Archive for July, 2013

Illinois Becomes 20th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
On August 1, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn passed a medical marijuana law.  Some Marijuana advocates are calling this a win, whereas others see it as a step in the wrong direction.  Although many chronically ill patients will now be able to ease their pain and nausea, Illinois will be practicing some of the strictest regulation for the legal consumption of cannabis.
The law will allow approved patients to possess and consume a maximum of 2.5 ounces every two weeks.  It will not be too easy to obtain a prescription, though, because patients must be recommended by an established physician.  The laws will not be as lax as in California, where anyone could get a medical card for ailments such as anxiety or stress.  Instead, only qualifying patients who are diagnosed with one or more medical conditions from a designated list of 33 conditions will be able to seek a medical marijuana prescription.
Groups that are objecting to the bill are mainly upset that the bill does not do enough to protect American citizens from the often harsh drug crime laws.  For example, patients who decide to grow their own medicine will continue to be criminalized in Illinois.  This can be frustrating, because most states that have made made medical marijuana permissible, have accordingly allowed the cultivation of medical marijuana.  Now, most patients will be forced to pay for their medicine at exorbitantly state-regulated prices.
Many cannabis advocates are also disconcerted over the intrusive nature of this new bill.  In order for patients to obtain a medical marijuana prescription, they will be subject to fingerprinting and background checks.  The bill will also give police the power to access a patient’s record with the utmost of ease.  Counterintuitively, the United States have less intrusive background checks to qualify for purchasing a dangerous weapon.  With such harsh regulations, Illinois may turn people to the streets in order to obtain their much needed medicine.
In the end, with nearly half the states in the U.S. allowing for the medicinal use of cannabis, the country is coming increasingly closer to the day that the government will no longer tell its citizens what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

On August 1, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn passed a medical marijuana law.  Some Marijuana advocates are calling this a win, whereas others see it as a step in the wrong direction.  Although many chronically ill patients will now be able to ease their pain and nausea, Illinois will be practicing some of the strictest regulation for the legal consumption of cannabis.

The law will allow approved patients to possess and consume a maximum of 2.5 ounces every two weeks.  It will not be too easy to obtain a prescription, though, because patients must be recommended by an established physician.  The laws will not be as lax as in California, where anyone could get a medical card for ailments such as anxiety or stress.  Instead, only qualifying patients who are diagnosed with one or more medical conditions from a designated list of 33 conditions will be able to seek a medical marijuana prescription.

Groups that are objecting to the bill are mainly upset that the bill does not do enough to protect American citizens from the often harsh drug crime laws.  For example, patients who decide to grow their own medicine will continue to be criminalized in Illinois.  This can be frustrating, because most states that have made made medical marijuana permissible, have accordingly allowed the cultivation of medical marijuana.  Now, most patients will be forced to pay for their medicine at exorbitantly state-regulated prices.

Many cannabis advocates are also disconcerted over the intrusive nature of this new bill.  In order for patients to obtain a medical marijuana prescription, they will be subject to fingerprinting and background checks.  The bill will also give police the power to access a patient’s record with the utmost of ease.  Counterintuitively, the United States have less intrusive background checks to qualify for purchasing a dangerous weapon.  With such harsh regulations, Illinois may turn people to the streets in order to obtain their much needed medicine.

In the end, with nearly half the states in the U.S. allowing for the medicinal use of cannabis, the country is coming increasingly closer to the day that the government will no longer tell its citizens what they can and cannot do with their bodies.

