Jun 17
Her eye on the news
Courtroom drama

The judge presiding over Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania, declared a mistrial on Saturday when jurors said they were unable to reach a verdict after deliberating for more than 50 hours. Judge Steven O’Neill made the decision after the jury spent 52 hours over six days and were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Jurors told O’Neill on Saturday morning that they were hopelessly deadlocked. After declaring the mistrial, O’Neill told lawyers for both sides that “a mistrial is neither vindication nor victory for anybody.”

Cosby faced multiples sexual assault charges from a 2004 incident with Andrea Constand in which she accused the comedian of incapacitating her with drugs and then digitally penetrating her without consent. Cosby’s team, however, declared victory for the 79-year-old disgraced comedy legend. “Mr. Cosby’s power is back. It has been restored,” his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, told reporters. Cosby’s wife of 53 years, Camille, also had choice words for the judge and prosecution. “How do I describe the judge?” she said in a written statement. “Overtly arrogant, collaborating with the district attorney.” Of the District Attorney Kevin Steele, Camille Cosby said, he is “heinously and exploitively ambitious.”

Meanwhile, Steele vowed to retry Cosby and is hoping a new trial will be convened within 120 days. He said that Constand “has shown such courage through this, and we are in awe of what she has done. She’s entitled to a verdict in this case.”

Cosby has had similar allegations leveled at him by more than 50 women in incidents stretching back decades. One of his other accusers when the mistrial was declared, NBC News reported. Jewel Allison, a New York City-based poet and former model, has said Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her nearly 30 years ago in his Manhattan apartment. On the steps of the courthouse, she spoke to reporters and expressed disappointment in the outcome, saying that it wasn’t what she expected based on the evidence presented in court. But she suggested that no matter the outcome, Cosby was being punished for his alleged deeds. “He walked out but the bars were all around him,” Allison said. “He’s mobile, but the jail goes with him wherever he goes.”

“I’m praying for his salvation. He can come to my church anytime,” Allison said, and with a chuckle, reportedly added, “We’ll dip him in the water.”

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


Jessica Colotl, a 29-year-old Mexican woman from Georgia whose deportation case has received widespread attention in the media, will be allowed to stay in the United States, a federal judge ruled this week, temporarily protecting her from deportation. Colotl had been brought to the United States by her parents when she was 11 years old and had avoided deportation under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), but saw her protected status revoked under President Trump’s more stringent immigration enforcement last month. Her legal trouble began after she was caught for driving without a license in 2010, and lied about her address to the campus officer who had stopped her. After pleading guilty, she completed community service and a pretrial diversion program, and the felony conviction was dropped from her record. Her DACA status was renewed in 2013 and 2015, but the Department of Homeland Security denied her the renewal last month, citing the felony, even though it did not appear on her record. During a hearing, government lawyers could not provide a valid reason for the denial, so Judge Cohen ordered her DACA protection to be reinstated and the status renewal application to be reconsidered. “Jessica is very excited to see justice prevail in this case,” said Charles Kuck, who represents her and runs the law firm where Colotl currently works as a legal assistant.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


Woman deported to Mexico after attending regular meetings with immigration agents

22-year-old DREAMer arrested by ICE after speaking to press about family’s detention


Ana Brnabic, a U.S.- and U.K.-educated technocrat who heads Serbia’s Public Administration Ministry, is expected to become the first openly gay women in Eastern Europe to be named prime minister after her nomination by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. A relative political neophyte, Brnabic had previously worked for U.S.-backed NGOs and in wind farm development.

According to analysts, Brnabic’s nomination signaled Vucic’s desire to push forward the country’s bid to join the European Union without inciting the wrath of near-neighbor Russia. Some critics have also alleged that Vuvic was planning to use Brnabic to shift power from the premiership to the presidency so that he could control the country from behind the scenes.

In comments made to the press on Thursday, Vucic acknowledged the debate over his choice for the premiership, telling reporters that Vucic had “all the qualities required for the job” and that she would “improve Serbia’s standing both in the West and East” while working to carry out “difficult reforms.”

“Some say I chose a puppet,” Vucic added. “I don’t care what they say. I care what the citizens of Serbia say.”

If Brnabic’s position is confirmed by parliament — a relative certainty due to the Progressive Party’s majority in the assembly — she would have to overhaul the country’s legal system, restructure an economy burdened by hundreds of unprofitable state-owned companies, and lead talks to normalize relations with Kosovo before the country could be considered for E.U. membership. Speaking after her nomination, Brnabic pledged to work “with dedication toward the goal of making Serbia a modern state.”

Complicating matters, however, will be Vuvic’s desire to maintain strong ties with Russia and his pledge to never acknowledge Kosovo’s independence. Nearby Balkan neighbors have also accused Serbia of supporting pro-Russian forces in an attempt to prevent them from joining the E.U.

Read the full story at Bloomberg.


Meet France’s unconventional new first lady, Brigitte Trogneux

Kate Brown elected as first openly LGBT governor in U.S. history

Former environment minister Yuriko Koike becomes Tokyo’s first woman governor

‘No more pain’

Twenty-year-old Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Friday when a Massachusetts judge ruled that she had incited her boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, to commit suicide through a series of persuasive text messages. On July 13, 2014, Roy had been found dead inside his pickup truck after he flooded it with carbon monoxide using a gas-powered water pump.

According to Roy’s family, the high schooler had suffered from depression and had previously attempted suicide before. According to court documents, Carter had initially tried to encourage Roy not to kill himself. Just weeks before Roy’s suicide, he had texted Carter to suggest that they could “be like Romeo and Juliet at the end.”

“F— No!” she wrote back. “WE ARE NOT DYING.”

Soon, however, Carter’s tone started to change.

“So I guess you aren’t gonna do it then, all that for nothing … I’m just confused like you were so ready and determined,” Carted texted Roy, a day before he was found dead.

“I am gonna eventually,” Roy responded. “I really don’t know what I’m waiting for … but I have everything lined up.”

“No, you’re not, Conrad. Last night was it. You keep pushing it off and you say you’ll do it but u never do. Its always gonna be that way if u don’t take action,” Carter replied. “You’re just making it harder on yourself by pushing it off, you just have to do it. If u don’t do it now you’re never gonna do it.”

“You’re finally going to be happy in heaven,” wrote Carter in another message. “No more pain. It’s ok to be scared and it’s normal. I mean, you’re about to die.”

Roy and Carter first met in 2011, and later started a romantic relationship that her attorney said had mostly consisted of online conversations and text messages. Over the course of two years leading up to Roy’s death, the attorney said, the couple had only met a few times in person. Carter, who was tried in a juvenile court because she was 17 at the time of Roy’s death, could face up to 20 years in prison.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


Oxford University student who sent ‘sorry for raping you’ text walks free

14-year-old who streamed her suicide on Facebook suffered years of sexual and physical abuse

Jim Carrey facing wrongful death suit over ex-girlfriend’s suicide

Common sense

Nearly 80 percent of people in Northern Ireland want to see exceptions made to the country’s strict anti-abortion laws in cases of rape and incest, according to the latest Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey. Some 73 percent of respondents also said that abortion should be legal in cases of fetal abnormalities that would cause a baby to be born dead or to die shortly after birth.

“Abortion is a health care and human rights issue. It is high time the law was changed with the overwhelming wishes of the public,” said Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s campaign manager in Northern Ireland. “Then women would no longer have to travel to England for an abortion and they and their medical carers would no longer be treated as potential criminals.”

As a result of Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion policies, thousands of women and girls travel to private clinics in Britain in order to obtain the procedure. On Wednesday, the U.K.’s Supreme Court ruled that a 20-year-old woman who traveled from Northern Ireland with her mother did not have the right to obtain a free abortion in English NHS hospitals. A number of women are also being prosecuted for using pro-choice charities to obtain abortion pills over the internet — including a mother who obtained abortion pills for her then underage daughter. Just last year, a 21-year-old was issued a suspended prison sentence for buying abortion pills after she was reported by her roommates.

Previous attempts to bring about abortion reform in Northern Ireland have been thwarted in part because of the fiercely anti-abortion Democratic Unionist party, the same party that British Prime Minister Theresa May is now courting in an effort to form a majority coalition government.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


Women around the U.S. dress as ‘handmaids’ in protest of abortion bill

Christian group protests outside North Carolina clinic, calls abortion ‘a man’s issue’

Controversial website seeks to guide women through self-induced abortions