Rules panel asks court to remove DNA deadlines

first_imgRules panel asks court to remove DNA deadlines Rules panel asks court to remove DNA deadlines Gary Blankenship Senior Editor The Florida Supreme Court is being asked to remove the deadline for convicted inmates to request DNA testing in an effort to prove their innocence.Meeting 22 days before that deadline was set to expire, the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee, on September 9 at The Florida Bar’s General Meeting, voted to file an emergency petition with the court. That petition, asking the justices to remove the testing time limit, was scheduled to go to the Bar’s Executive Committee for its review after this Bar News went to press, and then be filed with the court.More than 1,000 inmates are still being screened to see if their case fits within the DNA testing guidelines.The vote, which was 23-0 with one abstention, came after the committee heard Bar President Alan Bookman and President-elect Hank Coxe explain that the Bar supported that or any other measure that would free an innocent person from prison.“This was a rule passed by this committee, and at the time (in 2003) this committee voted to put a two-year sunset provision in the rule,” said committee Chair George Tragos. “The provision automatically terminates on October 1 of this year. Many things have happened in the interim, including the governor ordering the biological evidence be preserved.”Those events, he added, also include some dramatic cases where DNA evidence has freed inmates, including two cases where the defendants, who had been convicted of rape, were exonerated after more than two decades each in prison.Coxe said he and Bookman met with both legislative leaders and with the governor’s general counsel, Raquel Rodriguez, and found support for the availability of DNA testing.“Raquel Rodriguez’s words were, ‘Neither I nor the governor can tolerate that an innocent person is in prison,’” Coxe said. “The Bar Board of Governors is of the position, just like Rocky Rodriquez, that innocent people in our prisons is intolerable.”He noted that the Board of Governors generally has become more involved in criminal justice issues in recent years, instead of concentrating mostly on civil matters.When the rules committee acted two years ago, it became part of a debate between the court system and the legislature over the court’s rule-making authority and whether it had exceeded procedural matters and was encroaching on substantive matters. Committee members then said the deadline was a procedural issue.“We are sensitive to the conflict and tension versus rule and statute as a solution,” Coxe said. “We are aware of this committee’s history and the position you took two years ago.“The Florida Bar would support whatever it took to keep innocent people from sitting in prison, whatever the means. We support the committee in that effort and we support the legislature on that issue.. . . Everyone has the sense there is no question what the right result is; it’s how you get there.”He read the recent legislative position approved by the Board of Governors. It says that the Bar supports making a permanent part of the criminal justice system a way for those in prison to seek DNA testing to prove their innocence.While legislators in both the House and Senate are preparing bills, those are not likely to be heard until next spring during the 2006 Regular Session.Tragos prepared the amendment, which simply repeated the language already in the Rule 3.853(d) but omitted any references to the October 1, 2005, deadline. More than 1,000 inmates seeking the testing still wait to have their requests screened to see if they qualify and if evidence in their cases is still available.Even committee members who opposed the DNA rule two years ago supported the action. Miami-Dade County Assistant State Attorney Abe Laeser said his previous objection was based on the rule would require local governments to expend money to preserve evidence and hence exceeded its authority. But now since Gov. Jeb Bush has ordered the evidence preserved, that issue is moot, he said.“The economic condition has basically disappeared,” he said. Joking about his reputation as prosecutor, Laeser added, “Even I don’t like the idea of really, really innocent people sitting in the hoosegow.”Committee member Scott Fingerhut said if the committee failed to act that he and another attorney, who are representing about 200 of the inmates seeking testing, would have filed a petition with the court to extend or eliminate the deadline.“It’s not like nothing will happen, but coming from us, it will have a far greater impact,” he said.Tragos said the change will be submitted as an out-of-cycle rule amendment to the court, with a request to expedite its review.Jenny Greenberg, director of the Florida Innocence Initiative, watched the rule debate and praised the action.“It means that, pending Florida Supreme Court action, that the rights of innocent inmates to seek DNA evidence to prove their innocence will still be alive in Florida,” she said.The rule amendment will be reviewed by the Bar’s Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the Board of Governors, before it goes to the court. October 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