Zoloft and Birth Defects Still in Question

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Many women who suffer from depression are prescribed a number of medications to relieve symptoms. However, some of these drugs have been linked to a higher risk of birth defects in babies exposed to the drugs in utero. Zoloft, a commonly prescribed anti-depression medication, is one of these medications.
About Zoloft
Zoloft is the brand name of a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor medication whose pharmaceutical name is sertraline hydrochloride. This drug was first approved for use by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration and introduced in 1991. It was widely prescribed by physicians for patients who suffered from depression. These drugs work are thought to work by preventing serotonin from being absorbed into the body quickly. This action helps to regulate the neurotransmitters available in the brain. However, questions arose about other changes these drugs might cause.
Problems With Zoloft and Birth Defects
In 2006, a Swedish study linked the medication to increased rates of persistent pulmonary hypertension, a serious condition that causes circulatory and respiratory problems. A number of heart defects have been observed in newborns exposed to the drug in utero, including transposition of the great arteries, Ebstein’s anomaly, coarctation of the aorta and other problems. In addition, other medical conditions were found in newborns, such as muscle tone problems, limb reduction, abnormal intestinal development and defects of the mouth and septum. These findings caused increased study of the issue of SSRI drugs during pregnancy.
Contradicting Studies
As research continued on the effects of Zoloft, a number of studies appeared to contradict each other. In June of 2013, the Australian Journal of Psychiatry published results of a study that seemed to reinforce the link between some SSRI medications and an increase in birth defects These results contradicted an earlier study in April of 2013 by the BMJ Group that linked taking SSRI medications with increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder and other problems.
If You Have Taken Zoloft
If you were prescribed Zoloft during your pregnancy and have had a child with medical or behavioral problems, consult an attorney to discuss your rights under the law.

Many women who suffer from depression are prescribed a number of medications to relieve symptoms. However, some of these drugs have been linked to a higher risk of birth defects in babies exposed to the drugs in utero. Zoloft, a commonly prescribed anti-depression medication, is one of these medications.

About Zoloft

Zoloft is the brand name of a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor medication whose pharmaceutical name is sertraline hydrochloride. This drug was first approved for use by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration and introduced in 1991. It was widely prescribed by physicians for patients who suffered from depression. These drugs work are thought to work by preventing serotonin from being absorbed into the body quickly. This action helps to regulate the neurotransmitters available in the brain. However, questions arose about other changes these drugs might cause.

Problems With Zoloft and Birth Defects

In 2006, a Swedish study linked the medication to increased rates of persistent pulmonary hypertension, a serious condition that causes circulatory and respiratory problems. A number of heart defects have been observed in newborns exposed to the drug in utero, including transposition of the great arteries, Ebstein’s anomaly, coarctation of the aorta and other problems. In addition, other medical conditions were found in newborns, such as muscle tone problems, limb reduction, abnormal intestinal development and defects of the mouth and septum. These findings caused increased study of the issue of SSRI drugs during pregnancy.

Contradicting Studies

As research continued on the effects of Zoloft, a number of studies appeared to contradict each other. In June of 2013, the Australian Journal of Psychiatry published results of a study that seemed to reinforce the link between some SSRI medications and an increase in birth defects These results contradicted an earlier study in April of 2013 by the BMJ Group that linked taking SSRI medications with increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder and other problems.

If You Have Taken Zoloft

If you were prescribed Zoloft during your pregnancy and have had a child with medical or behavioral problems, consult an attorney to discuss your rights under the law.

