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OCA outraged by racist talk on CBS radio
Lawyer Blog News | 2007/04/23 14:17

The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) on Sunday expressed outrage over a recent CBS radio segment, which it described as "racist, vulgar and sexist."

WFNY 92.3 Free FM, which is part of CBS Radio, aired twice a segment of a talk show involving a prank call to a Chinese restaurant.

In a press release, the OCA called for an immediate apology from the hosts of the segment, JV & Elvis, their producer and the station.

The leading Chinese American group also demanded the immediate firing of JV & Elvis and their show's producer.

In the segment, the caller began by telling the first restaurant employee, "I would like some Asian food, son of a bitch" as well as to the second employee, "I would love to have lots of Asian food, son of a bitch."

The caller then told the restaurant's female employee, "Should I come to your restaurant so I can see you naked? " and continued, "That way, I can see your hot Asian spicy ass."

As the caller went on, he told another employee that he would like some "flied lice," but not "some old dung" and indicated that "I am training in Kung Fu, bitch" before ending with "Tell that hot Asian girl answering the telephone, I'd like to tap her ass."

OCA-New York President Vicki Shu Smolin said that what is especially disturbing to the Asian American community is that even after CBS fired Don Imus for referring to the Scarlet Knights, the Rutgers University women's basketball team, as "nappy-headed hos" on April 4, one day before the segment was first aired, JV & Elvis aired it again on April 19.

It is apparent that not only did JV & Elvis not learn anything from the Don Imus scandal, but CBS and CBS Radio decided that Asian Americans are easy prey for racist radio broadcast, he said.

John Tandana, executive vice president of OCA-Long Island, said:" Once again, radio has tried to gain ratings to the detriment of Asian Americans. The segment lasted over six minutes, the entire time, casting Asian Americans and women in a demeaning manner. We will not allow talk radio to spread stereotypes that hurt our community."

The Dog House with JV & Elvis is a radio talk show airing in New York City. The Dog House stars JV (Jeff Vandergrift) and Elvis (Dan Lay), and the two met in 1993 and have been radio co-hosts for some 15 years.

Prank phone calls are considered one of the most controversial parts in their program. This segment involves JV or Elvis calling random people from the phone book and the calls are usually humiliating.



Judges’ ruling requires ID to register to vote
Lawyer Blog News | 2007/04/21 08:00

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held late this week that Arizona may enforce its voter identification law while a non-profit organization challenges the law in federal court. The law, which Arizonans approved in 2004 as Proposition 200, requires voters to show a government-issued ID at the polls. The Ninth Circuit ruling was filed Thursday. Opponents of the law have called it a "21st century poll tax," since it requires people to purchase photo ID cards, and have argued that the law places an unconstitutional burden on minority, immigrant and elderly voters. Proponents say it prevents illegal immigrants from casting ballots. Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that Arizona could enforce the law at the polls for the November elections, reversing a Ninth Circuit decision rendered earlier that month.



DOJ seeks dismissal of Guantanamo habeas cases
Lawyer Blog News | 2007/04/20 12:32

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday sought the dismissal of all pending Guantanamo Bay detainee habeas corpus cases in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The motion to dismiss was filed in response to the US Supreme Court denying petitions for certiorari earlier this month on two cases challenging the Military Commissions Act (MCA). The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit had upheld the habeas-stripping provisions of the act in February. In Thursday's motion, the DOJ argued that February's motion, and this month's denial of cert, means that all litigation should be in the DC Circuit. The DOJ stressed that lawyers will continue to be allowed to meet with their clients during a "reasonable transition period," but in the future, client-visit priority will be given to lawyers who are pursuing litigation in the DC Circuit court.

The MCA, signed into law last October, denies federal courts the right to hear habeas corpus petitions. Shortly after the bill was enacted, the DOJ notified the DC Circuit that it no longer had authority to hear such cases. The court had stayed the almost 200 cases affected by the act, pending the legal challenges to the MCA.