West Genesee, J-E, Skaneateles girls tennis has sectional finalists

first_imgWith a berth in the state qualifier secured, Llanos and Viau turned back Christian Brothers Academy’s Grace Catalano and Aubrey Mills 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals to set up a title match at Oneida High School with F-M’s Anna Manta and Phoebe Wang, which like other finals were postponed for two days until Saturday morning by rain and wet conditions.Ultimately, Manta and Wang prevailed 6-1, 6-1, but Llanos and Viau had still earned a berth in this week’s sectional state qualifying tournament, to take place at Drumlins.Long before the finals, Catalano and Mills had knocked out WG’s Alyssa Congel and Margaret Mello 6-0, 6-1 in the round of 16, with Kara Chawgo and Aislinn Dow beaten in that same round. Meanwhile, in Division III at Skytop, it was Jordan-Elbridge’s Anisa Bort capping off her team’s fine season by reaching the singles finals, while Skaneateles had Ella Danforth and Emma Miller get to the doubles finals.With the no. 2 seed,Bort beat two local stars as he first rallied past Skaneateles standout Lily Miller 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, and then met Marcellus’ Kathleen DeMarle in the semifinals, Bort topping DeMarle 6-3, 7-5.The final had Bort against Phoenix’s Brielle DeRoberts, who had ended the run of Marcellus’ Danielle Copp in a 6-0, 6-0 semifinal and had beaten Copp’s teammate, Colleen Marsh, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals, Marsh having topped Sophie Marin (Camden) a round earlier. And Bort would also fall to DeRoberts in a 6-0, 6-0 decision.Prior to that, Copp had beaten Skaneateles’ Kenna Ellis 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 after they had both won opening-round matches in straight sets – Copp over Holland Patent’s Julia Cicci, Ellis over Camden’s Morgan Keil.DeMarle, in her run to the semifinals, beat Skaneateles’ Isabella Kroon 6-1, 6-1 and handled Holland Patent’s Rayh Spatto 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, while Miller had beaten HP’s Emma Shoemaker 6-4, 6-1 before her defeat to Bort.Moving to doubles, Danforth and Emma Miller beat Marcellus’ Sophia Shaw and Maddie Vetsch 6-0, 6-1, and then dominated the quarterfinal, too, winning 6-1, 6-0 over Camden’s Katie Ammann and Brianna O’Drain.The semifinal pitted Danforth and Miller against Marcellus’ Elaina Mahoney and Megan Mitchell, who had to survive a 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 first-round match with Cazenovia’s Mae Sayre and Emma Thornton before sweeping HP’s Jackie Mann and Sara Mierek a round later.It didn’t prove close, Danforth and Miller smashing Mahoney and Mitchell 6-0, 6-1 to earn a finals spot against Cazenovia’s Alex Galle and Nina Royer.In a three-set thriller postponed until Saturday due to wet weather, Danforth and Miller made a comeback after dropping a first-set tie-breaker, but still ended up on the wrong end of a 7-6, 2-6, 6-1 defeat.Before that, Galle and Royer had won a semifinal 6-2, 6-1 over the Mustangs’ Kaitlyn Kemp and Morgan Walsh. Kemp and Walsh had got past Skaneateles’ Meg Benedict and Olivia Walker 6-2, 6-4 in the round of 16 before a 6-4, 6-2 quarterfinal conquest of another Cazenovia pair, Nova Berger and Emma Schwartz.J-E’s Katelyn Precourt and Gabrielle Skotinski won 6-1, 6-4 over Holland Hawkes and Adrian Hauser (Camden), but lost in the quarterfinals to Galle and Royer 6-0, 6-0.The Eagles’ Lexi Delfavero and Maggie Green lost in the first round, with Skaneateles’ Sofia Capozza and Sophia Soderberg dropping a round-of-16 match and J-D’s Delaney Dunham and Meghan Whalen doing the same to Berger and Schwartz 6-1, 6-4. Westhill had Sophie Langdon and Bridget Thornton losing in the first round.,Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story In two separate Section III tournaments last week, girls tennis teams from West Genesee, Jordan-Elbridge and Skaneateles each had players reach the championship round.For the Wildcats, that meant seeing its top-seeded doubles team of Angelina Llanos and Katie Viau get to the finals of Division I as a result of a run of wins last Tuesday at Syracuse University’s Skytop Courts.Starting out, Llanos and Viau won 6-0, 6-2 over Auburn’s Kathryn Brown and Alexis Calkins, and by those same scores they beat Maya McKenzie and Camila Wojtasziewicz (Fayetteville-Manlius) in the quarterfinals.center_img Tags: girls tennisJ-EMarcellusskaneatelesWest Geneseelast_img read more

