iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

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Abu Ghraib Detainees Sue Contractors Over Torture

June 30, 2008


Former detainees of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are suing U.S. contractors. The first complaint was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington. Others are being filed in Detroit, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; and Greenbelt, Maryland.

According to the court papers, it is alleged that innocent people who were arrested and taken to the prison were subjected to forced nudity, electrical shocks, mock executions and other inhumane treatment by employees of defense contractors CACI International and L-3 Communications, formerly Titan Corporation.

The plaintiffs are represented by law firms in Philadelphia and Detroit and by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

iNPLACENEWS


Busted in Mineola: Feeding Kids Pills and Forcing Sex Shows

June 22, 2008

In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as “silly pills” and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.
Two people have already been convicted in the case. Now a third person with ties to the club, previously known in town only as a swingers group, is set to go on trial Monday not far from Mineola, population 5,100.

“This really shook this town,” said Shirley Chadwick, a longtime resident of Mineola. “This was horrible.”

Patrick Kelly, 41, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity.

In all, six adults have been charged in connection with the case, including a parent of the three siblings involved.

Jurors this year deliberated less than five minutes before returning guilty verdicts against the first two defendants, who were accused of grooming the kids for sex shows in “kindergarten” classes and passing off Vicodin as “silly pills” to help the children perform.

Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Mayo were sentenced to life in prison. Kelly also faces a life sentence if convicted, and Smith County prosecutors hope for another swift verdict.

Thad Davidson, Kelly’s attorney, said his client passed a lie-detector test proving his innocence and worries about getting a fair trial in Tyler, 25 miles southeast of Mineola, which is in Wood County.

“I think it’s impossible to get a fair trial within 80 miles of Smith County,” Davidson said.

Mineola, about 80 miles east of Dallas, is a close-knit, conservative bean-processing town of with more than 30 churches. Residents there want to put the scandal behind them as quickly as possible.

The one-story building where prosecutors say four children – the three siblings, now ages 12, 10 and 7, and their 10-year-old aunt – were trained to perform in front of an audience of 50 to 100 once a week has been vacant since the landlord ousted the alleged organizers in 2004.

Down a slight hill is a retirement home, and even closer is the office of the local newspaper. Doris Newman, editor of The Mineola Monitor, said rumors of swinger parties spread around town but that no one mentioned children being involved.

Newman, who can see the building from her office window, said she remembers the parking lot filling up with more than a dozen cars at night.

In August 2004, an editorial under the headline “Sex In the City” opined that if the swingers left quietly, “we’ll try and forget they’ve infiltrated our town with their set of moral standards.”

“It’s not that we’re trying to look the other way,” Newman said. “But there’s a lot more to Mineola than that.”

According to a Mineola police report, the department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings’ foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child saying that “everybody does nasty stuff in there.”

In the second trial, Child Protective Services caseworker Kristi Hachtel testified, “I’ve seen a lot and I never in my wildest dreams imagined this. They were preyed upon in probably one of the most heinous ways possible.”

The children are now doing better, the welfare agency said.

“Through counseling and therapy sessions, these children are now finally feeling secure and safe,” agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam wrote in an e-mail.

Permanent custody of the three siblings was given to John and Margie Cantrell. This week, prosecutors in California charged John Cantrell with sexually assaulting a child in the state 18 years ago. Margie Cantrell said her husband is innocent.

Kelly’s attorney moved Friday asking to postpone the trial in light of the allegations against Cantrell, a state witness. Texas Child Protective Services said it would be “common” for the agency to investigate.

The Rev. Tim Letsch is opening a church in the yellow-plastered building where the children were abused. He acknowledges that building a congregation might be difficult because of the stigma attached to the property.

“You got to decide whether you’re willing to forgive those kind of things,” Letsch said. “It’s a hard deal. Especially for a spiritual person to walk in and say, ‘This happened here.'”

Origally posted @ AssociatedPress.com

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Schwarzenegger’s Answer to Overcrowded Prisons is to Build More

June 22, 2008

A federal magistrate has rejected an attempt by the state to keep certain documents secret as courts decide whether to cap California’s overcrowded prison population. California’s 33 adult prisons were designed for roughly 100,000 inmates but currently hold 159,000. Inmate advocacy groups say the crowding has led to numerous problems, including and not limited to neglectful health care and poor mental health treatment.

A special panel of three federal judges had already set a June 27th date to convene a hearing to decide whether to go ahead with a November trial on a set of lawsuits that have been consolidated. Inmate advocacy groups that brought the lawsuits opposed the administration’s request, and federal Magistrate Judge John Moulds in Sacramento issued a ruling Friday generally siding with the plaintiffs and limiting the administration’s request.

In pretrial motions, the state sought to prohibit public disclosure of certain documents classified as sensitive communications or part of internal deliberations. The Associated Press filed written opposition with the court. This written statement suggests the administration’s motion was too broad and had the potential to improperly keep some records from the public.

The administration sought to, for example, define sensitive communications as those that include “budget change proposals for government agencies that are not defendants in this proceeding.”

Judge Moulds said only documents that clearly would jeopardize prison security if they were made public should remain secret. He also ruled that any personal information on inmates and state employees would be redacted. This seems like an even-handed distribution of secrecy when appropriate, as defined by the judge. The administration can and likely will appeal Moulds’ decision to the three-judge panel, according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spokesperson. They are currently reviewing the decision.

The ruling comes as court-appointed mediators attempt to negotiate a settlement. Under the proposed settlement, 27,000 inmates would be released before serving their full sentences and a population cap would be set.

According to state Sen. George Runner, Republican state lawmaker who have intervened in the lawsuit will reject any settlement that includes a prison cap formula. In an almost predicatable fashion, he said Republicans agree that crowding needs to be reduced but believe it can be done by adding nearly 38,000 new prison and county jail cells through a building program approved by the Legislature last year. Spending more money on jailing the people than treating them, since much of the overcrowding comes from drug-offenders.

In addition, a federal receiver is seeking $7 billion in state money to add 10,000 hospital and mental health beds whose funding had been cut by Reagan administration.

iNPLACENEWS