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Undocumented Workers Petition for Non-Discrimination
Politics | 2006/11/03 11:35

NEW YORK - (ACLU) The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Employment Law Project and the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law today filed a petition urging the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to find the United States in violation of its universal human rights obligations by failing to protect millions of undocumented workers from exploitation and discrimination in the workplace.

The petition was submitted to the commission on behalf of the United Mine Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Interfaith Justice Network and six immigrant workers who are representative of the six million undocumented workers in the United States labor force.

"The most poorly paid and least desirable jobs in the United States are filled by undocumented immigrants, yet the government increasingly limits the safeguards available to this population, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and workplace discrimination," said Claudia Flores, an attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. "The United States government has an obligation under universal human rights norms to protect vulnerable populations, such as immigrant women, and has failed in this regard."

Undocumented immigrants make up nearly five percent of the U.S. labor force. However, employment and labor protections under state laws have been either eliminated or severely limited for undocumented workers in some states. These include such basic workplace protections as freedom from workplace discrimination and entitlement to hold an employer responsible for a workplace injury.

"International human rights law requires the United States to apply its workplace protections equally and without discrimination based on immigration status. We bring this petition to cast a global spotlight on the U.S. government’s poor human rights record in protecting undocumented workers from discrimination and to demand accountability from states and the federal government, all of whom are obligated to protect and defend human rights," said Chandra Bhatnagar, a staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program.

The individuals named in today’s petition have each tried to assert their workplace rights but were unsuccessful. They are:

Jesus L., a Michigan poultry worker who suffered severe injuries, requiring spinal reconstruction surgery, after falling from the top of a chicken house onto a concrete floor. The insurance company for Jesus’ employer refused to provide workers’ compensation to cover time off work because he was undocumented.

Yolanda L.R., a widow whose husband was killed on a construction site in New York because of his employer’s criminal negligence. Yolanda’s compensation for her husband’s wrongful death compensation will be affected by his immigration status.

Francisco Berumen Lizalde, a painter in Kansas who was prosecuted and deported, likely as a consequence of filing a workers’ compensation claim after he fell from scaffolding and fractured his hand.

Leopoldo Z., a Pennsylvania farm worker who underwent three surgeries and continues to suffer nerve damage and chronic pain as a result of a workplace accident. Leopoldo’s employer suspended his medical benefits when it became clear he would not be able to promptly return to work.

Melissa L., a woman who had to leave her job in New Jersey when workplace sexual harassment became intolerable. She filed a claim against her employer, but because

Michael J. Fox Campaigns for Stem Cell Research
Politics | 2006/11/03 10:35

Michael J. Fox rallied Thursday with about 100 people for Maryland's Democratic Senate candidate, Congressman Ben Cardin. Fox says he campaigns for candidates who support embryonic stem cell research.

Fox has appeared in television ads for Cardin and other candidates around the country who support federal funding for such research, to find cures for diseases such as Parkinson's, from which he suffers, "I'm supporting candidates who support embryonic stem cell research in races where their opponents simply don't," he said.

Cardin's Republican opponent Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, opposes research that would destroy a human embryo.

"We are who we are, we have what we have, we want what we want, and we have the right to seek representation that will get it for us," Fox said, encouraging voters with such debilitating diseases to become active in politics. Fox had plans to campaign for Democrat Jim Webb in that state's Senate race in Virginia that evening.

According to Cardin , "We're losing our best scientists to other countries" that fund embryonic stem cell research. Cardin opined that Republican opposition to the research is hurting the nation.

After the Fox rally, Cardin was headed to Baltimore for a rally with former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, a Democrat from North Carolina.

Cardin attended a rally in rally Prince George's County - a counter to a Steele endorsement earlier in the week by Demorats in the predominantly black county. Steele is the first African-American elected statewide in Maryland; Cardin is white.

Backing Steele, the lieutenant governor introduced a group of ministers who are suuportive of Steele.

"I don't know anyone who wants to be poor. I don't know anyone who wants to be illiterate," Steele said to applause from the ministers, most of whom were black.

