Nebraska Judge Declares Mistrial in Rape Case after Language Ban
District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront declared a mistrial yesterday in a Nebraska rape case in which the alleged victim would have been unable to say certain words, including "rape" and "assault". Tory Bowen has accused Pamir Safi with raping her in 2004 when he allegedly knew that she was too intoxicated to give consent. Her trial, which was slated to begin next week, drew national attention after Judge Cheuvront banned several terms, supposedly because they would prejudice the jury. Bowen pledged to do her best to follow the language ban, but refused to sign a statement that she would comply. Both Cheuvront and the Nebraska Supreme Court refused to hear motions challenging the language ban. funny picturesfunny imagesfunny photosfunny animal picturesfunny dog picturesfunny cat picturesfunny gifs
The trial would have been the second against Bowen's alleged attacker. The first, which also included the language ban, was in 2006 and ended in a hung jury. Lawyers for the accused maintain that Cheuvront's language ban was essential to ensuring Safi's rights. Cheuvront made his ruling based on a 35-year-old state law that allows judges to bar terms that risk misleading the jury.
If Bowen fails to obey the language restriction in a courtroom, she could face jail time. She still would not sign the formal statement, saying, "I want the freedom to be able to point to [Safi] in court and say, 'That man raped me,'" according to the Associated Press. Advocates for sexual violence victims are outraged by the judge's decision, saying that it discourages rape victims from bringing their cases to court. It is now up to the county prosecutor whether or not to pursue another trial, reports the Beatrice Daily Sun, a Nebraska local newspaper.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/11/07, 7/12/07; Beatrice Daily Sun 7/12/07
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .