Case Against Kopp Accomplices to Move to Different Court
Federal charges against anti-abortion extremists Loretta Marra and Dennis Malvasi were dropped in Buffalo on Friday by District Judge Richard Arcarra, clearing the way for the trial to be moved to a federal court in New York City, according to Buffalo News. The couple admitted to helping James Charles Kopp avoid capture when he was wanted for the 1998 murder of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian. They have been charged with obstruction of justice and aiding a fugitive, charges that carry a maximum sentence of ten years, according to the Associated Press.
Judge Arcarra refused on two occasions to accept a plea deal that would give Marra and Malvasi greatly reduced sentences agreed to by the defendants’ lawyers and US District Attorney Kathleen Mehltretter, who claimed that information that would damage the case against Kopp could be revealed at the Marra/Malvasi trial. Though Arcarra is skeptical of such a claim, he stated in his decision to dismiss the charges that if he had refused, federal prosecutors could have simply decided not to pursue the case against the couple, according to the Buffalo News. Arcarra accused the US Attorney’s office of “judge-shopping” and believes that when the charges are brought before another court, the plea deal he rejected will be “rubber-stamp[ed]” for approval, according to the Buffalo News.
Malvasi, who has been convicted in the bombings of three reproductive health clinics as well as the attempted bombing of a fourth clinic, has already served five years in prison. Marra, was twice arrested with Kopp during anti-abortion protests in Vermont and New York in the early 1990s. Kopp, who was at one time on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, is not only facing charges in the murder of Dr. Slepian, but also has been indicted for the 1995 shooting of Ontario abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short and is the primary suspect in three separate shootings of abortion providers in Canada and New York.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .