Milwaukee prosecutors this week filed a rape charge against an assailant whose identity is known only by his DNA, a new tactic that prosecutors hope will allow rape cases to be prosecuted after their 6-year statute of limitations has passed. In this case, DNA samples taken from three rape victims showed that they were all raped by a single man, whose identity is known only by a string of DNA code. By filing the warrant now, prosecutors buy time to discover the identity of the attacker even after the statute of limitations has passed. Each month, an FBI computer will compare the DNA codes on this and other warrants with the DNA collected from suspected and convicted criminals around the country.
The problem with DNA evidence, like other evidence in rape cases, is that crime units do not have the resources to process it. According to the New York Times, 180,000 rape kits containing various forms of physical evidence remain unexamined in the US.
Media Resources: New York Times and Nando Times - October 7, 1999
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .