessed to her. His brother and sister spoke with reporters about the kindness their mother possessed, but said that they forgive their brother. The boy's motive is unknown, but if he is convicted, he will most likely be out of jail by his 21st birthday.

    I think that this is a horrid incident. The fact that he shot his mother in the head is both disgusting and appalling. The article also mentioned that his late grandfather gave him the gun for Christmas, but that his grandma said he was a "bad boy." Obviously the boy has some behavioral issues; giving him the gun as a present was a dangerous action on his late grandfather's part. This relates to what we discussed in class because courts get cases of every kind, and even when the defendant is obviously guilty, it is sometimes hard to decide an appropriate punishment for him or her. Hopefully this crime will be taken care of so that his siblings will receive some emotional compensation and that the boy will be corrected by the time he is out of jail.

    Jessica Gao
    6th Period

  19. Recently the Topeka board judicial system stated the states budget shortfall has grown to 550 million dollars. This is a direct effect of the economy crash of 2008. "It's reflective of when you have an economy that's not going in the right direction," said Brownback spokeswoman Sherrie Jones-Sonta. The Judicial system also is trying also stated that they wanted to make the judicial system more efficient at what it does. These comities that the branch is making to help make it more efficient will look at ways to make the budget go back to a normal state and produce a more equal system.
    I think that they should have made these committees a long time ago. They are faced with a very large budget problem and this could have been avoided these problems if the committees had been made along time ago. It doesn’t really make sense to make a committee to help with budget while you are knee deep in budget. The concept is good but this will really make no process to a healthier budget. What they need to do is start making dramatic changes to the system to help manage the decreasing budget short fall.

  20. Drug Bust in Detroit
    Maria Miggs

    On January 6, a woman from Nigeria was found carrying 2 1/2 pounds of heroin. The thirty two year old Sherifat Lamidi was inspected at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport by the Customs and Border Protection authorities. Lamidi told these officials that she was carrying narcotics in her body to be smuggled over the border. When further questioned she admitted that she had swallowed 91 pellets of heroin. This is considered to be the biggest drug busts in a long time.
    I find this article appalling. To think that someone would be willing to carry 2 1/2 pounds of drugs in their body is shocking. I’m not sure if swallowing this much narcotics for the purpose of smuggling drugs is normal but it seems extreme to me.


    Leon Pickles

    This article is about how Facebook is thinking about selling shares to the public in 2012. The company posted $355 million in profit and $1.2 billion in revenue in the first 9 months of 2010. Facebook will need about 499 people to support them.
    I think this is a great idea because if they have been making money it isn't much compared to what they could be making. If the are getting more money then they are able to upgrade facebook more often and add more to it to make it a better experience for everybody to use.


    Officials are now attempting to piece together the clues in the murder of former Pentagon official, John Wheeler. Strangely, all surveillance and firsthand accounts of Wheeler in his final few days point to a path wandering aimlessly throughout Delaware. On December 29, Wheeler walked into a pharmacy near his house, asking for a ride to Wilmington. When the pharmacist offered to call a cab, Wheeler refused. Later, a parking lot attendant spotted a man who she identified as Wheeler, who was walking around with a shoe in his hand. He said he couldn't remember where he parked his car, and that his briefcase had been stolen. The attendant says that she doesn't think Wheeler's car was even parked in the lot at all. His briefcase has yet to be found. Authorities will continue to review surveillance footage in an attempt to resolve the case. Wheeler, who was 66 at the time of his murder, worked in the last three Republican administrations, was the first chairman of Mothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD), and advocated for Vietnam veterans.

  23. Ariel Gunn
    Period 7

    Today, the official ceremony passing power to the new Speaker of the House was held. Nancy Pelosi passed the symbolic gavel to the new Speaker, John Boehner, signifying the pass of power from democrats to republicans. Boehner has already announced that he will be trying to run the House in a different manner, saying it would be run in a more inclusive and business-like mannor. He wants to be working on reining in the budget, believing we spend too much as a nation. He believes that the 112th Congress has a lot of hard work cut out for them.

    I think that having the Legislative and Executive branch being mainly opposite in political views is going to help this nation a lot. It more fairly represents what the American population wants, and this way its not what only half wants. It also means that one party doesn't have too much power and get greedy, and do what they want and not what the people want. I'm personally very glad that the Republicans now have the House.

