Loretta Marra and Dennis Malvasi, a Brooklyn couple accused of aiding James Kopp, confessed assassin of Dr Barnett Slepian, appeared in court for a detention hearing on Friday. Marra and Malvasi admitted to helping Kopp avoid capture when he was wanted for the 1998 murder of abortion provider Dr. Slepian. They have been charged with obstruction of justice and aiding a fugitive, charges that carry a maximum sentence of ten years.
After a plea deal agreed upon by US Attorney Kathy Mehltretter and Marra’s and Malvasi’s lawyers was rejected twice by Buffalo district judge Richard Arcara, the case was moved to a court in New York City, where it was expected that the plea deal would be again on the table. 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. It is unclear at this time how Kopp’s recent admission of guilt in the murder of Dr. Slepian will affect the trial of his accomplices. “With Kopp’s confession,” stated Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation president, “Marra and Malvasi certainly should not now receive a plea deal from the federal authorities and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to help shut down this terrorist network.”
At the hearing, Bruce Barket, lawyer for Marra as well as Kopp, argued that Marra should be released from jail as her family could post collateral of up to $1 million that would ensure her from flight, but also because she claims she wants to be with her two children. However, Mehltretter told the court that both Marra and Malvasi are flight risks and should be further detained, to which Judge Roanna Mann agreed. Upon entering the courtroom, Marra mouthed to family members present, “We’re screwed.” Marra also hurled an insult at Mehltretter before US Marshals escorted her out of the courtroom.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation 11/20/02; New York Daily News 11/23/02
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. . . .