$14M Reward in Brain Injury Lawsuit

Monday, July 29th, 2013
A jury in Virginia found Hyundai to be responsible for the injuries to Zachary Duncan and awarded the victim $14 million dollars. In 2010, Duncan was in an accident while driving a Hyundai Tiburon that caused extensive damage to his brain. Duncan was 16 years old at the time when he lost control of his car. It left the road, hit a snow bank, rolled down a hill and collided with a tree. It was the roof of the car that struck the tree. The injury to his head was due to contact with a metal portion of the roof of the car.
Duncan’s lawyer argued that the injury would have been prevented if the side air bag would have deployed. It was the sensor for the air bag that was the problem. The sensor was placed in a location that prevented it from being effective. Hyundai has had problems with their airbags including a recall. They knew about this issue and did not correct it.  Since the time of the accident, Duncan has had to learn to walk and talk again. Because of damage to the frontal lobe, he experiences short term memory loss. The medical bills since the accident have added up to more than $100,000. These medical expenses will continue for the rest of Duncan’s life.
The automaker’s position was that they complied with all federal standards associated with airbags. The recall to fix their airbags was for the Elantra not the Tiburon and was due to a bracket that was coming loose when the airbag was deployed. Furthermore, Hyundai’s attorney argued that no airbag what have prevented the damage to Duncan’s head when the tree smashed down on the roof. Although the attorney expressed great sympathy for the plaintiff, the accident was a tragedy that did not involve the airbag.
The jury awarded $14 million on the basis of the legal concept that the car was unreasonably dangerous to drive. Hyundai has said they plan to appeal the verdict. The attorney for Duncan, Ari Casper, has said the verdict was a good one. The technology was both old and defective; someone was bound to get hurt.
A jury in Virginia found Hyundai to be responsible for the injuries to Zachary Duncan and awarded the victim $14 million dollars. In 2010, Duncan was in an accident while driving a Hyundai Tiburon that caused extensive damage to his brain. Duncan was 16 years old at the time when he lost control of his car. It left the road, hit a snow bank, rolled down a hill and collided with a tree. It was the roof of the car that struck the tree. The injury to his head was due to contact with a metal portion of the roof of the car.
Duncan’s lawyer argued that the injury would have been prevented if the side air bag would have deployed. It was the sensor for the air bag that was the problem. The sensor was placed in a location that prevented it from being effective. Hyundai has had problems with their airbags including a recall. They knew about this issue and did not correct it.  Since the time of the accident, Duncan has had to learn to walk and talk again. Because of damage to the frontal lobe, he experiences short term memory loss. The medical bills since the accident have added up to more than $100,000. These medical expenses will continue for the rest of Duncan’s life.
The automaker’s position was that they complied with all federal standards associated with airbags. The recall to fix their airbags was for the Elantra not the Tiburon and was due to a bracket that was coming loose when the airbag was deployed. Furthermore, Hyundai’s attorney argued that no airbag what have prevented the damage to Duncan’s head when the tree smashed down on the roof. Although the attorney expressed great sympathy for the plaintiff, the accident was a tragedy that did not involve the airbag.
The jury awarded $14 million on the basis of the legal concept that the car was unreasonably dangerous to drive. Hyundai has said they plan to appeal the verdict. The attorney for Duncan, Ari Casper, has said the verdict was a good one. The technology was both old and defective; someone was bound to get hurt.

Monster Energy Drinks Dangerous to the Heart?

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Monster Energy drinks are extremely popular. However, a recent study that was presented to the American Heart Association insinuates that there may be a link between consumption of the drink to a spike in blood pressure that results in changes to the rhythms of the heart. People have died after drinking Monster Energy drinks, which include a high caffeine content, and as a result, lawsuits have been filed against its parent company, Monster Beverage Corporation.

The findings in the study that was presented to the American Heart Association suggest that consuming energy drinks can cause the blood pressure to increase, which changes the normal function of the heart. The study is preliminary due to its as of yet unpublished nature, but it was discovered that participants who drank a mere one to three energy drinks had a QT interval that was 10 milliseconds longer than people who didn’t consume an energy drink. While this number may seem extremely minute, an extended QT interval can potentially lead to a fatal arrhythmia of the heart.

In addition, the researchers who performed the study looked at the systolic blood pressure of the individuals who participated. It was found as a result that consuming as little as one energy drink increased their blood pressure to an average of 3.5 points, and the participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 45, were said to be healthy. The researchers determined that individuals who had health issues would more likely experience side effects affecting the heart.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that more emergency room visits were linked to energy drinks between 2007 and 2011, and that those visiting the E.R. because of them more than doubled 10,068 to 20,783 between those years. Most patients were male, but the number of visits to the E.R. for either sex doubled between the years of 2007 and 2011. Those aged 18 to 39 were most likely to be seen at the emergency room for issues related to consumption of energy drinks, although there was an increase of individuals 40 and older of 279 percent between 2007 and 2011.

It was also revealed that the caffeine content in an energy drink is anywhere from 80 to over 500 milligrams. Meanwhile, a cup of coffee of only five ounces contains only 100 milligrams of caffeine. Lawsuits have been filed against the makers of a few energy drinks as a result of fatal heart attacks in individuals after drinking the products.