  24. Thomas Nguyen
    1.6.10 Period 7

    According to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, there currently 96 federal court vacancies. The Senate has confirmed 62 candidates President Obama has recommended; recently there are 19 confirmed judges. Those numbers do not please Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. In his annual year-end report for the Judicial Branch, he describes the problems that arise when there are judicial vacancies. Like him, his predecessor Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist complains about judicial vacancies. Rehnquist complained on New Year's Day in 1998 that the Senate did not move fast enough on President Clinton's nominations. Roberts requests a long-term solution from the other branches for this ongoing problem.

    I understand Chief Justice John Roberts' plea to have more judicial confirmations. If there are too many judicial vacancies within the Judicial Branch, the process of trials and court cases slows down. I think the reason for the lack of judicial confirmations that Roberts highlighted is because there are a lot of issues the Senate has to deal with. They have to deal with the new Republicans that are headed into the House of Representatives. They also have to decide on new legislation. They are too busy. I don't see a good solution for the lack of judicial confirmations right now. Maybe it would help if Congress sessions were longer so that they could spend more time on the judicial confirmations.


    Dr. Conrad Murray is currently in the pre-trial hearing which began on Tuesday. This pre-trial hearing's purpose is to determine if Dr. Murray will face trial for the involuntary manslaughter of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. According to the testimony of the paramedic who was at the scene, Michael Jackson seemed dead when they arrived. The paramedic also said that all of the things that Dr. Murray told him when he questioned about Michael Jackson's condition did not add up. Michael Jackson's security guards also testified saying that Dr. Murray did not seem to know CPR. It is known that the CPR was done incorrectly. Dr. Murray had performed the CPR with one hand on a soft bed when it is supposed to be performed on a hard surface with two hands. He was also getting one of the other security guards to put bottles/vials inside a bag. The paramedics were called 21 minutes after the doctor realized Michael Jackson wasn't breathing. His hearing is expected to last two to three weeks.

    From what I read, it seems to me as though the doctor is responsible to Michael Jackson's death. I feel as though if Dr. Murray was more careful, Michael Jackson's death could have been prevented. The article also mentioned that Prince and Paris were looking from the doorway, and then Paris yelled, "Daddy". They should not have been there, and they should not have seen their father in that kind of condition. I know that Michael Jackson wasn't the best person when he was alive, but he was the King of Pop. I wish the best for his family. This relates to what we are learning because it shows the steps it takes for a case to go into a trial.

    Jenny Jin
    7th period

  26. Leila Doerfer

    A man who used to be a detention deputy for an Idaho sheriffs office was charged and convicted with 6 felony charges. He had no previous criminal history. Some of his charges included first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, rape and aggravated assault. He raped his wife, bound her with chains and tape, then locked her in the trunk of his car. He drove, with their 4-month old daughter who he also threatened to kill, to his mothers house where he was planning to steal from her. After dinner, his mother's roommate went to lie down and says she heard a noise. She wen to se what it was and found Michael James Lee, the man who was charged, stabbing his mother multiple times. While all of this was going on, the wife who was in the trunk, heard a car coming and used the emergency latch to get out of the car and run for help. The roommate tried to interfere and was attacked by lee. She managed to escape with the infant child.
    I can't believe that there are people who do things like this. It doesn't seem real that a father could threaten to kill his baby, kill his mom, and rape and bind his wife, especially all in one night. I can't believe he didn't have previous criminal history because all of the things he did made it seem like he was the kind of man who has done this type of thing before. I think it's really scary that there are such dangerous people out there, and they could be anyone.


    The 9th US Circuit of Appeals has asked the California Supreme court whether the gay marriage ban is constitutional. The Supreme Court does not have to respond but it is expected to take up the matter. Proposition 8 (passed in 2008) was a proposed amendment to the California Constitution that said only marriage between a man and a woman can be recognized by California. Two gay couples, who successfully sued to overturn the ban in the lower district court, have argued that their judge's decision would overturn Proposition 8 and would overthrow the decision statewide due to precedence. Defendants of the proposition argue that the judge’s opinion is invalid because they were not allowed to defend the proposition at the trial. The three judge panel that must make the decision is uncertain of their jurisdiction and so the whole mess is being sent to the California Supreme Court for help. If they decide to make gay marriage legal then that is the end of it. If they don’t, it is one of the cases that the US Supreme Court might take up.

    I feel like this is just one huge mess surrounding one topic. Each level’s jurisdiction is being questioned and second-checked on every tiny decision. We all should have equal rights and the fact that we are taking rights against certain people is just wrong. The Supreme Court should just take the case up, take in all view point and then make an educated decision instead of this disarray of everyone trying to get the most attention. The way that this article was presented reminded me of a bunch of preschoolers fighting over a toy. It takes a teacher to calm everyone down and in the same way the Supreme Court should resolve the case.

