Recall of judge in Brock Turner case stirs courtroom concern
By PAUL ELIAS
Wednesday, June 6
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The leader of the successful recall of a Northern California judge for an unpopular sexual assault sentence warned that the results show women’s rights and the #MeToo movement are now a potent political force that politicians ignore at their own peril.
“The broader message of this victory is that violence against women is now a voting issue,” said Stanford University law professor Michele Dauber, who launched the recall effort against Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky.
The judge sent former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to jail, not to prison. Critics said the six-month sentence was too lenient.
But opponents of the recall warned that Tuesday’s lopsided result — Persky lost by 20 points — is also a powerful political force where it shouldn’t be: the courtroom.
“This sets a dangerous precedent for state court judges in California and perhaps beyond,” said LaDoris Cordell, a retired Santa Clara County judge who supported Persky’s campaign against the recall.
Cordell was among a number of law school professors and retired judges who fear that judges may now take public perception into account more than they should when handling high-profile and sensitive cases.
The recall effort started in June 2016 shortly after Persky sentenced Turner to six months in jail. Prosecutors had wanted a lengthy prison sentence for Turner in the sexual assault of a young woman incapacitated by alcohol.
They noted that Persky was removed from office for delivering a lawful sentence that Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen declined to appeal. California’s Commission on Judicial Performance ruled that the sentencing was done correctly. Now, they fear, other judges in elected positions will be reticent to issue unpopular but lawful rulings.
“Subjecting judges to recall when they follow the law and do something unpopular undermines judicial independence,” Rosen said in a statement. “When judges believe that they will lose their careers for making unpopular but lawful decisions, they may lack the courage to stand up for the rights of minorities or others needing protection from powerful majorities or those with even understandably inflamed passions.”
A widely cited 2015 study of elected state judges in Pennsylvania and Washington by New York University’s law school concluded that judges are influenced by election cycles. The study found judges issued longer sentences for serious felony conviction when they were close to re-election.
“It’s very concerning if the recall become a normal tool for removing judges,” NYU law school professor Alicia Bannon said. “Following the law isn’t necessary popular and judges need some form of insulation from public perception.”
Persky declined comment Tuesday night and didn’t return phone calls from The Associated Press on Wednesday.
In an interview with AP last month, Persky said his recall threatened judicial independence.
“To get justice from a judge, they need someone who follows the rules. The basic rule is the rule of law,” he said. “The problem with this recall is it will pressure judges to follow the rule of public opinion as opposed to the rule of law.”
But Persky adopted a recommendation from the county probation department and cited Turner’s clean criminal record, age, loss of his Stanford swimming career and other factors, including the involvement of alcohol, for the short jail sentence.
Dauber said opponents’ position takes a “dim view of judicial integrity” and that she has faith judges will continue to exercise their independence regardless of the outcome. She noted that recall elections are rare.
The recall was the first of a California judge in more than 80 years. The last judge recalled in the United States occurred in Wisconsin in 1977.
For his part, Turner has to register as a sex offender for life. He lives with his parents near Dayton, Ohio.
State agencies encourage Ohioans to recognize warning signs of elder abuse and know how to report it
June 15, 2018, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Columbus, Ohio – Because older adults are the fastest-growing segment of Ohio’s population, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services ask all Ohioans to learn the warning signs of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation and know how to report it if they suspect that an older loved one or neighbor might be a target. June 15, 2018, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
“From 2015 to 2040, Ohio’s overall population is expected to grow by just two percent, while our 60-plus population will grow by 40 percent,” said Beverley Laubert, interim director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “While we work every day to empower elders to remain independent and vital, we also know that they are often the targets of abuse. We are committed to empowering individuals, families and communities so that no elder is victimized again.”
“Elder abuse is an insidious but preventable problem,” said Cynthia C. Dungey, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. “It spans socioeconomic class, race and gender. The more we spread the word about how to recognize and report it, the easier it will be to stop it from occurring and to make sure our older friends and family members get the help they need.”
The agencies want all Ohioans to know who they can turn to if they feel that they or their loved ones might be victims of abuse or exploitation.
