Wednesday, August 13, 2008



Some folks are making a federal case — literally — of snowmaking at a ski area:

A federal appeals court has ruled that a ski resort’s plan to use recycled wastewater for making snow would not violate the religious freedom of Indian groups who had claimed that the practice would be blasphemous to a mountain they hold sacred. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ruling in a lawsuit against the Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff that was filed by 13 tribes and the Sierra Club, overturned a ruling by a smaller panel of the court that said the plan would violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The 1993 act is intended to ensure that government actions do not infringe on religious freedom. Lawyers for the tribes and the Sierra Club said they expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.


An update on the Jena case (there’s some discussion of it in this post, from last year): It seems that the judge who was dealing with the five defendants still to be tried... was removed from the case.

Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. had acknowledged calling the teens "troublemakers" and "a violent bunch" but insisted he could be impartial. Judge Thomas M. Yeager, who was asked by defense attorneys to review the case, found there was an appearance of impropriety and took Mauffray off the case.


An update on the nutso gun crazies in Georgia, who claimed that the new state law allows people to carry guns at the airport: a federal judge has said no, that really is as stupid as it sounds.

U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the city from enforcing the airport gun ban. Shoob ruled against gun-rights group and state Rep. Timothy Bearden (R-Villa Rica).

Bearden sponsored House Bill 89, which became law on July 1 and permits people with firearms licenses to carry guns in state parks, restaurants that serve alcohol and on mass transit.

But Shoob said allowing concealed weapons into non-secure areas of the world’s busiest airport will make the airport less safe and require it to substantially revise its security procedures.


Richard Wade Cooey was convicted of killing two University of Akron (OH) students in 1986. He was supposed to have been executed in 2003, but that was delayed by lawsuits. He’s scheduled again, for an October execution, and he’s trying once more, saying that he’s too fat:

Convicted killer Richard Wade Cooey III, who escaped death in 2003 because he argued he had bad lawyers, now says he shouldn’t be executed because he’s too overweight.

Cooey’s public-defender attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday contending that his weight, the difficulty of finding veins suitable for lethal injection, and a drug he’s taking for migraines and seizures mean that Cooey might suffer “unnecessary pain in the execution of the death sentence.”


[Note: All of these first came to my attention in Associated Press articles, but I sought and found other references. I won’t quote nor link to AP articles because of AP’s ridiculously strict stand on copyright to their headlines and text, and their refusal to acknowledge fair use.]


Lisa Simeone said...

It's good that Mauffray was taken off the Jena case, from a legal point of view; clearly he couldn't be impartial. But I as a non-lawyer non-judge can say what he said: which is that those kids are a violent bunch and troublemakers. I'm sick of the utter hysteria that has surrounded this case, particularly given the fact that those kids together jumped and beat the shit out of another kid. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with blind bullying, yet we're not supposed to say that because the defendants are black. Well, I call bullshit when I see it, no matter the colors involved, mine or others'.

Barry Leiba said...

I mostly agree with you, Lisa, but there's an aspect that's not completely simple: there's been a history of bullying on both sides, and the accused kids were themselves responding to bullying by the white kids.

I absolutely agree that we need to address the problems equally, regardless of the colours. Schools have to be very conscious of bullying, whether physical or verbal. And we've got to get out of the mode where violence is such a ready answer to things.