    Jenny Vaughn
    Period 6


    A large 43-foot cross has stood atop a mountain in La Jolla since 1913. This cross one fell in 1952 but was placed back up as a national mark of remembrance. This cross has recently sparked controversy among the Jewish War Veterans Community. This cross was placed to remember all the soldiers who have served the country and lost their lives doing so. However, the Jewish community feels it disregards their constitutional rights. The 9th District Federal Appeals court stated that this cross violates the establishment clause and is to be removed. Many disagree with this action, however the Supreme Court is backing this decision.

    I feel that this is very important because it shows that our constitutional rights should not and can not be violated. By having this large symbol of Christianity present, other religions were being striped of their rights. It is not fair for them to have to view such symbol for it is not an equal one among all religions. This is also very important because it shows how even if a solution is come to in a District Court, this solution can be appealed and brought to an Appeal Court. By following this sequence, it helps to show how our Judiciary Branch works and how the different jurisdictions are placed in the U.S.

    Cole Shoup
    Period 7

  29. Recently there has been a story on a doctor in Staten Island who is selling prescription in his home. His name is Dr. Felix Lanting, and he is 83 years old and has been arrested for his distributions. Right now his sentence is about 20 years in prison. Off of his selling, he made $37,000 and around a hundred 750 grams silver bars found in his home. In the courthouse this morning he entered in with a plea of not guilty. He has been accused of writing over 3,000 prescriptions to people in the area. This drug was a highly addictive narcotic painkiller oxycodone. The amount of time he did this was around 7 months. He has been released on bail, but police have been dealing with several cases relating with doctors who sell drugs illegally.

    Most people think that murder and those types of cases are the most serious, and several people tend to forget about cases like these. This is an important case, and we're lucky to hear that the police are involved in situations like this trying to stop these people. I can't believe that there are professional doctors doing this on the side which can put them in jail for a long time. Even though no one hears about stories like this as much, it's sad to hear people do this. I hope anyone out there doing this is stopped for good.




    Brandon Palladino could get “rewarded” for the murder of his mother in law. After killing his mother in law in 2008, Palladino was sent to Suffolk county jail by a district court. The strange part to the story is that all of the mother in law’s inheritance went to her daughter, Palladino’s wife. Then, his wife died… The inheritance is a minimum of a quarter of a million dollars. When Palladino gets out of jail, he will possibly be rich if nothing further is done because of the murder. He is expected to stay in jail for 25 years which means he would get out in his forties. He would still have a lot of life ahead of him and a lot of money. Dianne Edwards, the mother in law, was greatly missed. Many of her family complained about this issue. The only way to prevent Palladino from getting the inheritance is by proving that his wife had something to do with her mother’s murder. This is because according to law you can’t benefit from your own criminal conduct.

    I think it’s really sad that Palladino might get to be rich when he gets out of prison. The fact that he gets out at a young age also makes it really controversial. He is basically getting rich because he committed murder. I feel so bad for the family of the Edwards for their loss. I can’t imagine how it would feel to have the man who murder someone in your family to be rich because of it.

    Tristin V.


    Recently, a woman was caught at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, attempting to smuggle two and a half pounds of heroin. The woman allegedly swallowed ninety-one balloon like pellets filled with heroin. When the woman was flagged for a closer inspection upon arrival, she admitted to having narcotics on her, but was unsure what kind, or how much of the drug. Airport officials were stunned by how much she was attempting to smuggle. They told CNN that drug smuggling is pretty rare at their airport, and that a drug bust of this magnitude is astonishing for them.

    I think this is an interesting story. We hear about drug mules being busted all the time in international airports such as JFK and Atlanta, but we don’t usually here about drug mules smuggling this much of an illegal substance and in an airport like Detroit Metropolitan Airport. I find it interesting that this woman was caught with two and a half pounds of heroin inside her body and yet as soon as she was flagged for further security, she told them that she was smuggling drugs. I wouldn’t think that a drug mule smuggling that much heroin would be the one to just crack under pressure. I am happy that our airport security was able to recognize that she looked suspicious, and were able to confiscate so much of an illegal drug.

    Brady Strine
    6th period


    Last week, it was announced that Gladys Scott and Jamie Scott would be released from their double life sentences if Gladys donated her kidney to Jamie. The cost for the kidney treatment has been costing the jail too much, so they came up with this scenario to work it out. The two sisters were convicted of armed robbery of two men and made to serve two life sentences. However, the tapes showing the robbery showed three teenagers committing it. Those three received far less severe sentences and are now released.

    This is really an odd situation, but it kind of shows the exceptions that happen in our prison system. Not only were these two women convicted for far more severe sentences than they deserved, but now they're being released under these specific conditions. While I don't agree with them serving that long in the first place, it's good that they're finally getting a chance to be released from jail. The sisters are completely fine with this kidney transfer, so in the end it seems like everything's fine.

    Kate Boyd
    7th pd

  35. A man in Ohio was convicted of burglary, the murders of three people, and the kidnapping and raping of a minor. This man, Matthew Hoffman, who was currently unemployed, had previously worked as a tree cutter. He broke into a home and killed the three people who resisted. After being stabbed and dismembered, their bodies were put into garbage bags and then stuffed into a hollow tree. The thirteen year old girl who was also in the house at the time of the burglary was the one he kidnapped and raped.

    This is a shocking and disgusting crime. It does not seem possible that anyone could be that twisted and sick. It is a very good thing that he was caught and convicted before he could do anything like that to any other person. For these charges he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. I am glad that he will not have the chance to do any such crime again.

    Chiara Salemi


    Riley Hutchison
    7th period

    On November 18, 2010 the bodies of three people were found in a hollowed out tree in rural Ohio. The bodies were Stephanie Sprang, Kody Maynard, and Tina Herrmann. This Thursday Matthew Hoffman pleaded guilty to 10 counts which included, murder, kidnapping, burglary, rape, and hindering the investigation. This lead to him getting a life sentence without parol. There are other unsolved cases that Matthew is suspected to have something to do with. They took place at about the same time, and were in the same area. Matthew stated that the murders took place when the residents of the homes he was robbing came home. He also bound and gagged a 13 year old girl, and left her in her basement.

    I am not a fan of particularly harsh punishments, but when a man does something as terrible as this he deserves what he got. This proves to me that our Judicial system knows how to handel difficult situations, and make the best out of them. We got a killer off of the streets forever, and got closure for the families of the deceased. When there is an overwhelming ammount of evidence against someone suspected for committing a crime, the only logical thing to do is to send them to jail. If he were to get the death penalty that would seem extreemly severe. He wouldnt have to deal with his actions, and live all of his life in jail, which seems to defeat the puropse of jail completely. With this case there is enough evidence to convict Matthew, but if there was not enough i dont think he should have gotten the same sentence. He obviously commited these crimes, he pleaded guilty to all of them! I agree with the sentence he was given, it fits his crimes.


    A woman was recently released after spending seven months in jail for a series of armed robberies that never happened. Seemona Sumasar had been unfairly charged with robbery because of a former boyfriend, Jerry Ramrattan. Ramrattan was upset that Ms. Sumasar would not drop a rape complaint that she had filed against him, so he set her up. By giving a partial license plate number, two full license plate numbers, using fake victims, and planting bullets, Ramrattan framed his ex-girlfriend seamlessly. But the scheme quickly unraveled when an informant came with information that Ramrattan had arranged the whole thing. Phone records showed that Ramrattan had been in contact with the supposed victims. Jerry Ramrattan, along with the three supposed victims were arrested and Seemona Sumasar was released after serving seven months because she couldn’t make bail.

    I’m very surprised that someone could pull this off without police having any suspicions. I guess it just goes to show what cops will do to protect their reputations and make themselves look good. It really makes me wonder if their main goal on their job is really to serve justice. Also, I think that Sumasar needs to be very careful with her ex-boyfriend. If he is cruel enough to frame her for a crime and send her to prison, I can only imagine what else he is capable of. The fact that this backfired on him probably caused much more hatred for her, and he may go to extremes to defeat her next time.

    Cerys Humphreys
    7th period

  38. Gavin Welch
    Per 7

    Thursday, a man in Ohio pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in jail without payroll for killing a woman, her friend and her son. Matthew Hoffman was responsible for the murder of the three people, for kidnapping a victims 13 year old relative. Matthew Hoffman worked as a tree trimmer in Knox County Ohio and is currently 30 years old.
    Matthew met the Herrmann family while preforming a robbery of the Herrmann residence. Family members of the Herrmanns chose for Hoffmann to live. Sherri Baxter told a CNN affiliate that Death would be to easy of a way out, we much rather spend our tax dollars and keep Hoffmann alive

    I believe that the Choice to keep Hoffmann alive would be a tough one. In my summary of this article I have only listed three of his ten convictions. To have a serial killer kill members of your family and members of other families give the judges a lot to consider. Like Sherri Baxter said, Death would be the easy way out. I agree with that statement because I much rather live with him self than give him what he wants.


