In a move that many onlookers saw as inevitable, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland this week formally asked its embattled Bishop Suffragan, Heather Cook, to resign from her post in light of ongoing criminal proceedings launched against her by local authorities for the fatal DUI incident that took the life of 41-year-old married father of two, Thomas Palermo.
"At our meeting on January 22, 2015, we, the members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, agreed unanimously that you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events. Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation from the position of Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland," noted a one-page letter from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.
"The Standing Committee arrived at this decision after significant and prayerful discernment, and with due and proper consideration for the best interests of the diocese and its people. We continue to hold you in our prayers," the letter ended. more >>
Texas executed Robert Ladd, 57, after appeals to spare his life due to diminished mental capacity all failed.
Ladd received a lethal injection of pentobarbital, said that the drug was stinging his arm, and then took deep breaths before snoring and passing away 27 minutes later. Before receiving the drug, he addressed the sister of his victim, Vickie Ann Garner.
Marissa Alexander, the woman jailed in Florida after firing a warning shot at her abusive ex-husband, was released from jail on Tuesday after consenting to a plea deal.
Alexander, 34, was first sentenced to 20 years in prison after reportedly firing a shot in the direction of her abusive ex-husband during a 2010 argument. Two children were in the home, leading to her arrest. She faced another 60 years in prison after being charged with three counts of aggravated assault but reached a plea deal in Nov. which would allow her freedom after the three years she already served in prison.
Her case drew national attention, as her ex-husband was known for being violent, abusive, and had previously threatened Alexander's life. He had entered her home without permission, and Alexander fired the shot to scare him away, not to injure or harm him. Women's rights activists took up the cause and petitioned for her release. more >>
A liberal Saudi blogger who was sentenced to endure 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" has been temporarily reprieved from his 50 weekly lashings after a board of doctors ruled his body is incapable of taking any more lashings in the near future.
After sentencing 31-year-old Raif Badawi, who operated the a blog called "Free Saudi Liberals," to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashings and fining him about $266,060 for "insulting Islam" in his writings, the Saudi government has received international pressure for doling out such extreme punishments to someone who simply wrote on his own views and opinions.
The sentence of 1,000 lashes by a cane was arranged for Badawi, a father of three, so that he receives them in increments of 50 every Friday during the course of 20 weeks. But after receiving his first set of 50 lashes on Jan. 9 in the city of Jiddah, Badawi had not been subjected to the punishment in the two following weeks. more >>
An attorney involved in a civil lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America over the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy by an adult volunteer says documents kept by the organization for nearly a century known as the "perversion files" reveal a "sordid history of child sexual abuse."
The attorney, Tim Hale, made the statement in California Monday at a civil trial on behalf of the victim who is now 20, according to the Associated Press. The victim, who was not identified by the AP, but listed in court documents, is suing the Boy Scout of America as well as a local scouting council for punitive damages for the 2007 abuse. He alleges the Boys Scouts were negligent because they failed to warn and train parents and volunteers about sex abuse.
Hale is being allowed by the court to access 30 years of "perversion" files which include 16 years of documents from 1991 to 2007 that have never been seen before. more >>
Georgia put Warren Lee Hill to death on Tuesday despite numerous protests from those stating he was not mentally capable of understanding what was happening to him.
Hill's attorneys pleaded with the Supreme Court to stay the execution until his IQ could be retested; they claimed his IQ was 70, while prosecutors stated Hill's IQ was 90. In most cases, states cannot execute prisoners with an IQ of "approximately 70" or below. Hill had not been tested since 2000, where doctors testified he was not intellectually disabled. However, those same doctors later testified that they had "been rushed" and that since then they had concluded he was intellectually disabled.
"Today, the Court has unconscionably allowed a grotesque miscarriage of justice to occur in Georgia," Brian Kammer, a laywer for Hill said in a statement to WSBTV. "Georgia has been allowed to execute an unquestionably intellectually disabled man, Warren Hill, in direct contravention of the Court's clear precedent prohibiting such cruelty." more >>