Steele's election platform focused on his promises to reduce poverty and push for more foreign aid to Africa and the Caribbean. He also promised to try to increase federal aid for small business development and college tuition.

Breaking Legal
Sheryl Jones
Staf Writer

Victim's Boyfriend Arrested in S.C. Ditch Murders
Criminal Law | 2006/11/03 09:57

Authorities said Friday, that a scond man, identified as Charles Gamble, 24, was arrested and charged with assisting in the murder and cover-up of three people, discovered in a drainage pipe near a downtown apartment complex.

According to Columbia Police Chief Dean Crisp, all three victims had been attacked at a nearby apartment and then moved to the drainage pipe. A woman had been stabbed to death and two men fatally shot. Charles Gamble, was the woman's ex-boyfriend and father of her young child.

Jeremal Doreal Robinson, 21, of Columbia was also arrested and has been charged as an accessory and with obstructing justice.

Crisp said, "We're confident that we have the man that committed the murders. We're confident also that we have the individual who assisted him after the act in moving the bodies."

The victims, now identified as Charlene Octavia Yarbrough, 19, Marcus Antonio Wilson, 26, and Marquis Mitchell, 25. Investigators were reviewing several potential motives including a possible domestic dispute, police said.

A resident of the apartment complex, Rodrena Patrick, 20, said Gamble had been living there until he and Yarbrough got into a fight about a month ago. The couple's child had been taken into protective custody.

Gamble, who was on probation for a stalking conviction, has a criminal record dating back to a 2000 grand larceny charge, Crisp said.

Breaking Legal News.Com
Neal Andrea
Staff Writer

Health Care Reform Key Issue with Most Americans
Health Care | 2006/11/03 09:42

The 2006 Health Confidence Survey, released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute under the headline, "Dissatisfaction with Health Care System Doubles Since 1998," helps explain why health care is consistently ranked as one of this country's key issues.

A record percentage in the survey, 52% of Americans, are unhappy with the cost of health care. That breaks down to 6 out of ten Americans rank the U.S. health system as poor or fair. That represents a sharp increase in the number of dissatisfied health care consumers, shich includes the insured as well as the uninsured.

Survey results indicate that of the average family surveyed, 36% are facing higher medical costs, 53% contribute less to their retirement plans and save less in general, and 28% have trouble paying for basic necessities. In addition, 20% of those surveyed increased their credit card debt or borrowed money to pay the ever increasing health care bills, while others have chosen to delay getting medical care altogether (44%) or filling necessary prescriptions (22%).

The EBRI survey points out both that the problems with U.S. health care are rapidly geting worse and that solutions are needed to address the issues of excessive cost and the consequential burden of tolerating ill health that is facing the insured as well as the uninsured.

Breaking Legal
Sheryl M. Jones
Staff Writer

Soldier Indicted in Iraqi Civilian Deaths
Breaking Legal News | 2006/11/03 09:24

WASHINGTON – (USDOJ) A former Ft. Campbell soldier has been charged with various crimes for conduct including premeditated murder based on the alleged rape of an Iraqi girl and the deaths of the girl and members of her family, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.

Steven D. Green, 21, was charged in the indictment returned today by a federal grand jury in Louisville, Ky., with conduct that would constitute conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual abuse, premeditated murder, murder in perpetration of aggravated sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse on a person less than 16 years of age, use of firearms during the commission of violent crimes and obstruction of justice. The potential statutory penalties for conviction of these offenses ranges from a term of years to life in prison to death.

The indictment charges Green with crimes arising from an incident that occurred on March 12, 2006, in and around Mahmoudiyah, Iraq. The indictment alleges that during the incident Green and others committed aggravated sexual abuse against a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, whose body was burned after the attack. The indictment also alleges that Green and others killed the girl, her father, mother, and six-year-old sister during the same incident.

Green was discharged from the U.S. Army in May 2006 and is being prosecuted in U.S. District Court under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, a statute that gives U.S. courts jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed outside the United States by persons who served with the Armed Forces but are no longer subject to military prosecution. Other soldiers who have not been discharged by the Army are currently charged by the Army with taking part in the incident out of which the charges against Green arise.

