April 19, 2006
Federal Judge Warns New York Legislators about the Necessity of Additional Child Welfare Agency Funding
The federal judge overseeing a class-action lawsuit against New York's child welfare agency warned Tuesday that failing to support increased funding for the state's child welfare system would undermine a court-ordered overhaul. It is believed that his comments were directed at state legislators, who are considering a proposal to increase funds $52 million, from about $200 million. Source. Richard G. Jones, Tina Kelley, The New York Times, civilrights.org. For the complete story, please click here (last visited April 19, 2006, reo).
Georgia Closes Legal Loophole that Allowed Couples of Any Age to Marry without Parental Consent when one was Pregnant
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation Tuesday that closes a loophole in state law that had allowed couples of any age to get married without parental consent in the case of a pregnancy. The legislation was prompted by the case of a pregnant woman who married a 15-year-old boy. The new law bans anyone under 16 from marrying and permits 16- or 17-year-olds to marry, with the approval of a parent or guardian and the confirmation of a probate judge. Source. Greg Bluestein, AP, Ledger-Enquirer.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited April 19, 2006, reo).
Missouri Man Targets Payroll Clerk Because Paycheck garnished for Child Support – 4 Dead in Shooting SpreeA Missouri man who killed his wife and two co-workers, and then turned the gun on himself, is thought to have targeted his employer’s payroll clerk because he was upset his paycheck was being garnished for child support payments. Source. 5Ksdk.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited April 19, 2006, reo).
Louisiana Senate Committee to Consider Strict Abortion Bill
The Louisiana Senate Committee on Health and Welfare will hear a bill today (Wednesday) that outlaws the procedure in all cases except to save a mother's life. This measure is one of several anti-abortion bills introduced this session and supporters are unsure how Louisiana lawmakers will react. Source. Ed Anderson, The Times-Picayune, nola.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited April 19, 2006, reo).
April 18, 2006
Case Law Development: International Match-making Service Liable in Tort For Encouraging Immigrant Victim of Domestic Violence to Remain in Relationship and Withholding Information About Immigration Law Options
This case from the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals provides a fabulous teaching case for two aspects of domestic violence law that are sometimes difficult to fit into the syllabus: Immigration law protections for victims of domestic violence and tort liability of third parties. The case involved an international match-making service that facilitated a marriage that resulted in horrific domestic abuse of Wife, in immigrant from the Ukraine. Wife had reported the abuse to the match-maker at several of the social events hosted by the service to support and advertise their "success stories." Despite the fact that the match-maker knew about immigration protections for victims of abuse, he encouraged her to stay in the relationship, explaining that "all American men are crazy.... Maybe you just listen to him, and do what he says" and telling her that she could either work things out with Husband or be deported back to the Ukraine.
The court of appeals held that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to reasonably find that: the match-maker and his agency had a fiduciary relationship with Wife, the match-maker intentionally withheld knowledge regarding the battered spouse waiver in an effort to preserve the agency's success rate and that Wife reasonably relied upon the match-maker's advice to her detriment. Thus, the court upheld the verdict of $92,000 in compensatory damages and $341,500 in punitive damages.
Fox v. Encounters Int'l, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 9269 (April 13, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited April 16, 2006 bgf)
April 17, 2006
Katrina Disrupts Child Custody Arrangements
"Last June, after a long dispute, a judge decided that Bobby F. Spurlock and Zandrea Johnson should share custody of their daughter. Then came Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Spurlock, whose home in Jefferson Parish was undamaged in the storm, remained in Louisiana. Ms. Johnson, whose home in eastern New Orleans was destroyed, evacuated, with the child, to Memphis. Now Ms. Johnson plans to stay in Memphis indefinitely, and an already unpleasant clash over the best interest of a 6-year-old girl is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. The storm and the flooding that came with it here uprooted families, leaving them in staggering states of stress and uncertainty. For some families, already torn apart by separation and divorce, like Mr. Spurlock and Ms. Johnson, the fallout has been especially damaging, producing painful new battles over child custody and visitation, financial support and division of assets. "How can things change from joint custody to relocation in a couple of months?" asked Mr. Spurlock, a 37-year-old sales manager for a car dealership. "I am not trying to take her from her mom, but I want equal time with my daughter."
After the damaged Orleans Parish Civil District Court set up operations near Baton Rouge in October, custody and support cases began to mount. Since January, when the court returned to New Orleans, judges and lawyers say they have seen scores of family disputes related to the storm. Other parishes have experienced similar surges." By Lynette Clemetson, New York Times Link to Article (last visited 4-16-06 NVS)
Search for Louisiana Sex Offenders
"Law enforcement officers nationwide are trying to track down at least 300 sex offenders who fled south Louisiana during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but so far authorities have had little success. Not knowing the location of the offenders, some of them sexual predators, rapists and child molesters, concerns law enforcement officials and operators of centers that care for sexual abuse victims. "It is scary," said Jessica Milan, director of Gingerbread House, a Shreveport facility that aids sexually abused children. "It's already difficult enough without extra offenders on the loose. Following the hurricanes, some detectives found there were 2,000 additional sex offenders living in our area. It's a big concern to all of us."" By Mike Hasten, Shreveporttimes.com Link to Article (last visited 4-16-06 NVS)
Jolie and Pitt Naming Baby
"A local governor in Namibia said Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt told him they will have their baby in his country and are considering giving it a Namibian name, a newspaper reported Sunday. Samuel Sheefeni Nuuyoma, the governor of the Namibian province where the couple is staying at a heavily guarded lodge, said he met with the two stars on Friday, according to The Sunday Times of South Africa." USA Today Link to Article (last visited 4-16-06 NVS)
Celebrities Name Children
"It seems almost unimaginable for any 21st-century movie star to send his children out among the Hollywood elite equipped with ordinary names like Michael, Eric, Joel and Peter, as Kirk Douglas once did. This point was driven home again last week, when Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, the frontman of the band Coldplay, named their newborn son Moses. It was an unlikely enough name for a baby boy born in 2006, but perhaps less startling than the much discussed (and mocked) handle his sister, Apple, born two years ago, will carry through life.
Not that a name like Apple Martin stands out among celebrity children anymore. The director Peter Farrelly plucked that very name for his daughter before Apple Martin came along. Even that name seems drab compared with Hollywood baby names like Pilot Inspektor, cooked up by Jason Lee, the star of "My Name Is Earl," or Banjo, the inspiration of the "Six Feet Under" star Rachel Griffiths, or Moxie CrimeFighter, a name chosen last year by the comedian and magician Penn Jillette for his daughter." By Alex Williams, New York Times Link to Article (last visited 4-16-06 NVS)
Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes Home Birth?
"Tom Cruise extremely frantic about the birth of his first child with fiancee Katie Holmes has taken the whole procedure to another level. He has reportedly set up a mini hospital in his mansion for his fiancée Katie Holmes to have their baby; at a total cost of about £150,000. Tom Cruise extremely frantic about the birth of his first child with fiancee Katie Holmes has taken the whole procedure to another level. He has reportedly set up a mini hospital in his mansion for his fiancée Katie Holmes to have their baby; at a total cost of about £150,000." By Vinamrata Khare, 24x7 Updates Link to Article (last visited 4-16-06 NVS)
April 16, 2006
Commentary: “Ripples From Law Banning Abortion Spread Through South Dakota”
Readers may find the article in Sunday’s New York Times by Monica Davey that focuses on the reaction of South Dakota citizens to that state’s decision to ban all abortions of interest. An associated slide presentation available with the story based on photos taken by Carmel Zucker for the New York Times is particularly well done. Source. Monica Davey, The New York Times. The complete article with the slide presentation may be found by clicking here (last visited April 16, 2006, reo).
Pennsylvania Marriage Amendment Proposal Nearing Vote in State Legislature
A proposed marriage amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution could come up for a vote as early as April 24. The Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Proponents of the Amendment claim it will "preserve the traditional institution of marriage by stipulating that marriage is only valid between men and women and by refusing to recognize other types of unions. Opponents say that the vague reasons given for the amendment by its supporters are baffling. Source. Anne Dobson, dailypennslyvanian.com The complete story may be obtained by clicking here (last visited April 16, 2006, reo).
Eight Brides for Eight Sailors Ends in Marriage Fraud Allegations
Eight sailors at the Mayport naval station in northeast Florida are facing charges that they fraudulently married Polish and Romanian women in order to collect an extra $35,000 annual housing allowances. The women did not live with their Navy husbands and they used the sham marriages to apply for citizenship in the United States. Source. Jane Sutton, Reuters, news.yahoo.com. The complete story may be obtained by clicking here (last visited April 16, 2006, reo).
Vandalism or Free Speech? Northern Kentucky University Prof Accused of Vandalizing On-Campus Anti-Abortion Display
A Northern Kentucky University professor has apparently been accused of vandalizing an on-campus anti-abortion display. She was allegedly photographed by a member of the University’s student newspaper tearing down white crosses set up by a student right-to-life group to symbolize aborted fetuses. The professor with 26 years at the University faces possible criminal charges and action from the university if the accusations are true. Source. 9News Produced by Liz Foreman, WCPO.com. The complete story and photographs accompanying it can be found by clicking here (last visited April 16, 2006, reo).
Commentary: South Dakota: No Right to Choose
Our readers may be interested in reporter Maria Hinojosa’s personal account of her visit to South Dakoa to do a story on abortion. She recounts her experience interviewing supporters and opponents of the South Dakota’s ban on abortions and reflects on the reaction among citizens in that state to the legislation. Source: Reporters Notebook: Maria Hinojosa’s Personal Account, pbs.org. Ms. Hinojosa’s account can be found by clicking here (last visited April 16, 2006, reo).