Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Follies

Several stories worth discussing today. First, down the road in Atlanta, and elsewhere around the globe, protests are growing regarding the pending execution of Troy Anthony Davis.

Rallies were held around the globe Thursday as part of a final push to save the life of death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis.

An hour north from where Monday’s scheduled execution is to occur, roughly 200 protesters — including Davis’s mother and sister — gathered at the state Capitol urging Gov. Sonny Perdue to intercede.

Thursday’s event was organized by Amensty International, which coordinated similar rallies in 14 other American cities and across much of Europe.

The European Union issued a statement Wednesday opposing Davis’ execution, saying there is "great risk of miscarriage of justice with irreparable consequences."

As I've noted previously, I'm not sure an execution in the state of Georgia has ever elicited this kind of international scrutiny.

Next, a federal judge in Arizona has ordered an infamous law-and-order sheriff there to run a constitutional jail.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., who has built a national reputation with his get-tough tactics, and county health officials have violated the Constitution by depriving jail inmates of adequate medical screening and care, feeding them unhealthy food and housing them in unsanitary conditions, a federal judge has ruled.

Sheriff Arpaio, whose jurisdiction over the Phoenix metropolitan area includes one of the country’s largest jail systems, must make a number of changes under an order issued Wednesday by Judge Neil V. Wake of Federal District Court in Phoenix.

Sheriff Arpaio, a Republican who is seeking a fifth term in November, has drawn a great deal of attention in recent years for a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Judge Wake’s ruling throws light on Sheriff Arpaio’s handling of the county jails, which brought him notoriety for tactics like building a sweltering “tent city” for convicts and cladding them in black-and-white striped uniforms and pink underwear.

Last, close to home, a UGA Education professor is being terminated after it was alleged he had served time in prison for sex crimes.

The University of Georgia is firing a tenured special-education professor who served jail time for sex crimes and hid it from the university, a university spokesman said Thursday.

Cecil Fore III, 50, an associate professor in the College of Education, was to be terminated by the university’s president, Michael F. Adams, according to university spokesman Tom Jackson. The university will continue with formal tenure revocation proceedings later, Jackson said.

Fore was convicted in 1991 of sexually abusing three special education students in Montgomery junior high schools where he was a teacher, according to records in a related civil suit in U.S. district court. Alabama records show that his teaching license was revoked by the state in 1991.

Fore served almost three years in an Alabama prison from 1991-1993 on sex charges, said Brian Corbett, a spokesman for the Alabama prison system.

Couple of points: number one, while former felons should generally be given a second chance in society without such overt stigmatization, the felon has to nevertheless be up front about their past. Unlike, say, drug possession or property crime, the nature of the crimes this person allegedly committed goes to the very heart of what we do here at the university: teach and research.

Second, background checks should probably be standard on all university personnel, regardless of rank or the position they were applying for in the UGA community. That someone with such serious violations as this in their past (though the article notes his attorney will "not confirm or deny" anything) could slip through the cracks and even gain tenure is astonishing, to put it mildly.

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