A 57-year-old Texas man cleared this week of raping a teen girl in 1990 told reporters that he was only able to cope with being branded a guilty man because of his "father God," and expressed the conviction that God had been working behind the scenes all along to bring him justice.
After prosecutors found evidence showing that Michael Phillips, currently wheelchair-bound, was not the one who raped a 16-year-old girl more than two decades ago, a judge ruled on Friday that the Dallas man should be exonerated. The new evidence was based on DNA testing, which Phillips did not request, but which Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins pursued through his Conviction Integrity Unit.
"My father God that got me through this. That's all I got to say," Phillips told reporters during the court appearance. "That speaks for itself. Pick up His book, it's truthful … see you through anything." more >>
A Miami-Dade County judge Friday overturned Florida's ban on same-sex marriage in a decision that applies only to that county. While this is the second county that struck down the state's ban this month, marriage licenses will not be issued so that the rulings can be appealed.
Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel agreed with last week's ruling by Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, saying the 2008 constitutional amendment approved by the state's voters violates the right to equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, according to The Associated Press.
"Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest," Zabel wrote in her 36-page ruling. "It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society." more >>
One of the Al Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt on alleged terrorism charges will reportedly appeal his sentence, his younger brother told reporters this week.
Peter Greste, an Australian reporter working for the Al Jazeera network, will be appealing his seven-year prison sentence that he received in June, based on charges that he had reported in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood political party during the toppling of former leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Greste and two other reporters, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohammed, were accused of attempting to undermine Egypt's national security by "broadcasting false information" through Al Jazeera. more >>
An associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara has pleaded no contest to criminal charges related to her assault on a group of pro-life students in March, which was partially captured on video.
The Santa Barbara Independent reported on Thursday that Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, who had been accused of stealing and destroying an anti-abortion posted during an event, as well as pushing and scratching the activist, is pleading no contest to the charges of grand theft, vandalism, and battery.
"Today's plea brings us one step closer to seeing justice done in this case," said Katie Short, mother of the 16-year-old activist that Miller-Young is accused of assaulting. "Pro-life advocates should not be subjected to intimidation and violence for lawfully exercising their right to free speech, and we are happy to see that Ms. Miller-Young is being held accountable for her actions." more >>
A city in Michigan has become the subject of a lawsuit after refusing to allow an atheist to display a "reason station" at its city hall atrium.
Three groups filed the lawsuit on behalf of Douglas Marshall against the city of Warren and its mayor Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.
"When the government opens a forum for private speech, it must treat viewpoints equally, and it is strictly forbidden from favoring religious expression over non-religious speech," read the lawsuit's introductory statement. more >>
Heirs of a Brooklyn, New York man are suing a Florida couple for $60 million for allegedly not returning an "ancient" Bible to the New York-based family.
Relatives of the Brooklyn man, David Arakie, filed their lawsuit in the borough's federal court this week, alleging that Sam and Aviva Greenberg of Boca Raton, Florida have failed to return the full Hebrew Bible considered to be an ancient, unique Holy Book used by religious scholars.
"The Bible is unique because it is one of the oldest known full sets of a Hebrew-language Bible and is in almost perfect condition [and] is an important resource for biblical scholars," the lawsuit reads, according to the New York Daily News. more >>