What, No Digest Post?

By BitcoDavid


The New York Times reported on February 20th, that attorneys are seeking a Federal appeal for Death row inmate, Augustus Howell. Apparently, all death penalty inmates are to receive one final – Federal – appeal, a Habeas appeal, before the sentence can be carried out. Howell however, never got his because his original attorney missed the filing deadline. The court is being asked to rule that negligence by an attorney is sufficient grounds to waive the deadline.

This all stems from a law called the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Quoting Wikipedia,

Other provisions of the AEDPA created entirely new statutory law. For example, before AEDPA the judicially created abuse-of-the-writ doctrine restricted the presentation of new claims through subsequent habeas petitions. The AEDPA replaced this doctrine with an absolute bar on second or successive petitions. Petitioners who attempted to bring claims in federal habeas proceedings that have already been decided in a previous habeas petition would find those claims barred. Additionally, petitioners who had already filed a federal habeas petition were required to first secure authorization from the appropriate federal court of appeals. Furthermore, AEDPA took away from the Supreme Court the power to review a court of appeals’s denial of that permission, thus placing final authority for the filing of second petitions in the hands of the federal courts of appeals.

According to Howell’s current attorneys, his original  lawyer was compromised by a conflict of interest. If Howell wins the judgement, some 30 other Death row inmates – who also were not granted Habeas appeals – would be eligible for the same benefit.


Howell was convicted for killing Trooper James Fulford in 1992. Apparently, Trooper Fulford encountered Mr. Howell in a routine traffic stop. In the car at the time, was a homemade pipe bomb intended for use in a drug related retaliation. Fulford discovered the bomb, and when he tried to open the container it was in, it exploded, killing him. Howell, who was already up on charges for other drug related crimes, ended up getting the death penalty.

The attorneys are arguing that Florida Governor Rick Scott, shouldn’t want to go up against Federal law in terms of carrying out executions.

Here’s the NYT‘s link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/us/lawyers-seek-final-appeal-for-man-due-to-be-executed.html


The New York School for the Deaf in White Plains N.Y. has a championship basketball team, but the best player on the all boy team – is a girl.


This story also came from the Times. Holly Marschke, 14, is the youngest member of her team. She’s also the shortest, and the only female. She was mainstreamed until age 12, when she transferred to the White Plains facility. According to her parents, she was born deaf.

Holly plays along side the boys, and receives no special treatment. She averages 14 points a game, and plays the point guard position. According to the Times, she loves the show Switched at Birth, and says she will never give up basketball because she wants to be famous.

Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/sports/holly-marschke-sparks-boys-team-at-school-for-the-deaf.html



Explosion in ASL may do more harm than good. Mia Engle is a sophomore at Goshen College in Indiana, majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting. In a recent OpEd for the Times, she points out some of the problems faced by volunteers helping the Deaf in countries other than the U.S.A.

As readers of this site are well aware, ASL is a complex and complete language, and merely learning a few signs is not sufficient for communication in an immersion environment. Moreover, it is but one form of sign language and more closely parallels French sign than it does British or Australian.

Engle covers these points well, and advises goodhearted hearies to make sure they’re fully conversational in the sign applicable to the country in which they wish to volunteer.

What I found most interesting however, in her NYT piece, is that ASL is becoming so popular amongst the hearing. She says for example, that many parents are teaching their children sign from DVDs, even before the children are learning English.

Boy, the Grey Lady’s gonna owe us big time. Here’s another link.



Finally, a non-New York Times piece. After 30 years as the ranking Blackwater of the Penal system, my favorite evil empire – CCA – has a baby sister. The GEO group claims 73,000 beds, and 18,000 employees around the globe. It even runs prisons in South Africa, although that’s not something I personally, would brag about. Here’s a pic of their corporate offices.


According to their Web site, the stock’s dropping. Too bad. I guess you’ll have to make those prisoners work a little harder in the tire factory.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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