If you feel that someone is in immediate danger of harm, call local law enforcement immediately.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services supervises the state’s Adult Protective Services program, which helps vulnerable adults age 60 and older who are in danger of harm, are unable to protect themselves and may have no one to assist them. County departments of job and family services receive and investigate reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation and evaluate the need for protective services. To report suspected abuse, call the statewide, toll-free help line at 1-855-644-6277 (1-855-OHIO-APS).
The Ohio Department of Aging is home to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which advocates for people receiving home care, assisted living and nursing home care. Paid and volunteer staff work to resolve complaints about services, help people select a provider and offer information about benefits and consumer rights. To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility or by staff of a home care agency, call the State Ombudsman’s Office toll-free at 1-800-282-1206.
In addition, area agencies on aging around the state can connect elders to community-based services and supports to maintain or increase their independence and help prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation. Call toll-free 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the area agency on aging serving your community.
Learn more about elder abuse at www.aging.ohio.gov/elderabuse.
What types of things are considered abuse?
• Neglect occurs when an individual’s basic needs for safety and well-being (such as medical care, adequate nutrition, socialization) are not being met. This can be through the action or inaction of the individual or another person.
• Exploitation is the unlawful or improper use of another person’s resources for monetary or personal benefit, profit or gain. People who exploit older adults can range from total strangers to trusted friends and family members.
• Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that results in injury, pain or impairment. It includes pushing, hitting, slapping, pinching and other ways of physically harming a person. In care settings, it can also include placing an individual in incorrect positions, force feeding, restraining or giving medication without the person’s knowledge.
• Emotional abuse occurs when a person is threatened, humiliated, intimidated or otherwise psychologically hurt. It includes the violation of an adult’s right to make decisions and the loss of his or her privacy.
• Sexual abuse includes rape or other unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact. It also can mean forced or coerced nudity, exhibitionism and other non-touching sexual situations.
Warning signs of potential elder abuse, neglect or exploitation:
· Bruises, cuts or other signs of physical harm;
· Sudden behavioral changes, such as becoming less social;
· A caregiver who refuses to allow visitors to see the adult alone;
· Hazardous or unsanitary living conditions;
· Dehydration, malnutrition or poor personal hygiene;
· Previously uninvolved relatives showing sudden interest in the adult’s rights, affairs and possessions;
· Unexplained, sudden transfers of assets or finances to an individual;
· Unexplained disappearances of funds or valuable possessions;
· Abrupt changes in a will, financial documents, bank accounts or banking practice; and
· Over- or under-utilization of prescribed medications or missing medications.
The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services manages vital programs that strengthen Ohio families. These include job training and employment services, unemployment insurance, cash and food assistance, child care, child and adult protective services, adoption, and child support services.
NSA Names Cedarville U. a “National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations”
June 7, 2018
CEDARVILLE, OHIO – The National Security Agency (NSA) has named Cedarville University a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations. The NSA will make an official announcement at a ceremony June 6 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Only 20 universities and institutions of higher learning currently hold this designation, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Postgraduate School, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Texas A&M University. Cedarville University is the fourth institution from the Dayton region named as a National Center of Academic Excellence, joining the Air Force Institute of Technology, Clark State Community College, and Sinclair Community College. Ohio State University, Terra State Community College, and the University of Cincinnati are the other Ohio institutions.
Cedarville’s cybersecurity program underwent and successfully passed an onsite review by an NSA team to determine if it met the CAE-Cyber Operations program criteria. Criteria included meeting 20 academic content categories, such as assembly language programming, software reverse engineering, computer networking, cyber defense, and the legal and ethical aspects of cyber; an extensive curriculum review to determine if cyber operations was part of a technically deep computer science program; and assessment of whether cyber operations is taught across academic disciplines such as engineering and information technology.
This prestigious designation now allows Cedarville University to provide its cybersecurity students more career and professional options and will provide more funding streams for Cedarville to grow its cyber program.
“This is a game-changer for our cyber program,” noted Seth Hamman, associate professor of computer science. “This is like an accreditation — an objective, outside stamp of approval on a program. This gives us credibility when we say we do cyber here — it is powerful.
“It includes us in a small, tight-knit community that is the who’s who of cybersecurity education. This is also a victory for our region because it helps make the case that the Cincinnati-Dayton cyber corridor is a nationwide hub of cyber activity.”