Surprise Plea Deal for Hells-Angel Member

Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Man Accused of Murder Strikes Unexpected Plea Deal
In July 2013, Cesar Villagrana, 38, entered two surprise pleas in Eno, Nevada’s Washoe District Court. Villagrana pled guilty to a charge of battery with a deadly weapon, and a charge of challenging to fight with a deadly weapon. Had he not accepted this plea bargain, Villagrana, a resident of Gilroy, Calif., and a member of the Hells Angels criminal motorcycle gang, would have gone on trial for second-degree murder and other charges, and he might have received a life sentence in prison.
The incident for which Villagrana was arrested took place on Friday, September 23, 2011, in a bar named Trader Dick’s, located inside John Ascuaga’s Nugget, a Sparks, Nev., casino. Villagrana and his friend Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, leader of the San Jose Hells Angels branch, were in town for a motorcycle festival called Street Vibrations.
At 11:30 p.m., a fight broke out between the Hells Angels and members of a rival motorcycle gang called Vagos. Video surveillance footage shows Villagrana removing a gun — later determined to be a stolen, semi-automatic Smith & Wesson — from his waistband and shooting into a crowd. Some of the people he shot at were not gang members and not even involved in the fight; many ducked beneath craps tables. After this shooting, Pettigrew lay bleeding from bullets and stab wounds in his torso. He later died in a local hospital. In addition, Leonard Ramirez and Diego Garcia, two Vagos members, suffered non-fatal gunshot injuries. Police were dispatched to the scene, and a supervisor ordered Villagrana to drop his gun, which he did.
Villagrana was the only person arrested at the scene, although police later arrested San Francisco’s Ernesto Gonzalez, a Vagos member. Gonzalez, incidentally, went to trial and was found guilty of murder in August 2013. Following the shootout, the city of Sparks cancelled the 2011 Street Vibrations; authorities also declared a state of emergency for a 24-hour period.
Villagrana’s sentencing will take place on September 4, 2013. He could receive a maximum of 15 years in prison, as well as a $15,000 fine.
Man Accused of Murder Strikes Unexpected Plea Deal
In July 2013, Cesar Villagrana, 38, entered two surprise pleas in Eno, Nevada’s Washoe District Court. Villagrana pled guilty to a charge of battery with a deadly weapon, and a charge of challenging to fight with a deadly weapon. Had he not accepted this plea bargain, Villagrana, a resident of Gilroy, Calif., and a member of the Hells Angels criminal motorcycle gang, would have gone on trial for second-degree murder and other charges, and he might have received a life sentence in prison.
The incident for which Villagrana was arrested took place on Friday, September 23, 2011, in a bar named Trader Dick’s, located inside John Ascuaga’s Nugget, a Sparks, Nev., casino. Villagrana and his friend Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, leader of the San Jose Hells Angels branch, were in town for a motorcycle festival called Street Vibrations.
At 11:30 p.m., a fight broke out between the Hells Angels and members of a rival motorcycle gang called Vagos. Video surveillance footage shows Villagrana removing a gun — later determined to be a stolen, semi-automatic Smith & Wesson — from his waistband and shooting into a crowd. Some of the people he shot at were not gang members and not even involved in the fight; many ducked beneath craps tables. After this shooting, Pettigrew lay bleeding from bullets and stab wounds in his torso. He later died in a local hospital. In addition, Leonard Ramirez and Diego Garcia, two Vagos members, suffered non-fatal gunshot injuries. Police were dispatched to the scene, and a supervisor ordered Villagrana to drop his gun, which he did.
Villagrana was the only person arrested at the scene, although police later arrested San Francisco’s Ernesto Gonzalez, a Vagos member. Gonzalez, incidentally, went to trial and was found guilty of murder in August 2013. Following the shootout, the city of Sparks cancelled the 2011 Street Vibrations; authorities also declared a state of emergency for a 24-hour period.
Villagrana’s sentencing will take place on September 4, 2013. He could receive a maximum of 15 years in prison, as well as a $15,000 fine.

Target Faces Discrimination Lawsuit

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Target, the mammoth retail chain popular across the nation, is now faced with a lawsuit alleging discrimination against three Hispanic former employees at one of the company’s warehouses in Yolo County, California.
The workers named in the lawsuit have claimed harassment and workplace discrimination from the repeated use of racial slurs and language, both spoken and in official department documents. The source of the harassment, the employees say, was the virtually all-white management staff, who are alleged to have made comments like “only a ‘wetback’ can work this hard” and distributed printed materials describing Mexicans and Cubans as salsa-loving, sombrero-wearing illegal aliens and political refugees.
Target’s response included statements that the paper, “Organization Effectiveness, Employee and Labor Relations Multi-Cultural Tips”, was “never part of any formal, or company-wide training” and “not representative of who Target is.”
Included in the complaint is the workers’ claim that they suffered retaliation after one of the individuals escalated the issue to the human resources department – only to face more managerial harassment and, as was true for the other two employees, eventual termination.
<h1>Evidence of Abuse</h1>
In cases where actions illegal under state and federal law occur – such as discrimination based on a person’s ethnicity, gender or religion – it’s vital that those targeted record everything they can. Too often a hurt worker is too stressed to take the care needed to prevent a courtroom scenario where hearsay is weighed by the credibility of the parties involved. Without evidence such as rock-solid proof of discriminatory documents on company letterhead, those seeking relief may not get it.
But with diligent documentation, employees facing discrimination can feel confident in bringing the problem to a supervisor – or taking it to human resources, if the concerns involve management. Even if the claim is found to be without merit, workers worried about retaliatory punishment are covered by the law, which makes it expressly illegal to attack a worker who shares concerns about workplace harassment. Should they be retaliated against, workers then have the right to seek relief through the EEOC or legal counsel.
Target, the mammoth retail chain popular across the nation, is now faced with a lawsuit alleging discrimination against three Hispanic former employees at one of the company’s warehouses in Yolo County, California.
The workers named in the lawsuit have claimed harassment and workplace discrimination from the repeated use of racial slurs and language, both spoken and in official department documents. The source of the harassment, the employees say, was the virtually all-white management staff, who are alleged to have made comments like “only a ‘wetback’ can work this hard” and distributed printed materials describing Mexicans and Cubans as salsa-loving, sombrero-wearing illegal aliens and political refugees.
Target’s response included statements that the paper, “Organization Effectiveness, Employee and Labor Relations Multi-Cultural Tips”, was “never part of any formal, or company-wide training” and “not representative of who Target is.”
Included in the complaint is the workers’ claim that they suffered retaliation after one of the individuals escalated the issue to the human resources department – only to face more managerial harassment and, as was true for the other two employees, eventual termination.
<h1>Evidence of Abuse</h1>
In cases where actions illegal under state and federal law occur – such as discrimination based on a person’s ethnicity, gender or religion – it’s vital that those targeted record everything they can. Too often a hurt worker is too stressed to take the care needed to prevent a courtroom scenario where hearsay is weighed by the credibility of the parties involved. Without evidence such as rock-solid proof of discriminatory documents on company letterhead, those seeking relief may not get it.
But with diligent documentation, employees facing discrimination can feel confident in bringing the problem to a supervisor – or taking it to human resources, if the concerns involve management. Even if the claim is found to be without merit, workers worried about retaliatory punishment are covered by the law, which makes it expressly illegal to attack a worker who shares concerns about workplace harassment. Should they be retaliated against, workers then have the right to seek relief through the EEOC or legal counsel.

Woman Dies on Roller-Coaster After Expressing Safety Concerns

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Recently, a woman fell to her death from a roller coaster at Six Flags in Dallas, Texas. The tragedy occurred on Friday, July 19, 2013 and marked the second fatality that occurred from one of the rides since the park opened back in 1961. On Saturday, July 20, Six flag issued a statement that an internal investigation was underway and ongoing about the woman’s death.
While the woman’s name has not yet been released, several witnesses reported to the media that she had not been properly secured in her seat on the roller coaster. A Six Flags park spokesperson claimed that the woman died “on the ride,” although visitors claimed they witnessed her falling from the roller coaster sometime after 6:30 PM. Soon afterward, paramedics appeared at the scene of the tragedy.
One witness came forward to report that the woman who fell to her death had voiced concern to a park employee upon entering the ride that she was not secure in the seat. A second witness later posted on his Twitter page that he thought it appeared as though the woman’s seatbelt had opened. A few other witnesses stated that the woman was thrown from the ride as the coaster made a sharp turn.
The Texas Six Flags park opened in 1990 and boasted the world’s tallest wooden roller coaster, which was closed in November 2009. This was done to convert it into a different version that was made from both wood and steel. The newly rebuilt roller coaster includes a track that extends 4,700 feet and combines new pieces with bits of the old structure. The finished product was reopened in April 2011 and is capable of speeds of up to 65 miles per hour with a 79 degree drop and three turns that are greater than 90 degrees.
In addition to the demise of the woman on the roller coaster, another incident occurred that day on a boat ride at Cedar Point in Ohio. The boat maneuvered backward down a hill, then flipped in the water due to a malfunction in the ride. The result was seven people on the ride becoming injured.

