06-21-2018  8:34 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Fire forces evacuation of some residents in Jefferson County

CULVER, Ore. (AP) — Authorities in Jefferson County have told residents in the Three Rivers community to leave immediately as winds whipped a fire burning in central Oregon.Sheriff Jim Adkins issued an evacuation order Thursday night for the private development near Lake Billy Chinook. The...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...

Infant found at Seattle encampment in protective custody

SEATTLE (AP) — A 5-month-old infant found at a Seattle homeless encampment is in protective custody as police investigate child neglect.Seattle Police said Thursday on its blog that the child was removed in late May from an unsanctioned homeless encampment where people were reportedly using...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Intel CEO out after consensual relationship with employee

NEW YORK (AP) — Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the company learned of what it called a past, consensual relationship with an employee.Intel said Thursday that the relationship was in violation of the company's non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers. Spokesman...

3 men face hate crimes charges in Minnesota mosque bombing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury added federal civil rights and hate crimes violations to the charges three Illinois men face in the bombing of a mosque in suburban Minneapolis, prosecutors announced Thursday.The new five-count indictment names Michael Hari, 47, Michael McWhorter, 29, and Joe...

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...

ENTERTAINMENT

Koko the gorilla used smarts, empathy to help change views

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to pet cats helped change the world's views about the intelligence of animals and their capacity for empathy, has died at 46.Koko was taught sign language from an early age as a scientific...

Directors Guild says industry is still mostly white and male

NEW YORK (AP) — A new study by the Directors Guild of America finds that despite high-profile releases like "Get Out" and "Wonder Woman," film directors remained overwhelmingly white and male among the movies released last year.The DGA examined all 651 feature films released theatrically in...

Demi Lovato sings about addiction struggles on 'Sober'

NEW YORK (AP) — Demi Lovato celebrated six years of sobriety in March, but her new song indicates she may no longer be sober.The pop star released "Sober " on YouTube on Thursday, singing lyrics like: "Momma, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore/And daddy please forgive me for the drinks...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

No. 1 Sun: Phoenix takes Ayton; Trae Young, Doncic swapped

NEW YORK (AP) — The Phoenix Suns stayed close to home for their first No. 1 pick. The Dallas Mavericks...

Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

NEW YORK (AP) — Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and...

ABC orders 'Roseanne' spinoff for fall minus Roseanne Barr

LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC, which canceled its "Roseanne" revival over its star's racist tweet, said Thursday...

Merkel pledges 0 million loan for troubled Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday promised a 0 million loan to troubled...

Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Eurozone nations agreed on the final elements of a plan to get Greece out of its...

Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States attacked first, imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from around the...

This June 18, 2015, file photo, provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows Dylann Roof. A judge ruled Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, that Roof is competent to stand trial for the killing of nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
MEG KINNARD and JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a church was allowed Monday to act as his own attorney, opening the door to courtroom spectacles at his death penalty trial, including Dylann Roof questioning survivors of the attack and relatives of the dead.

Roof's decision to represent himself comes months after he offered to plead guilty in exchange for the promise of life in prison. But federal prosecutors have refused to take the death penalty off the table in the slayings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Until now, Roof has been represented by one of the nation's most respected capital defenders.

He joins a long line of high-profile defendants who acted as their own attorneys, often with poor results. Serial killer Ted Bundy, Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammed and Army Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, ended up with death sentences.

After firing their lawyers, Long Island Rail Road shooter Colin Ferguson was sentenced to 200 years in prison, and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was sent away for life.

Defendants who act as their own lawyers generally want to bring attention to their causes and publicize their actions. That almost always runs counter to the advice of lawyers, who urge them not to incriminate themselves.

"They think they have a message and that's unfortunately what leads to these crimes in the first place," said New York attorney Tiffany Frigenti, author of an article called "Flying Solo Without a License: The Right of Pro Se Defendants to Crash and Burn" for her law school journal.

Pro se representation can also lead to uncomfortable courtroom encounters between defendants and their victims or those victims' families if they are questioned by the very person who is accused of shattering their lives.

"It can seem beneficial. Nobody believes in your cause and case more than you," Frigenti said. "But it only works that way in very rare cases — usually appeals."

With Roof acting in his own defense, there is plentiful opportunity for explosive or awkward courtroom moments. Just hours after his arrest, some of the victims' relatives attended Roof's initial court appearance and said they forgave him and would pray for him. If he continues as his own lawyer, Roof could end up questioning those same family members in court.

In approving Roof's request to act as his own lawyer, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel also appointed his defense team to stay on as standby counsel, available for advice and assistance throughout the trial. That team includes celebrated death penalty attorney David Bruck, who slid down one seat and let Roof take the lead chair after the judge's order Monday.

Known as a hard-charging lawyer with deep opposition to the death penalty, Bruck's record is mixed. He kept Susan Smith off South Carolina's death row for sending her car into a lake with her two children strapped inside, but he could not keep a federal jury from sentencing Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death last year.

Roof's motion came the same day jury selection resumed in the case, a process halted Nov. 7 after lawyers for Roof questioned his ability to understand the case against him. After a hasty two-day competency hearing, Gergel last week ruled that Roof was competent to stand trial.

Roof has also been found competent in state court, where prosecutors plan a second death-penalty trial on nine counts of murder.

During the juror qualification, Roof sat at the defense table occasionally conferring with Bruck. He registered few objections to jurors, agreeing with Gergel about a man's statements that the crime being in a church made it more worrisome to him and also saying a woman's death penalty views made her a good juror. Otherwise, Roof sat in his chair, sometimes looking at papers spread out before him.

Beginning Monday, 20 potential jurors per day are reporting to the courthouse for individual questioning by the judge. When 70 qualified jurors are picked, attorneys can use strikes to dismiss those they don't want, until 12 jurors and six alternates are seated.

According to police, Roof sat through nearly an hour of prayer and Bible study at the church with its pastor and 11 others before pulling a gun from his fanny pack and firing dozens of shots.

Roof shouted racial insults at the six women and three men he is charged with killing and at the survivors, authorities said. He said he left three people unharmed so they could tell the world the shootings were because he hated black people.

___

Collins reported from Columbia.

Reach Kinnard at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP and Collins at http://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP . Read more of their work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/ and http://bigstory.ap.org/content/jeffrey-collins/ .

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