DNA Proves Michigan Man Did Not Rape/Murder—17 Years Too Late
Eddie Joe Lloyd walked out of a Michigan prison a free man last week after spending 17 years behind bars for a rape and murder that DNA tests prove he did not commit. “To wake up in prison today and walk out this afternoon into the outside world is truly a miracle,” Lloyd exclaimed after his release. After a 30-minute deliberation in 1985, a jury convicted Lloyd of raping and strangling 16-year-old Michelle Jackson. Lloyd was a patient in the Detroit Psychiatric Institute at the time of the murder, and maintains that police coaxed him into confessing.
In 1995, Lloyd contacted the Innocence Project, a New York-based DNA advocacy group, and with their help was exonerated after semen samples taken from the crime scene proved he couldn’t have been the killer. Lloyd is the 110th convicted person to be exonerated using DNA testing through the Innocence Project. Although DNA evidence is one of law enforcement’s most valuable tools for catching criminals, agencies around the country are failing to quickly and adequately process DNA samples, including rape kits. In fact, it is estimated that there is a backlog of nearly 600,000 DNA samples waiting to be tested and uploaded into the FBI’s national database. In an effort to force agencies to handle DNA samples properly, the Senate Judiciary Committee recently passed the DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2002.
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. . . .