Recently, a woman fell to her death from a roller coaster at Six Flags in Dallas, Texas. The tragedy occurred on Friday, July 19, 2013 and marked the second fatality that occurred from one of the rides since the park opened back in 1961. On Saturday, July 20, Six flag issued a statement that an internal investigation was underway and ongoing about the woman’s death.

While the woman’s name has not yet been released, several witnesses reported to the media that she had not been properly secured in her seat on the roller coaster. A Six Flags park spokesperson claimed that the woman died “on the ride,” although visitors claimed they witnessed her falling from the roller coaster sometime after 6:30 PM. Soon afterward, paramedics appeared at the scene of the tragedy.

One witness came forward to report that the woman who fell to her death had voiced concern to a park employee upon entering the ride that she was not secure in the seat. A second witness later posted on his Twitter page that he thought it appeared as though the woman’s seatbelt had opened. A few other witnesses stated that the woman was thrown from the ride as the coaster made a sharp turn.

The Texas Six Flags park opened in 1990 and boasted the world’s tallest wooden roller coaster, which was closed in November 2009. This was done to convert it into a different version that was made from both wood and steel. The newly rebuilt roller coaster includes a track that extends 4,700 feet and combines new pieces with bits of the old structure. The finished product was reopened in April 2011 and is capable of speeds of up to 65 miles per hour with a 79 degree drop and three turns that are greater than 90 degrees.

In addition to the demise of the woman on the roller coaster, another incident occurred that day on a boat ride at Cedar Point in Ohio. The boat maneuvered backward down a hill, then flipped in the water due to a malfunction in the ride. The result was seven people on the ride becoming injured.

Court Hearing Approaching For Penn State Administrators Accused of Covering up Sex Scandal

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
A preliminary hearing has been set for the three ex Penn State officials accused of covering up sex abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The long-awaited hearing for Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz will start on July 29.
The case will be heard by District Judge William Wenner, who was also a former detective. Wenner has built a reputation for handling a number of high-profile grand jury cases. The hearing is expected to last about three days.
All three men deny they had any knowledge of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Sandusky. They claim that they were never led to believe that anything other than “horseplay” occurred between victim 2 and Sandusky in a locker room shower on campus.
According to the grand jury report, the men did not notify the police, but instead forbid Sandusky to bring any boys on the Penn State campus. The prosecuting attorney says that there is plenty of proof to support the conspiracy, failure to report suspected abuse, and obstruction charges brought against the men.
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was forced from his position shortly after Sandusky’s arrest. Thomas Kline, the attorney who represents victim 5, calls the emails between the men as “shocking” and “eye-popping.” “The emails are significant and document the then conscious state-of-mind,” according to Kline.
The 2001 incident was witnessed by then Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary. He says he witnessed the boy being sexually assaulted in the shower and reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, and vice president Gary Schultz. The men insist that the statements made by McQueery are false.
Sandusky, who was convicted on multiple counts of sexual abuse against minors, is currently serving a 30 to 60 year prison sentence. Sandusky maintains his innocence and is appealing his sentence.
Paterno was ousted in 2011 and died shortly afterwards.

A preliminary hearing has been set for the three ex Penn State officials accused of covering up sex abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The long-awaited hearing for Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz will start on July 29.

The case will be heard by District Judge William Wenner, who was also a former detective. Wenner has built a reputation for handling a number of high-profile grand jury cases. The hearing is expected to last about three days.

All three men deny they had any knowledge of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Sandusky. They claim that they were never led to believe that anything other than “horseplay” occurred between victim 2 and Sandusky in a locker room shower on campus.

According to the grand jury report, the men did not notify the police, but instead forbid Sandusky to bring any boys on the Penn State campus. The prosecuting attorney says that there is plenty of proof to support the conspiracy, failure to report suspected abuse, and obstruction charges brought against the men.

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was forced from his position shortly after Sandusky’s arrest. Thomas Kline, the attorney who represents victim 5, calls the emails between the men as “shocking” and “eye-popping.” “The emails are significant and document the then conscious state-of-mind,” according to Kline.

The 2001 incident was witnessed by then Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary. He says he witnessed the boy being sexually assaulted in the shower and reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, and vice president Gary Schultz. The men insist that the statements made by McQueery are false.

Sandusky, who was convicted on multiple counts of sexual abuse against minors, is currently serving a 30 to 60 year prison sentence. Sandusky maintains his innocence and is appealing his sentence.

Paterno was ousted in 2011 and died shortly afterwards.

HIV Segregation in SC Prisons Comes to an End

Friday, July 19th, 2013
Thanks to a new policy from the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), the 351 male and 15 female HIV-positive prisoners in South Carolina will no longer be subjected to segregation within the state’s prisons. On Wednesday, July 10, the SCDC officially ended its policy of separating prisoners who have HIV from the rest of the general population.
The new policy did not set a required date for integration of the HIV-positive prisoners with the rest of the general population. Though the SCDC’s decision makes South Carolina the last state to end segregation based on HIV in their prisons, the decision was still praised by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
According to a press release by the ACLU, the SCDC’s decision ends decades of prison treatment that required prisoners in South Carolina to involuntarily share their health status. The ACLU believes this to have been a violation of both medical ethics considerations and international human rights law. The organization also cited concerns with the previous segregation policy’s requirement of making prisoners with HIV live in isolated sections of the prison, which in turn limited these prisoners’ access to available prison jobs, rehabilitative programs, educational programs, vocational programs, and programs designed to enhance the prisoners’ trade skills.
In praising the new policy established by the SCDC, the ACLU called the department’s move a “milestone” towards the move to end HIV segregation within the South. The South Carolina decision follows a December 2012 ruling in the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama which ruled that Alabama’s policy of segregating prisoners with HIV violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. This ruling came after the ACLU filed a lawsuit. The ACLU joined with Human Rights Watch to provide a report detailing the type of discrimination faced by HIV positive prisoners in Alabama’s prisons. According to the report, the segregation policies that were designed to combat fear, prejudice and violence against prisoners with HIV instead promoted these feelings within the Alabama prison system.
Thanks to a new policy from the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), the 351 male and 15 female HIV-positive prisoners in South Carolina will no longer be subjected to segregation within the state’s prisons. On Wednesday, July 10, the SCDC officially ended its policy of separating prisoners who have HIV from the rest of the general population.
The new policy did not set a required date for integration of the HIV-positive prisoners with the rest of the general population. Though the SCDC’s decision makes South Carolina the last state to end segregation based on HIV in their prisons, the decision was still praised by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
According to a press release by the ACLU, the SCDC’s decision ends decades of prison treatment that required prisoners in South Carolina to involuntarily share their health status. The ACLU believes this to have been a violation of both medical ethics considerations and international human rights law. The organization also cited concerns with the previous segregation policy’s requirement of making prisoners with HIV live in isolated sections of the prison, which in turn limited these prisoners’ access to available prison jobs, rehabilitative programs, educational programs, vocational programs, and programs designed to enhance the prisoners’ trade skills.
In praising the new policy established by the SCDC, the ACLU called the department’s move a “milestone” towards the move to end HIV segregation within the South. The South Carolina decision follows a December 2012 ruling in the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama which ruled that Alabama’s policy of segregating prisoners with HIV violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. This ruling came after the ACLU filed a lawsuit. The ACLU joined with Human Rights Watch to provide a report detailing the type of discrimination faced by HIV positive prisoners in Alabama’s prisons. According to the report, the segregation policies that were designed to combat fear, prejudice and violence against prisoners with HIV instead promoted these feelings within the Alabama prison system.

Are California Labor Laws Providing Enough Protection for Employees?

Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Two recent deaths of farm workers in California are raising questions regarding how adequate California labor laws are in protecting workers in the state.  The workers, one a farmhand and the other an irrigation line inspector, both died during periods of extreme heat, although an investigation into both deaths are ongoing.  California was the first state to require water and shade breaks for agriculture workers, although many say the laws do not do enough to protect the most vulnerable.
<strong>Economic Pressure</strong>
When workers perform agricultural duties, such as loading produce in the sun or driving heavy machinery, without taking water or shade breaks, they <a href=”http://nfwm.org/education-center/farm-worer-issues/health-safety/”>risk</a> developing heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or stroke, which can lead to death. Because many farm workers are paid by the piece, they often work under economic pressure to not take time to rest in the shade or drink water due to the loss of income those breaks could incur.
<strong>Cal/OSHA Lawsuit</strong>
In October 2012, farm workers filed a <a href=”http://www.ufworg/_board.php?mode=view&b_code=hotissue&b_no=13005″>lawsuit</a> against the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for failing to enforce regulation of the California Heat Illness Prevention code established in 2005, which was designed to protect farm workers from heat-related illness and death.  The lawsuit alleged that since the regulation was put into effect, 28 farm workers died of heat-related causes.
<strong>Possible Changes to Regulation</strong>
Cal/OSHA is considering changes to the California Heat Illness Prevention regulation in order to  further prevent heat-related illnesses, holding public hearings throughout the state regarding the matter.  However, some industry sectors covered by the law are requesting that all meetings include information on the necessity and rationale for amending the legislation.  Many of the companies forced to comply with the standards are requesting data on incidents that occurred in compliant vs. non-compliant worksites to provide better information as to whether amendments are necessary or more regulation is the answer to continued workplace deaths due to heat.
Currently, regulations require mandatory training for employees and supervisors in recognizing the signs of heat illness, as well as requiring access to potable drinking water, access to shade and written documentation of all heat-illness prevention procedures.  The regulations were amended in 2010 to include high heat provisions, which require employers to remind employees throughout each shift to drink water when the heat rises above 95 degrees.  If you or someone you love has suffered from a heat-related illness in California, or if a loved one has died after working extreme heat, contact us online or by phone today to learn what rights you may have.

Two recent deaths of farm workers in California are raising questions regarding how adequate California labor laws are in protecting workers in the state.  The workers, one a farmhand and the other an irrigation line inspector, both died during periods of extreme heat, although an investigation into both deaths are ongoing.  California was the first state to require water and shade breaks for agriculture workers, although many say the laws do not do enough to protect the most vulnerable.

<strong>Economic Pressure</strong>

When workers perform agricultural duties, such as loading produce in the sun or driving heavy machinery, without taking water or shade breaks, they <a href=”http://nfwm.org/education-center/farm-worer-issues/health-safety/”>risk</a> developing heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion or stroke, which can lead to death. Because many farm workers are paid by the piece, they often work under economic pressure to not take time to rest in the shade or drink water due to the loss of income those breaks could incur.

<strong>Cal/OSHA Lawsuit</strong>

In October 2012, farm workers filed a <a href=”http://www.ufworg/_board.php?mode=view&b_code=hotissue&b_no=13005″>lawsuit</a> against the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for failing to enforce regulation of the California Heat Illness Prevention code established in 2005, which was designed to protect farm workers from heat-related illness and death.  The lawsuit alleged that since the regulation was put into effect, 28 farm workers died of heat-related causes.

<strong>Possible Changes to Regulation</strong>

Cal/OSHA is considering changes to the California Heat Illness Prevention regulation in order to  further prevent heat-related illnesses, holding public hearings throughout the state regarding the matter.  However, some industry sectors covered by the law are requesting that all meetings include information on the necessity and rationale for amending the legislation.  Many of the companies forced to comply with the standards are requesting data on incidents that occurred in compliant vs. non-compliant worksites to provide better information as to whether amendments are necessary or more regulation is the answer to continued workplace deaths due to heat.

Currently, regulations require mandatory training for employees and supervisors in recognizing the signs of heat illness, as well as requiring access to potable drinking water, access to shade and written documentation of all heat-illness prevention procedures.  The regulations were amended in 2010 to include high heat provisions, which require employers to remind employees throughout each shift to drink water when the heat rises above 95 degrees.  If you or someone you love has suffered from a heat-related illness in California, or if a loved one has died after working extreme heat, contact us online or by phone today to learn what rights you may have.