Green, formerly stationed at Ft. Campbell, Ky., and deployed to Iraq while serving with the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army, was arrested by the FBI on June 30, 2006, on federal charges of murder and rape pursuant to the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. Green is scheduled to be arraigned on the indicted charges on Nov. 8, 2006, at 10 a.m. in Louisville.

An indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Army. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Kentucky and the Domestic Security Section of the Criminal Division.

Ex-Software CEO Sentenced to 12 Years
Breaking Legal News | 2006/11/02 10:52

On Thursday, the former CEO of Computer Associates International Inc., Sanjay Kumar, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was fined $8 million for his participation in a massive accounting fraud scandal.

Kumar, 44, after pleading guilty in April to obstruction of justice and securities fraud charges, had faced up to 20 years behind bars. The company has been renamed CA Inc.

Kumar could have faced life in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but the judge called that punishment unreasonable. Noting that Kumar was not a violent individual, U.S. District Judge Leo Glasser said Kumar "did violence to the legitimate expectations of shareholders."

Prosecutor Eric Komitee said Kumar was "the most brazen in the modern era of corporate crime" and he deserved severe punishment as the architect of an elaborate coverup.

Kumar, who is also a co-owner of the New York Islanders hockey team, told the judge at his sentencing," I know that I was wrong and there was no excuse for my conduct." The defense had urged the judge to give Kumar a short prison term followed by lengthy community service.

Said attorney John Cooney, "I hope the court will not lose sight of the good he did for that company," Decribed as one of the "great minds" of the software industry by his attorneys, Kumar is credited for turning Computer Associates into a thriving enterprise.

According to a 2004 indictment, Kumar flew on a corporate jet to Paris in July 1999 to finalize a $19 million deal and signed a backdated contract. The indictment also charged that Kumar along with other executives, instructed salespeople to complete deals after the quarter closing, an industry practice known as the "35-day month" - and "cleaned up" contracts by removing time stamps from faxes.

In 2002, after the FBI began investigating the company, Kumar orchestrated a cover-up that involved lying under oath and trying to buy the silence of a potential witness, authorities said.

CA Inc. is now the world's fifth-largest software provider with 15,000 employees worldwide.

Kumar was ordered to surrender on Feb. 27.

Breaking Legal
Sheryl Jones
Staff Writer

Record Companies Sues Parent and Her Kids
Business | 2006/11/02 10:30

Five record companies, represented by the Recording Industry Association of America, filed a lawsuit in federal court in White Plains on Wednesday against Patricia Santangelo's son and daughter, accusing them of pirating songs over the Internet.

The lawsuit accuses Michelle Santangelo, 20, and brother Robert, 16 of downloading and distributing over 1,000 songs, including "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" by the Offspring, "MMMBop" by Hanson and "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, and that Michelle acknowledged downloading songs on the family computer.

The complaint read, "In short, each of the defendants participated in the substantial violations of plaintiffs' copyrights at issue and then concealed their involvement, standing idly by as Patricia Santangelo repeatedly protested their innocence and chastised plaintiffs for filing allegedly frivolous litigation."

Jordan Glass, attorney for the Santangelos, disputed the recording industry's allegations and said he was at Michelle Santangelo's deposition and does not recall her "admitting or acknowledging downloading."

Called "an Internet illiterate parent," by a federal judge last year, Paricia Santangelo came to the forefront of attention by her denial of downloading songs and her adamant refusal to settle with the recording industry, for $7,500 to keep her name out of the lawsuit.

Defenders of Internet freedom helped pay for Santangelo's attorney. Patricia Santangelo stated her personal innocence but of her children she said she had no knowledge of them downloading and, if they did, to blame the computer programs.

The industry is requesting unspecified damages for each download, an injunction, and court costs.

The record companies have forced most file-sharing computer networks , and has sued thousands of individuals, including minors, for allegedly music pirating.

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