    Today 30 year old Matthew Hoffman pled guilty to killing 3 people and kidnapping and raping another. According to the article, he planned to burglarize the house but when he saw people in the house, panicked. The one survivor, a 13 year old girl, was tied up and gagged when found by police in November. Her mother, younger brother, and a family friend were killed by Hoffman and their bodies stuck in a hollow tree. Hoffman agreed to show the bodies in exchange for being spared the death penalty.
    I think it’s sad what he did to that poor family. He killed 3 of them and raped the girl and left her tied up and gagged. While I don’t think he deserved the death penalty, he definitely deserved life without parole. He doesn’t get a chance to commit a crime again.

    Mark Stouffer
    Period 7

  40. On the 31st, Chief Justice Roberts submitted a 12 page report calling on the Senate and the President to fill "Judicial Vacnacies". He continued by assuring that he was not saying this person or that person should be filling these slots, only enstating that those slots should be filled. He then reminded us that just because you are in one party or another, that dosent mean that the people your judge will be ruling over will be pleased that they are your party. He went on by commenting on the progress made by congress in confirming 19 judges recently and 62 of Obamas nominees. Throughout the entire piece, Justice Roberts did not mention a plea for elevated income, which is usually in his anual reports.

    I think that Chief Justice Roberts was trying to segway into many disputable areas, including lack of expertise in judging,the ever separating right and left wing politicians and how their battle has made america more split than united,and I also think he realizes that the Economy is finally doing better but unemployment is still up at around 8-9%. Honestly, I find myself respecting Chief Justice Roberts much more after seeing some very mixed expressions coming from this latest report.

    7th Period
    Ian Hill

  41. Ryan Hegedus
    L.A. officials receive video of men sexually assaulting disabled women
    Four men were videotaped sexually assaulting at least 10 disabled women, some of which in a care home, in California. The videotapes were leaked by a tipster who dropped then off at a police station. There is more than 100 hours of video of the sexual assault crimes being committed, which was enough for police to create composite sketches of the assailants. The police have identified the victims, but need help in identifying and capturing of the four men. A tip hotline has been set up for anybody who has information on the crimes and police are encouraging the original tipster to call with information of how he obtained the video.
    I think these crimes are as low as it gets. Rape is bad enough, but raping mentally disabled women, some of whom are even in care homes, takes a twisted individual, let alone four. The original tipster should call in immediately if he has any heart whatsoever so he can put an end to these horrific crimes. The men who committed these crimes should take the liberty of killing themselves, because what they have done can never be forgiven by any means. People who know who these people are or where they are hiding need to speak up, or they will be failing as a citizen of America.


    Hannah Blackburn
    7th period

    This article is not exactly recent, but it pertains to the Supreme Court and the future of that Court.

    In late 2010, Elena Kagan was sworn in as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. She was nominated by Obama, and confirmed by a 63-37 vote in the Senate. Although she is technically a liberal, she is also very moderate. This follows an interesting pattern of Democratic presidents putting more moderate people on the Court, while the Republicans tend to put solidly conservatives on the Court. Previously, she was the solicitor general and also worked under Thurgood Marshall. She is the first woman dean of Harvard Law School, and is known for bringing positive reform to Harvard Law. Because she was the solicitor general, she cannot work 54 cases the court plans on hearing. Many of these are on highly controversial subjects that could result in a 4-4 vote. Interestingly, there is a bill proposed in Congress that if one justice cannot vote, a retired justice may vote in her place. However, the only living ex-justices are liberal, so a Republican Congress is unlikely to pass this as law.

    I think it's fantastic to have such a diverse Court as we have now. With three women and a wide assortment of religions and cultural backgrounds, the Court is the most diverse in American history. This will hopefully give the court a unique perspective on some of the major issues they will rule on in coming years, such as gay marriage rights and healthcare. I like the idea that old justices can come back if need be, as long as it is voluntary for them. They would have unique historical perspectives to bring to the table, and tied voting sounds like a very stressful and awful situation for the Court to be in.


    On January 4th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the cross that sits atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego, California, was unconstitutional in violation of the 1st Amendment's Establishment Clause. The case, Jewish War Veterans v. City of San Diego, had to do with the 29-foot war memorial put up in 1954 to honor US war veterans. The memorial stands on public land, which is why those against it want the cross taken down. Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of the nation's largest veterans organization and in favor of the cross, claims that "The sanctity of this cross is about the right to honor our nation's veterans in a manner which the overwhelming majority supports." The decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court by the American Legion.

    I personally have no problem with public displays and expressions of religion, but I can understand the opposition to this cross. The fact that it is on public land means a lot, because if the court allowed the cross to remain it could allow for a more loose reading of the Establishment Clause that could lead to further expressions of religion that are slightly more offensive or forceful. On the other hand, I can understand the desire to maintain a memorial to United States veterans. I'm curious to see what the Supreme Court will rule if it takes this case.


    Ex-boyfriend killes swimsuit designer. The body was found at a chic New York hotel. This statement from the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Nicholas Brooks is the son of famous composer Joseph Brooks. Brooks pleaded not guilty at his arraignment tuesday afternoon. He was charged with second-degree murder. They say his next court day is Feb 8th.The spokeswoman of the district of Manhanttan, Joan Vollero said that if convicted he should face 25 years to life in prison.

    To me and hearing about this case is very strange. But what I dont understand WHY kill a person when you know you might get cought. The worst part is that most cases of murder happens in public places like hotels, parks, etc... I do belive that this guy and every guy or woman should go in life in prison. It's not far that just buy paying a fine or just getting a couple of years for someones death, and even having proof that they did it sometimes all they have to do is pay a fine and get out. Killing someone is a big deal and should be taking in more deep into the courts.

    Alex Grosskurth
    6th period
    Just recently " don't ask don't tell" was passed. Most people believe that this is the end of DADT because its passed, but this isnt true. There is a 60 day review period and Obama, the defense secretary and the chairman of the joints chiefs of staff must also agree on this act again. Obama predicts that DADT being repealed will take a few months. According to other sources though, this shouldn't take nearly as long as Obama is predicitng. Obama claims that this hurts the military, and since its only a policy i'm wondering why its so hard to repeal. The Congress has already voted and agreed that DADT should be repealed. Gates, the secretary of defence, also has announced he will retire this year, but will not do so until DADT is repealed.
    I really want to know why its so hard to repeal this policy. All that needs to be done is remove this policy. There isn't any need for resources, just a simple repeal of the law. It keeps people down, so much so that some republicans even decided to vote for it too, which broke the filibuster. Every study done about DADT has said that repealing it will help the army, not hurt it. Most Americans cant wait to see this repealed because its wrong. Firing soldiers because they're openly gay is wrong, and we should just finish the repeals process sooner. The more time wasted on debating this after its already been voted by congress, the more time there is for people to argue it and maybe repeal it. If we honestly want this passed, it should be passed sooner.


    Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, a former CIA officer, has been ordered into custody by a St. Louis judge. He was arrested today on charges that he disclosed secret defense information. He has said that he understood the charges against him. Sterling was represented in court by St. Louis attorney Steve Welby. Sterling will eventually be brought back to U.S. District Court in Alexandria for trial. The indictment says that Sterling stole classified information and told the contents to a newspaper reporter who was writing a book.

    I can’t believe someone who was in the CIA would give away this type of information to a newspaper reporter. That’s just asking for trouble, especially because it is classified information of the CIA. I read that Sterling was fired from the CIA in 2002, so I do believe he is guilty. Maybe Sterling was trying to get back at the CIA for firing him or just trying to make a quick buck, but as you can see that was not a very smart decision.

    Chris Barth


    A man in Ohio was charged for multiple offenses and sentenced to life in jail. On Thursday January 6th, 2011, Matthew Hoffman, 30, pleaded guilty for murdering and dismantling the bodies of a woman, her son, and her friend, then putting their remains in a bag and stuffing it in the hollow of a tree. The victims, Tina R. Herrmann, her son Kody and neighbor Stephanie Sprang had been missing for days until their remains were found in the tree. The autopsy say they were stabbed to death. Hoffman confessed he committed these murderers during an attempted burglary. He was charged for 10 counts and went to jail without parole. Hoffman was charged for aggressive murder, aggravated burglary, charges of kidnapping and rape of one of the victims 13 year-old relative, and as if this wasn’t enough, Hoffman was charged with tampering with evidence at the scene of the crime. The murderer claims he felt guilty for committing these crimes and felt it was necessary for the remains to be found that is why he pleaded guilty when his case was taken to district courts.

    I think this man did an atrocious thing committing these crimes while trying to break in to their house. It was so unnecessary and im glad hes sentenced to life in jail. Its good that he confessed because otherwise the bodies might have never been found. I don’t think Hoffman is not very smart because he went through all the trouble of hiding their bodies and cleaning up the scene of the crime for nothing because he condessed it all. Plus he didn’t get to steal whatever he was after, so I think these crimes were highly unnecessary because he ended the lives of 3 innocent people for nothing.

    Laura Musalem
    period 6


    Robert Hoffman, an unemployed tree-cutter, plead guilty to his case recently. He admitted yesterday that while breaking into Tina Herrmann's house he stabbed three people (her, her son, and a neighbor) to death, dismembered their bodies, and hid their remains in a hollow tree. He plead guilty to aggravated murder, burglary, kidnapping, and other charges. He also plead guilty to the kidnap and rape of a thirteen-year-old girl that was with the family that night (the neighbor). Hoffman was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

    I think that this case is sickening. First, there was the robbery. Then, the rape and kidnap of the *thirteen*-year-old girl. And to make it more horrible, he killed three people! And put them in a tree! I think he may not of intended to kill anyone, but it does not make it right. He should have not been breaking in in the first place. It is very lucky he was caught and put in prison for life so he could not commit any more horrible crimes such as this one.

    Jessica Batson

  49. Jose Bonilla

    The New GOP Has started reading the contstituition to start off the 112congress for 2011... there were parts of the controversial because some are not in effect anymore. some were still read and some were not read. although the whole constituition was read

  50. Current Event
    p. 6

    This week since we’re discussing the federal court and the judicial system I did a current event based around the more law/ lawmaking side of the things we’re learning about. This article focuses on a group of state lawmakers that are trying to outline plans to end birthright citizenship. Conservatives from five different states want to stop the immediate granting of citizenship to children born in the U.S. that are born to illegal immigrants. They knew that the state bill wouldn’t be put into effect anytime soon because it could be brought up as unconstitutional. They are hoping that eventually this case will end up in the Supreme Court with a decision on birthright citizenship. Rep. Steve King of Iowa and also the chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee wanted to use the first day that the new house members were sworn in as a chance to introduce this new bill. He would introduce the bill as a bill to eliminate the birthright citizenship for children who’s parents are both illegal immigrants. This issue is in the front of the new Republican immigration agenda in the 112th Congress. Latino and African-American civil rights groups have said that if this law is passed they have formed coalitions to challenge the birthright citizenship.

    This law to me seems a little bit selfish. I understand that the lawmakers want America to be a place for Americans, but that’s no reason to not let innocent children not be able to have a good life here in America. If anything I believe that we should feel honored that someone from another country would want to have a child here. I’m sure that there is enough room in the U.S. for everyone to be happy.

  51. Norman Archer
    California: Judges Ask for Clarity on Same-Sex Marriage Measure
    In San Francisco, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asked for guidance on the issue of standing in a federal challenge to Proposition 8, the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage from the California Supreme Court. Coming after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his successor, Gov. Jerry Brown, refused to defend the proposition in court, the order, asked for clarification of California law. That has left the defense primarily to conservative legal groups and proponents of the measure. In August, Proposition 8 was ruled to be unconstitutional by a federal district judge, but that ruling was appealed to the Ninth Circuit panel. Also Tuesday, the Imperial County’s right to intervene on the behalf of Proposition 8 was denied by the panel.
    I think that this is a wonderful example of the judiciary system in the US. Not only does is show that legal process and the federal system but is also bring in federalism. The case now lies with a court of appeals, the second tier in the federal judiciary system. The state system of California is also involved because the ciruit court has asked the State Supreme Court for guidance and clarification concerning Proposition 8, the law in question. All in all, this case is very educational.


    Mathew Hoffman was recently sentenced to life in prison without parole for committing multiple murders, burglary, kidnapping, rape and other charges. He plead guilty to killing Tina Hermann, her son Kody Maynard, and her neighbor Stephanie Sprang. He had attempted to break into Hermann’s home, and upon confrontation, killed her and the other victims. He then stuffed them into trash bags and hid them in hollow trees. Hoffman was also guilty of kidnapping a 13 year old girl and subsequently raping her.