According to a letter from NSA, the agency views Centers for Academic Excellence as the training ground for “the future workforce that will possess the knowledge and skills related to specialized intelligence, military and law-enforcement operations.” According to the letter, NSA recognized Cedarville’s Bachelor of Science in computer science with a specialization in cyber operations as fulfilling its exacting standards.
In reflecting on the CAE designation, Hamman acknowledged the significance of three professors who built Cedarville’s computer science program: Dr. Dave Gallagher and Dr. Keith Shomper, professors of computer science, and Professor Robert Schumacher, associate professor emeritus of mathematics.
“They are all retired Air Force and spent time teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Air Force’s graduate school [the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base],” he said. “These men not only brought an incredible amount of expertise with them to Cedarville when they built our program, but also connections that strengthened our program and have provided amazing opportunities for our students, especially in the areas of cybersecurity.”
With trustee approval May 4, Cedarville also launched the Center for the Advancement of Cybersecurity. Hamman will serve as it’s inaugural director. The Center will work to develop cyber leaders in the classroom, shape the future of cyber education among institutions of higher learning, and promote cyber awareness in society.
“We constantly cultivate in our students Christ-centered morals — knowing right from wrong, standing for justice and a willingness to sacrifice personally for the greater good,” he said. “Our students have clarity, conviction, and character — all vitally important attributes for creating a secure cyberspace. That’s the vision.”
In addition to its recognized program in cyber operations, Cedarville offers a Bachelor of Science in computer science degree as well, where students prepare for careers in software engineering and web and mobile development. Beginning in the fall, Cedarville’s M.B.A. program will offer a concentration in cybersecurity. This new program will develop professionals who can proactively protect their businesses, organizations and ministries online and safeguard customer and supporter personal and financial information. For more information, visit cedarville.edu/mba.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.
Worn Tires Put Drivers at Risk
COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 7, 2018) – Afternoon downpours could spell disaster for millions of summer road trippers. New AAA research reveals driving on relatively worn tires at highway speeds in wet conditions can increase average stopping distances 43 percent, or an additional 87 feet – more than the length of a semi-truck trailer – when compared to new tires. AAA urges drivers to check tread depth regularly, replace tires proactively, and increase following distances on wet roads.
“Tires are what keep a car connected to the road,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Even the most advanced safety systems rely on a tire’s basic ability to maintain traction, and AAA’s testing shows that wear has a significant impact on how quickly a vehicle can come to a stop in wet conditions to avoid a crash.”
In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA conducted testing to understand performance differences on wet pavement at highway speeds between new all-season tires and those worn to a tread depth of 4/32”.
The research found that compared to new tires, those worn to a tread depth of just 4/32” exhibit:
• An average increased stopping distance of 87 feet for a passenger car and 86 feet for a light truck.
• An average reduction in handling ability of 33 percent for a passenger car and 28 percent for the light truck.
In addition, while tire performance does vary by brand, price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. In fact, tire performance deteriorated for all tires tested as they became worn.
“AAA’s testing demonstrates the impact the tire tread has on safety,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “If tested side-by-side at 60 mph, vehicles with worn tires would still be traveling at an alarming 40 mph when reaching the same distance it takes for vehicles with new tires to make a complete stop.”
Preventing Wet Weather Crashes:
In wet conditions, tires can completely lose contact with the road and skid, or hydroplane. Nearly 800,000 crashes occur on wet roads every year across the U.S. Last year, in Ohio, more than 35,000 crashes happened in the rain, according to Ohio Department of Public Safety Crash Statistics.
Industry guidelines and Ohio law require drivers to replace tires when tread depth reaches 2/32”. This jeopardizes a driver’s safety, since the lower the tread depth, the more likely a car will hydroplane. To improve safety, AAA recommends drivers:
• Keep tires properly inflated and rotate them on a regular basis.
• Check tread depth once a month by placing a quarter upside down in the tire tread: If you can see the top of Washington’s head, replace the tires. This indicates the tread depth is below 4/32”.
• On wet roads, never use cruise control, avoid hard braking, reduce speed and increase following distance.
For additional information, including a full report and fact sheet, visit Newsroom.AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.