12-05-2020  1:14 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
MLK Breakfast 2021 Save the Date
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NORTHWEST NEWS

House Passes Historic Cannabis Reform Legislation

The MORE Act would end the failed federal cannabis prohibition and ensure restorative justice

Black Mental Health Oregon Offers Free Computers, Internet Access

Organization wants to help elderly and those with mental illness stay connected

Black Restaurant Owners Keep Doors Open, Often at Great Loss

Blumenauer’s RESTAURANT Act could prove a lifeline -- if it makes it through Senate 

Merkley, Clay Propose Constitutional Amendment to Close Slavery Loophole in 13th Amendment

Indisputably racist exception permitting slavery as punishment for crime has fueled systemic racism in criminal justice for 150 years

NEWS BRIEFS

Commissioner Fritz Directs Portland Parks & Rec to Remove the Name 'Custer Park'

The park at SW 21st Avenue and Capitol Hill Road will temporarily be known as “A Park” as PP&R engages with the community to...

Oregonians May Qualify for Help Paying for Health Insurance

The deadline to apply for coverage is Tuesday, December 15. ...

Additional Food Benefits To Be Distributed in December

The Oregon Department of Human Service will issue emergency supplemental allotments to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program...

Multnomah County Opens Applications for Restaurant and Food Cart COVID-19 Relief Grants

Caterers, B&Bs and benevolent groups can also apply; application deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 15 ...

OHS Shares Update on Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt Conservation Efforts

The historical quilt was damaged during a vandalism incident at the Oregon Historical Society’s downtown facility last month ...

Anti-mask doctor's medical license suspended

DALLAS, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Medical Board has suspended the license of a doctor who said he refuses to wear a mask in his clinic west of Salem and encouraged others to not wear masks. Dr. Steven LaTulippe told a pro-Trump rally in November that he and his staff do not wear masks while...

Oregon reaches new record of daily COVID-19 cases

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — As Oregon reached a new record number for reported daily COVID-19 cases and deaths Friday, lawmakers, advocates and others called on Gov. Kate Brown to declare a special legislative session. The Oregon Health Authority reported 2,176 new COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths. The...

Coach when Kansas football player died fired in Missouri

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Southern State has dismissed coach Jeff Sims, who was coach at Garden City (Kansas) Community College in 2018 when a 19-year-old football player died of heat stroke. Athletic director Jared Bruggeman announced Sims' firing on Wednesday but did not give a reason....

Missouri takes on ex-coach Odom, Arkansas in rivalry game

Missouri quarterback Conor Bazelak should have a pretty good idea how to dissect the Arkansas defense on Saturday.His old coach is the one running it.Barry Odom didn't wander far after he was fired by as the head coach of the Tigers late last year, accepting a job as the defensive coordinator under...

OPINION

All Eyes on Georgia

Senate control is crucial for the nation ...

Thanksgiving 2020: Grateful for New Hope and New Direction in Our Nation

This hasn’t been a normal year, and it isn’t going to be a normal Thanksgiving. ...

No Time to Rest

After four years under a Trump administration, we see there is a lot of work to be done. ...

Could America Learn a COVID-19 Lesson from Rwanda?

As of October 28, in a country of just over twelve million people, they have experienced only 35 deaths from the coronavirus ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Biden weighs pick for agriculture chief from diverse slate

WASHINGTON (AP) — One leading candidate for agriculture secretary hails from Cleveland, has the backing of progressives and has worked for years to boost food stamp programs. Another is a former senator from farm-state North Dakota who has championed production agriculture and boasts of a...

Pressure mounts on Biden to make diverse picks for top posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is facing increasing pressure to expand the racial and ideological diversity in his choices for Cabinet and other top jobs. A month and a half before he takes office, he's drawing rebukes from activists who fear he'll fall short on promises to...

Pressure mounts on Biden to make diverse picks for top posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is facing increasing pressure to expand the racial and ideological diversity in his choices for Cabinet and other top jobs. A month and a half before he takes office, he's drawing rebukes from activists who fear he'll fall short on promises to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Scene from 'Elf' comes to life as Buddy meets dad in Boston

BOSTON (AP) — Just like a real-life movie, the story of Buddy the Elf meeting his biological father has come to life, just in time for the holidays.Doug Henning wore a costume like the one actor Will Ferrell’s character wore in “Elf” while meeting his father face to face...

Niece says 'cruel and traitorous' Trump belongs in prison

President Donald Trump’s niece says her uncle is “criminal, cruel and traitorous” and belongs in prison after he leaves the White House.Mary Trump, a psychologist, author and outspoken critic of her estranged relative, rejects the notion that putting a former president on trial...

Daddy Yankee achieves new balance, readies for his comeback

NEW YORK (AP) — A year after a series of concerts in Puerto Rico that ended up being his last because of the pandemic, Daddy Yankee is bringing those performances to YouTube as a Christmas gift to his fans around the globe. “DY2K20,” the digital version of his show “Con...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP Week in Pictures, Global

NOV. 28 - DEC. 4, 2020This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published in the...

Kuwait votes for parliament amid economic, virus challenges

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait began voting Saturday for its National Assembly, the first election since the...

Japan awaits capsule's return with asteroid soil samples

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully released a small capsule on Saturday and sent it...

First Rohingya refugees arrive at isolated Bangladesh island

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Authorities in Bangladesh on Friday sent the first group of more than 1,500...

India's winter of discontent: Farmers rise up against Modi

NEW DELHI (AP) — A chilly breeze whirls through New Delhi in the mornings and the sun is partly obscured by...

Chinese state TV reports 18 coal miners killed by lethal gas

BEIJING (AP) — China's state TV says at least 18 coal miners have been killed by high levels of carbon...

MLK Breakfast 2021 Save the Date
By Rhetta Peoples Special to the NNPA from the Florida Sun

ORLANDO - The American justice system has often been scrutinized for being one-sided or biased when it comes to justice.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, African Americans make-up more than 38 percent  of national prison inmates, who are also predominantly male.  However, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Black people are only approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population.

 A Chief Judge in Central Florida is proof that even national statistics have exceptions.

Often referred to as the "Judge's Judge", Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, is the highly respected African American judge with a lead role in one of the most highly publicized court cases in history. Judge Perry received his Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law and received both his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Masters of Education from Tuskegee University.

 Judge Perry has served as Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court since 2001 and is a member of the Florida Bar, Orange County Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, and Trial Court Budget Commission.  Perry said, "I'm humbled and grateful for the confidence of my fellow judges in re-electing me to this position."

 The irony of his position is significant in the overall view of criminal justice in America because African American men highly populate U.S. prisons and jails.  Specific to the Casey Anthony case, it is rare to see White women being a part of statistics that have been dominated by African American men in what is sure to be one of America's most historical and watched cases.  

 Judge Perry is not only an icon in the African American community but also an inspiration to African American men.  His direct manner and voice has been the subject of commentaries and radio mocks because of his southern accent or lack of what broadcasters may call a "General American Speech", like that of President Barack Obama or General Colin Powell and is typically what mainstream Americans expect to hear from a person of a higher position. 

 However, journalists and talk show hosts neglect the real issues when they focus on the accent.  Dr. Cornel West, Attorney Willie Gary and the late Attorney Johnny Cochran, among others, also spoke with a certain flare of their culture yet, each left footprints in their areas of expertise.

 Judge Perry is set to preside over the trial in which Anthony is charged with first-degree murder charge of her 2-year old daughter Caylee Anthony, who had not been seen for more than a month before she was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, after she admitted to smelling an odor similar to that of a "dead body" in her Casey Anthony's car. 

 Months later, Caylee was found dead only a short distance from the Anthony family home.  The child's death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, even though the cause of death remains undetermined.

 Anthony became a suspect after she neglected to report her daughter missing, exhibited strange behavior, searched numerous times online for chloroform, an ingredient in children's medicine that is potentially hazardous, law enforcement found a mysterious stain in the back of her car that resembles a toddler in the fetal position and she gave authorities a vivid description of "zanny the nanny", a female baby-sitter who she claimed mysteriously disappeared with her daughter.  To date, none of her allegations have turned out to be credible.

 Anthony still maintains her innocence, claiming she was protecting her daughter from people who she claimed threatened to hurt her and her family if she were to report the child missing.

 Defense attorney Jose Baez has filed several motions requesting to dismiss key evidence from the trial, including the infamous stain that appears to resemble a child in the fetal position found in the back of Anthony's car.  Judge Perry ruled the evidence could be admitted into evidence.  Also, Judge Perry denied the request of the defense to exclude the expert opinion testimony of Dr. David Hall, a Botanist who testified that he analyzed fragments of roots from the area in which the victim's body was recovered.  

Recently, Judge Perry denied the defense motion to exclude alleged identification of the chemical composition of human decomposition odor, or testimony relating to air, carpet samples or paper towels tested by Oakridge Laboratories.

 Judge Perry is not only known as a well-respected judge, but also for his days as a prosecutor. His reputation as a sound prosecutor was solidified in what came to be known as the Black Widow trial, in which Judy Buenoano was sentenced to death by electric chair for the 1971 murder of her husband. She was also convicted for the murder of her son and attempted murder of her fiancé in 1983.  She was also believed to be responsible for the 1978 death of her boyfriend in Colorado. 

The Court, under the direction of Judge Perry, kept the location of the selection of the jury unknown until the actual day of jury selection. Currently, the jury is being chosen in Pinellas County, an area located on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida.  Reportedly, there are four African Americans currently in the jury pool. Once the jurors are selected, they will be transported to the Orlando area where they are expected to stay in area hotels for the duration of the trial, which is expected to take up to eight weeks. To date, Judge Perry has dismissed dozens of jurors based on conflicts with the case.  He said, "I do not want to have to do this again," respectfully referring to not having the taxpayers or the court spend time, energy, and money to retry this case. Perry said, "I am not naïve enough to think we'll encounter no one who has heard this case, but the goal is to find people who have not been oversaturated with the media." 

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