National: Ohio Veterans Group to Honor Black Soldiers; Laura Bush and Michelle Obama Meet; The High Court Upholds “Victims’-Impact” EvidenceNovember 11th, 2008
Ohio Veterans group to honor Black soldiers. The Dayton African American Legacy Institute will for the first time honor Black soldiers at an Armistice Day memorial program. The program honors local Blacks who died while serving their country, reports The Dayton Daily News. “Each year, I see celebrations for our veterans, but I never see observances for the Black soldiers who sacrificed for us,” said Bill C. Littlejohn, Dayton Municipal Court Judge and board president of the institute. “African-Americans fought in every war from the Revolution to the present day. The group recognizes that for decades Black soldiers returning from war were ostracized. “We want to honor their heroism and their perseverance,” Littlejohn said. The group will hold a reception and program this evening called “African-American Veterans: A History of Service and Sacrifice.” They will present medals they received from the government posthumously to families of deceased veterans and to living veterans, Littlejohn said. .
Laura Bush and Michelle Obama meet. First lady Laura Bush shared some tips with Michelle Obama on how to survive in the White House – particularly with young daughters, according to Reuters. As she gave Michelle Obama a tour of the mansion that will soon be her home. “It was a bit of a momentous day,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on a flight from Washington to Chicago about the Obamas visit to the White House Monday, less than one week after Barack Obama won a historic election to succeed President George W. Bush. “I don’t know that I would characterize him as awestruck.” Read the rest here.
The High Court upholds “victims’-impact” evidence. By a slight majority the Supreme Court said on Monday that the lives of the victim can be weighed as evidence in determining the fate of the accusers. The justices turned down appeals from two Los Angeles convicted murderers who said it was unfair that videotapes of the victims’ lives were played for jurors before they decided the killers should die. Defense lawyers had argued that this “cinematic evidence . . . designed to play on the jury’s emotions” should be excluded from a sentencing hearing in a capital case. In the first case, the justices rejected an appeal from Douglas Kelly, who was sentenced to death for the 1993 rape, robbery and murder of Sara Weir. She was found dead in a North Hollywood apartment after being stabbed 29 times. The justices turned down a similar appeal from Samuel Zamudio, who was convicted in 1997 of murdering an elderly couple in South Gate. In both cases, video of the victims were played for their jurors. However, Stevens wrote, “the videos added nothing relevant to the jury’s deliberations.” Justices David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer agreed the court should take up the issue, but it takes four votes in the high court to grant an appeal.