Woman pleads not guilty in fatal fire
Lawyer Blog News | 2007/04/20 08:11

A woman who told police a deadly apartment building fire began when she tried to light a dollar bill to warm her feet pleaded not guilty to murder and arson charges on Thursday. A grand jury indicted Mary Smith two weeks ago in the March 10 fire that killed four people.

Defense attorney Jacqueline Ross said at Smith's arraignment that his client is taking psychiatric medication and being treated for mental health problems. She is being held without bail.

Prosecutors say Smith gave a videotaped statement in which she admitted to starting the blaze by trying to warm her feet by lighting a dollar bill that an apartment visitor had given her.

Smith was wearing plastic bags on her feet when she was arrested at a nearby coffee house. Prosecutors have not decided whether to pursue the death penalty.



US court ruling tightens up on abortions
Lawyer Blog News | 2007/04/19 16:04

The US Supreme Court has signalled a shift towards a more conservative approach to abortion by upholding a nationwide ban on a procedure that pro-life activists regard as infanticide. The court ruled on Wednesday by five votes to four to allow to stand a law passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2003 that bans the type of termination of pregnancy known by anti-abortionists as "partial-birth abortion".

It is the first time the court has intervened in the way abortions are carried out, as opposed to just over abortion itself.

The decision was viewed by both pro and anti-abortionists as an indication of a changing mood in the court towards a more conservative position.

"We're moving beyond putting roadblocks in front of abortions to actually prohibiting them," said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, a national anti-abortion group.

He and other strategists said they hoped to introduce bills in a number of states that would:

- Ban all abortion of viable foetuses, unless the mother's life is endangered.
- Ban mid and late-term abortion for foetal abnormality, such as Down syndrome or a malformed brain.
- Require doctors to tell patients explicitly what an abortion will involve and show them ultrasound images of the foetus.
- Lengthen abortion waiting periods so women must reflect on such counselling.

It is far from certain that the Supreme Court would uphold all these proposals, but anti-abortion activists feel momentum is on their side.

For more than 30 years, since the Roe v Wade case in 1973 established abortion as a constitutional right, the court has tended to reject any attempt to restrict access to terminations.

What appears to have been crucial in tipping the court's attitude was the retirement last year of Sandra Day O'Connor from the nine-member panel, and her replacement, at President George Bush's instigation, by the more conservative Samuel Alito.

Abortion-rights lawyer Katherine Grainger predicted the ruling would "open the floodgates" in state after state.

"The state's interest in the foetus has now been elevated above the woman's health," said Ms Grainger, who directs state policy for the Centre for Reproductive Rights. "States are going to push the boundaries and try to restrict access on all fronts."

The procedure that was challenged involves doctors partially removing the foetus from a woman's uterus and then crushing or cutting into its skull while it is still in the woman's body. Partial-birth abortions are allowed only for medical reasons and are applied to terminations after 12 weeks.



Six more plead guilty in aftermath of immigration raid
Lawyer Blog News | 2007/04/19 12:11

Six more former workers arrested during a raid of the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Cactus pleaded guilty to federal charges this week and could go to prison.

The six entered pleas in federal court in Amarillo on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release issued Wednesday.

Charges against them stem from a December immigration raid at the Swift plant in the Panhandle conducted as part of an investigation into the use of Social Security numbers by illegal immigrants to gain employment.

Four of the defendants -- Jesus Gutierrez-Ramos, Domingo Velasquez-Gutierrez, Manuel Castro-Pablo and Cristino Pablo-Alonzo -- each pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in connection with an immigration document. They face a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Two others pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry by an illegal immigrant. They face a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Raids at Swift & Co. plants in six states led to the arrests of more than 1,200 immigrant workers. All 53 people charged in the Northern District of Texas have pleaded guilty. Sentencing has not yet been set.

No charges were filed against Swift, which bills itself as the world's second-largest beef and pork processor.



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