    This is a disgusting crime that sickens me. Hoffman deserves his sentence of life in prison without parole, and I am glad that he will not be able to commit such crimes again. Hoffman has obviously inflicted so much pain on the families and friends of his victims. My thoughts are with these people.

    Maria Yao, 6th


    Jackson Wright
     6th period

       This article deals with the judicial system and party barriers leading to a neglected court system. There are currently 96 unfilled federal judge positions and Chief Justice John Roberts believes this is due to the parties trying to block the other party from electing a judge of their own beliefs.  Roberts complains that Obama should do better to eliminate these party barriers.  
       I do not agree with Roberts conservative views in general but on this issue I do agree with him because when parties begin to hurt our go government rather than help them is when something should be done.  I hope that Obama does branch out a little more so that we can fill these judicial spots and keep the branch alive and well with a strong influence so I do agree with Roberts on this subject.

  54. Tanner Gardner
    7th Period

    A bill repealing Obama's health care reform has cleared a key hurdle in the House yesterday. This came about because almost all of the Republicans present voted for the repeal, and nearly every Democrat against: however the Republicans-due to the recent reseizing of power in the House-still dominated the vote(238-181). The repeal will have to survive a revote, a Democrat-controlled Senate and a presidential veto by the one who enacted it. Democrats cite a CBO analysis saying the repeal would add $230 billion to the federal debt, while Republicans maintain it as something that America as a whole can't afford. As Rep. Mike Pence, a republican form Indiana, said, "We will vote to repeal Obamacare again and again until we consign their government takeover to the ash heap of history where it belongs."

    I am aware that the Rep. Mike Pence doesn't represent all Republicans but unfortunately he does hold the same views as those of lesser intelligence. The stance that these people are taking is summed up perfectly by Bill Maher: "We can't afford health care cause some asshole ran up the debt!" You see? They never admit to any fallacies-they're completely irrational. Again, not slandering all Republicans-just the ones who trust Fox News. I think it's scary that Republicans have regained their lost House positions. It'd be a real shame to see the Reaganites destroy everything Obama has worked so hard for.

  55. Julie Wulforst
    6th period

    According to the states incoming attorney general, Oklahoma will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obama's health care overhaul within the next few weeks. Oklahoma's attorney general, Scott Pruitt, believes that the federal government has gone to far in their overreach of power and authority, and that it's necessary that he exorcises his right to defend Oklahoma's Constitution. Oklahoma Governor-elect, Mary Fallon, supports Pruitt one hundred percent and believes the health care overhaul is ""bad for our economy, bad for our health and bad for our states." New health care laws state that by 2014, most Americans will be required to have health insurance. OKlahoma residents think this isn't right, and don't think they should HAVE to have health insurance, so last November, Oklahoma voters supported an amendment to their Constitution saying that they shouldn't be required to have health insurance. Within the next few months, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia is expected to rule on the lawsuit.

    Recently in class we've been studying the judicial "cake" and what it takes to make it to the Supreme Court. The Oklahoma lawsuit is expected to appear in the Supreme Court regardless of the outcome in Richmond, which makes sense, since it's a STATE against something outside that state. I agree with what Oklahoma (as well as Florida and Virginia) have done, and are trying to do. Sometimes people overstep their boundaries and need to be put back in their place, and I think that this is a great way to do it. Since three states have already put lawsuits in motion against the health care overhaul, I think other states will eventually join in, and the case will appear in the Supreme Court.


    Five months ago in Kabul, Afghanistan there was a video of a couple, a 19-year-old girl and her 25-year-old fiancée, being stoned to death. The police did not take action at the time, but now, the police have finally decided to investigate. There is plenty of information on the case including- the time, the date, the place, the people committing the crime, and hundreds of witnesses. One of the videos taken has now been shown on TV there and prompted the government to take action. They claim that the perpetrators have gone into hiding but the claim was questioned because most of the men in the district were involved. The only group who has spoken openly of their disgrace is the Taliban who once controlled the village.
    I think this a very disgusting and sad story. First of all, I would not wish stoning on my worst enemy. It is a horrible and painful way to die and I would not want to see anyone go through it. Next, the reason that this happened was because they wanted to elope. It is sad that they were punished this way- and even punished at all! And thirdly, the fact that the local police took no action for so long is appalling. It makes me think they agreed with what happened. Only after they were disgraced for not acting did they finally investigate. I hope that the families of those harmed realize that this was a horrible thing that was done, and remember them as those they love, instead of those who acted wrongly in their eyes and were punished justly.

    Jessica Batson