Football preps for redemption against Utah

first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanOn Sept. 23, 2016, it appeared as though USC’s season ended on a rainy Friday night in Salt Lake City. Utah defeated USC 31-27 on a touchdown with 18 seconds left in the game, and a then-redshirt freshman quarterback named Sam Darnold saw his debut spoiled in heart-wrenching fashion. The Trojans fell to 1-3. But it wasn’t close to the end. It was a new beginning. “I just remember in that game just seeing our team grow,” head coach Clay Helton said. “It reminds me a little of this year. I saw players getting better week in and week out … Instead of worrying about what’s out there way on down the line, just worry about what it takes to win this week and let’s add them all up at the end.” Last year’s loss to Utah was a turning point for a team standing at the crossroads. Now, one year and some change later, the Trojans again face the Utes at a critical point in their season. They suffered their first loss of the season to the Cougars on the road two weeks ago, and now must win out to get a whiff at the College Football Playoff facing a stiff test in Utah this weekend. For Darnold, Utah is the only school he has unfinished business with from last year as they represent just one of two losses he’s suffered in 16 career starts. When he played Utah, the now-redshirt sophomore entered the game as a virtual unknown, benched in favor of Max Browne at the start of the season. Since his first career start at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Darnold has been featured on Sports Illustrated covers and NFL Draft forecasts. With all eyes on him in 2017, the results have been mixed. He’s already tied his total number of interceptions last year (nine) in just six games. “I’d like to beat Utah just because I haven’t before,” Darnold said. “And Coach Whittingham, I have so much respect for him. It’s well-documented that they were my first offer, so I have a lot of respect for the Utah program because of what they’ve built there ever since they entered the Pac-12.”In Darnold’s emotional rematch with the Utes at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, he must go up against a stout front seven and a secondary with a knack for forcing turnovers. The Utes’ defense has allowed the second fewest total touchdowns (nine) and has forced the second most turnovers (five fumbles, nine interceptions) in the Pac-12. Senior linebackers Sunia Tauteoli (7.5 tackles for loss) and Kavika Laufatasaga (26 tackles) both can fly to the football and blow up plays in the backfield. Utah also possesses a dominant defensive line behind tackles Lowell Lotulelei and Filipo Mokofisi. “They load the box,” Helton said. “This is a cover-one football team, cover-three football team. They’re going to put one more down there than you have. They do a tremendous job with their big people up front … Their primary focus is to stop the run and they put their DBs on islands and so far they’ve held up extremely well.”For the Utah offense, Los Angeles native Troy Williams has reclaimed the starting quarterback spot he held last year, after Tyler Huntley went down with an injury two weeks ago. Williams is a dual threat; last year he totaled 20 touchdowns both through the air and on the ground. He will be throwing to wide receiver Darren Carrington II, who leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards (116.8 yards per game, five touchdowns). Likely the most dynamic athlete on Utah’s roster, Carrington joined the team this season after spending the last three years as a standout for Oregon. Upon his dismissal from the program due to a DUI arrest, the San Diego native is making the most of second chance in the Pac-12 South. Clashing with Carrington, Williams and Zack Moss, the Utes’ leading running back, will be a Trojan defense prolific in its own right. In replacing junior linebacker Porter Gustin, sophomore defensive end Christian Rector has emerged as the unit’s primary disrupter. He leads the Pac-12 with 4.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. In addition to the defensive front, USC’s secondary is tied for forcing the most interceptions in the conference with nine. Sophomore cornerback Jack Jones has four interceptions himself over the first half of the season. As Darnold tilts with Utah for the second time in his career, his supporting cast may look different, but the game’s importance remains the same heading into a Pac-12 contest with major Pac-12 South division ramifications. “I think everyone on the team knows what’s going down on Saturday,” Darnold said. “We know implications that the game presents. So far, on film, we’ve seen them bring it. We’re going to be ready, but it definitely will be a battle for sure.”last_img read more