Prosecutors Rest in Salvi Case; Defense Tries to Show Evidence of Schizophrenia
On Tuesday, prosecutors rested their case in the murder trial of John Salvi, accused of murdering two women in an attack on two abortion clinics in Brookline, Mass. They concluded their case with graphic testimony from Dr. Richard Evans, the chief Massachusetts medical examiner, describing the damage to the bodies of Lee Ann Nichols, shot 10 times, and Shannon Lowney, shot twice. The jury was prevented from seeing part of a videotape showing Lowney’s body shortly after the shooting.
The defense opened its case with the testimony of Harvard University psychiatrist Dr. Donald Goff, an expert on schizophrenia who described the disease’s symptoms. Dr. Goff has not examined Salvi. Defense lawyers say Salvi was insane at the time he committed the crimes, and they are expected to bring in half-a-dozen mental health workers. Prosecutors will rebut with state psychiatrists testifying that Salvi is sane by legal standards.
If convicted, Salvi would face a mandatory life sentence in prison. An acquittal by reason of insanity would confine him to a mental hospital, but he could be released if authorities later conclude he is sane.
Media Resources: The Nando Times and Associated Press - February 28, 1996; Reuters - February 28, 1996; USA Today - February 27, 1996]
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. . . .