Friday, June 17, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...6-18-'11
- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is at odds with Kentucky politicians over a trial for two accused terror suspects in Kentucky. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued Friday to put pressure on the Obama administration, meeting with local officials in Kentucky and pressing his call for Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, two Iraqis arrested in Bowling Green on terrorism charges, to be sent to Guantanamo Bay and face a military trial. Governor Steve Beshear, Senator Rand Paul, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Representative Hal Rogers and Senate President David Williams agree with the move. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a speech Thursday that he “sharply criticizes” some in Congress who claim that utilizing our civilian court system would somehow jeapordize public safety. U.S. Attorney David J. Hale, the top federal prosecutor for the western half of Kentucky, tried Friday to defuse public fear. Hale said the investigation that netted the suspects "dismantled a potential terrorist threat. It did not create one." Hale said hundreds of people have been convicted of terrorism-related offenses in civilian courts. McConnell conceded that the decision on where to try the suspects rests with Holder. But, he said the attorney general was wrong in lumping the Kentucky case with hundreds of other terror cases. The Kentucky Republican asserted "there is no other case" like the one in Kentucky. McConnell says, "This is the only case in which alleged foreign terrorists have gotten into the United States as a result of a mistake made by the United States government and then are being given the protections of the Bill of Rights by a very bad decision on the part of the attorney general."
- Twenty-two year old Miranda Wallace of Pulaski County was flown to UK Hospital Thursday night after police say she was dragged by her own vehicle, then trapped underneath it. Police say Wallace was driving on HWY 80 when her Chevy Blazer ran out of gas, Wallace pulled over and got out to wait for help. Suddenly, the SUV began to roll, and Wallace was dragged underneath while trying to stop it.
- The state has been selling off property to generate cash, and the latest sale is a 2.1 acre parcel sold for the appraised value of $78,750 to Franklin County. In the last year and a half, the state has sold about 12 properties and right-of-way easements for a total of $7.45 million in surplus land. The parcel purchased by Franklin County will be used as a staging area for the construction of a new downtown courthouse.
- The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that teachers have some limited discretion in what they consider reportable child abuse. The recent decision stems from a 2006 case filed against Dianne Turner, a now retired kindergarten teacher who taught for decades in the Fayette County Public Schools. Turner was a teacher at Southern Elementary when a parent alleged she neglected to report a child abuse incident involving her 5-year-old daughter and another 5-year-old girl. The parent contended that encounters between the two girls amounted to sexual abuse. The school district defended Turner's decision not to report the incident, and an investigation indicated that abuse had not taken place. Dana Collins, an attorney who represented the the Fayette County Public Schools, said because teachers and other school professional have some discretion, they are entitled to immunity from prosecution. The parent's case was initially dismissed in the Fayette County Circuit Court but was ultimately upheld on appeal before the Kentucky Supreme Court. The ruling makes clear that teachers and other school personnel don't have to report every incident between children including, for example, a kid pushing another kid while waiting in a lunch line
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