Monday, January 31, 2011

Reuters: Judge strikes down healthcare reform law

By Tom Brown
MIAMI Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:33pm EST

MIAMI (Reuters) - A federal judge in Florida struck down President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare overhaul as unconstitutional on Monday, in the biggest legal challenge yet to federal authority to enact the law.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan, ruled that the reform law's so-called individual mandate went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty.

"Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications," Vinson wrote.

Referring to a key provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he sided with governors and attorneys general from 26 U.S. states, almost all of whom are Republicans, in declaring it unconstitutional.

"Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the Act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution," the judge ruled.
The administration said it may ask the U.S. appeals court to hold off on any changes in the implementation of the law pending an appeal Judge Vinson's decision. The highly politicized issue will likely end up at the Supreme Court for final determination.

The plaintiffs represent more than half the U.S. states, so the Pensacola case has more prominence than some two dozen lawsuits filed in federal courts over the healthcare law.
The healthcare overhaul enacted last year, a contentious cornerstone of Obama's presidency, aims to expand health insurance to cover millions of uninsured Americans while also curbing costs. Administration officials insist it is constitutional and needed to stem huge projected increases in healthcare costs.

Two other district court judges have rejected challenges to the individual mandate.
But a federal district judge in Richmond, Virginia, last month struck down that central provision of the law in a case in that state, saying it invited an "unbridled exercise of federal police powers."

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Kelley Williams-Bolar Update: Kelley Meets with Rev.

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I figured that I would share an update to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the mother of two who was given jail time for sending her kids to a school outside of their home district.  This week, Williams-Bolar met with both Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev.  Al Sharpton about her case, appearing with me and her attorney on Rev. Jackson's show this past week.  Rev. Sharpton and I are planning a rally for Kelley in Ohio soon, but the rally is not focused on just one person.  Instead, the focal point is on the educational system in its entirety and why there are millions of moms across America being forced to break the law in order to help their children get access to a quality education.

I heard about Kelley's case through one of my Facebook friends.  Her case had been in court for years with no resolution, and not enough people had heard about what this woman was going through.  I wrote about Kelley's case in a few venues and called national media contacts, hoping that this important issue could be brought forth for public discussion.  I am not in the business of doing individual crusades when it comes to the criminal justice system, since I don't have the resources to help with every case that comes across my email inbox.  I get several cases in my email every single day, and while I wish I could help everyone, it's impossible without significant amounts of funding (I still have my day job, so I'm certainly not in this game for the money).  I chose to grab Kelley's case because it has clear national implications about a failed public school system that continues to destroy the futures of our children on a regular basis.  In fact, I dare say that if the only person who is helped in all this is Kelley Williams-Bolar, then we have failed ourselves, our children and our country.

Click to read.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Obama First Dem Prez Since Truman To Not Mention Poverty in State of the Union Address

by Charles Blow, New York Times

President Obama made history on Tuesday.

It was only the second time since Harry S. Truman’s State of the Union address in 1948 that such a speech by a Democratic president did not include a single mention of poverty or the plight of the poor.

The closest Obama got to a mention was his confirmation for “Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear” that, indeed, “the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real.” I’m sure they appreciated that.

The only other Democrat not to mention poverty in the speech was Jimmy Carter in 1980, but even he was able to squeeze in one reference to at least a portion of the poor and disenfranchised, stressing the continuation of jobs programs to “provide training and work for our young people, especially minority youth.” (Carter did mention the poor in a written version that he submitted to Congress.)

Click to read.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dr. Boyce on AC360 – The Kelly Williams-Bolar Case and His Rally with Al Sharpton

Click to watch Dr. Watkins on AC360 discussing the case of Kelly Williams-Bolar, the black mother sent to jail for sending her kids to the wrong school district

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kelley Williams-Bolar Update: CNN, ABC News and Other National Media Get Involved

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Most of us at Black Voices are familiar with the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mother of two who was sent to jail for sending her children to the "wrong" school district. Williams-Bolar was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years probation and community service for using her father's address in order to avoid sending her kids to the school she considered to be dangerous and inadequate. At AOL Black Voices, we were one of the first to hit the issue nationally, and fortunately, other media outlets are starting to take notice.

In addition to being sent to jail, Williams-Bolar and her father are being charged with fourth degree grand theft of school services. As a consequence of her conviction, Williams-Bolar can never use the teaching degree that she is working on right now. The judge also made it clear that she was sending Williams-Bolar to jail as an example to be shared with any other parents thinking about doing the same thing.
The case sparked a firestorm of national controversy and conversation about educational inequality and the notion that a mother had to break the law in order to give her daughters access to a quality education. Millions of parents around the nation expressed support for Williams-Bolar, for they too could recall their own parents making the same sacrifices for them. There have been Facebook groups created to support Williams-Bolar and has created a petition on her behalf to have her record expunged. The petition drew nearly 20,000 signatures over a three day period, and is growing by the second.

Click to read.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Help Kelley Williams-Bolar: Representatives You Can Contact

kelley williams-bolar


Kelley Williams-Bolar is the woman who was sent to jail in Akron, OH for sending her kids to the wrong district.  If you’d like to help her and make the broader and important point about educational inequality in America, please take the time to send a short note of concern to the state representatives in the area.  The information is below:

For Summit County (the county that Akron is in) the state representatives are:
Lynn Slaby (Republican):
Kristina Roegner (Republican):
Todd McKenney (Republican):
Vernon Sykes:
Zack Milkovich (Democrat):

House members website:
The state senator for that area is Frank LaRose (Republican):
Senate members website:

Wilmer Leon Analyzes the State of the Union

by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon

President Barack Obama was under pressure to satisfy many different constituencies in his second State of the Union address last night. Some liberals wanted the president to support government-matching 401(k) contributions in order to promote saving; others wanted him to address gay-rights legislation; still others urged a ban on large gun clips, or deep cuts in the defense budget.

Instead the president chose to set a tone rather than an agenda. Other presidents have been able to unveil sweeping policy initiatives in the annual address. But President Obama is faced with an ideologically driven opposition that has made clear its intention to oppose him at every turn. At the same time, the president is also facing a historic shift in technological and global economic realities that is remaking the world as we have come to know it.

Click to read.

Could 50 Cent’s Twitter Exploits Land Him in Jail?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The rapper 50 Cent is known as much for his creative PR and business tactics as he is for the rhymes he once busted on the airwaves. Well, I guess he is still technically a rapper, but the music side of 50 Cent’s career doesn’t seem to be taking off like it did at the start of the decade.

Since his last hit record, 50 Cent has been involved in a series of business ventures that seem to pay him better than he was ever paid as an artist. The problem for Fifty is that he might be in trouble with theSecurities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for using his power tohaul in $8.7 million by pushing a stock on his Twitter page.

50 Cent has 3.8 million Twitter followers who apparently respect him for his investment advice. The rapper tapped into his massive market power by telling all of his followers about a stock that he owns called H&H Imports. In fact, 50 Cent owns quite a bit of the stock after acquiring 30 million shares in a private placement last October.

click to read.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rahm Emanuel Taken Off the Ballot for Chicago Mayor

News update

Rahm Emanuel has been thrown off the ballot for Mayor in Chicago.  The court has ruled that Emanuel is ineligible to run for mayor of Chicago because he was not a resident of the city for a full  year.  This will open the door for Carol Moseley Braun to make a serious charge for the position that many had argued to belong to Emanuel from the beginning.

Dr. Boyce Watkins and Rev. Al Sharpton discussed the matter on Sharpton’s national radio show, “Keeping it Real with Rev. Al Sharpton.”  Both agreed that it would be a game changer. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

What Obama Needs to Say to Black America in the State of the Union Address

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Next week's State of the Union Address to be offered by President Barack Obama comes at a time when our nation is especially divided, and our future as a country is foggier than it has been in recent memory. The event that will be on everyone's mind is the attempted assasination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from an assassin's bullet in the hospital right now. The Giffords shooting has slowed down the most extreme Republican rhetoric for the moment, but it certainly has not ended the animosity shown toward President Obama.

While President Obama must contend with the Republicans, he must also deal with a wide variety of special interest groups, all expecting something in return for their loyalty. With well over 90 percent approval ratings, no group has been more steadfast and committed to President Obama than the African American community. Therefore, as we seek to determine what our community should expect from the State of the Union address being given this week, we have every right to demand what is best for us.

Click to read.

Was This a Suicide or a Lynching? The Mysterious Death of Frederick Jermaine Carter


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 


The black community in Greenwood, Mississippi is on edge and angry after the death of Frederick Jermaine Carter. Carter, who was 26 years old, was found hanging from a tree in what authorities have labeled to be a suicide. But the community isn't buying the police's story and claim that he was actually murdered.
The Final Call is reporting on the death of Carter, and even Michael Pimbleton Jr., the mayor of Sunflower, Mississippi has said that there was more going on than meets the eye.
"This is 2010 and we still have Black people hanging from trees? They're saying he hung himself but I have doubt in my mind that he actually did that. That wasn't his character. This wasn't a suicide, this was a homicide," Mayor Pembleton said to The Final Call.
Carter was found on December 3, with his body hanging from an oak tree in North Greenwood, which is a predominantly white section of Leflore County. He actually lived in nearby Sunflower County, and North Greenwood is known as an area that black people are sometimes afraid to visit. Carter was with his stepfather, who said that he wandered off from an area in which they were both working.


Click to read.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Comprehensive List of Tax Hikes in Obamacare

1. Individual Mandate Excise Tax(Jan 2014):


2. Employer Mandate Tax(Jan 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. This provision applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 yearsRead more:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dr. Boyce Video: Cam Newton, Auburn and the NCAA

NCAA Football

by Dr. Boyce WatkinsSyracuse University, Scholarship in Action 

The "What the hayell" segment asks serious questions about events, institutions and individuals in our society who lead us to be confused about their behavior. One serious point of confusion is the NCAA, Auburn University and the treatment of star quarterback Cam Newton. Newton helped bring in a $21 million dollar payday to Auburn University with his recent NCAA championship. He also helped the school earn millions throughout the year through ticket sales, jersey sales and national television appearances. Yet, to this day, Cam and the other players on the Auburn University basketball team will see no piece of the multi-million dollar pie generated by their labor.


Click to read.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

OJ’s Lawyer Says He Thinks It was a Drug Hit

F. Lee Bailey, O.J. Simpson

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

One of O.J. Simpson's attorneys, F. Lee Bailey, says that there was strong evidence held back in the 1995 trial that would have proved Simpson's innocence in the infamous murders.
In a new 20,000-page manuscript, Bailey talks about four individuals whose testimony would have strengthened Simpson's case had it been presented to the jury. Years after the "Trial of the Century," Bailey is opening up and sharing more perspectives on the case that put the entire nation at a standstill.

The document is called 'The Simpson Verdict' and was written in 2007 as part of a book proposal. Bailey argues that it's time that the facts of the case be put before the American public so that others might learn more about what went on behind the scenes.

Click to read.

Monday, January 10, 2011

CNN Asks if College Athletics is a Sweatshop

A view of the court where Purdue played Illinois for the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament March 14, 2009 in Indianapolis.


On Monday night, with millions of fans watching every play, Auburn will take on Oregon for the national championship of college football.

If you're viewing at home, you may notice the same thing you can observe each season at every massive college football stadium or glistening big-time college basketball arena:

Everyone working in the place is being paid: the hot dog vendors, the television broadcasters, the guy peddling game-day programs, the person who manufactured the university-logo jerseys and caps that are for sale at the souvenir stands, the employees changing lightbulbs in the tunnels. ...

Everyone except the people who are most responsible for putting the fans in the seats and in front of the TV screens at home: everyone except the players on the field.


Click to read.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moving Beyond the Scott Sisters to Broader Prison Reform

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I spent some time this week with NAACP officials analyzing the Georgia Prison Strike that occurred last month.  The fallout has been unbelievable, as some of the inmates were reportedly beaten with hammers for choosing to participate in the work stoppage.  One of the inmates allegedly has brain damage and is in a wheelchair as a result of the beatings.  Perhaps that’s what happens when you simply ask for basic human rights, which we’ve denied prison inmates for far too long.

Seeing what happened to these brothers and sisters after this incident was a cold, stern reminder that there is an infinite amount of work that needs to be done to clean up our criminal justice system.  Most of us think that prison has nothing to do with us, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  One out of every three black boys born this decade is expected to spend time in state prison, federal prison or local jails.  Also, the United States puts more people in prison than any country in the world, and most of us are only God’s grace or one bad situation away from ending up in the big house.  Additionally, there are millions of black folks who’ve seen their fathers, brothers, sisters or cousins negatively impacted and traumatized by this system, even when they were innocent.  The experience of prison is bad enough and only made worse by not being able to get a job for life, losing the right to vote, and not having access to housing or education.

Click to read.

U.S. Constitution Reverses the Slavery Impact of English Common Law

By Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Progressives are criticizing the reading of the U.S. Constitution, led by the Republican Majority of the U.S. House of Representatives this past week. As a Missouri lawyer, who took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, I have to point out the discrepancies that exist with many Progressives on this matter. Progressives don't realize that they are critizing the very document that gives them the freedoms (e.g. right to vote for blacks, women, adults over the age of 18) that they would not have if the U.S. Constitution did not exist.

Impact of Slavery Under English Common Law
English Common Law prevailed prior to the creation of the U.S. Constitution. Under English Common Law, slavery existed for everybody who was not a wealthy, white male landowner. Any person who was white and poor would not be allowed to vote, exercise free speech, etc... Also, women and people of african descent (or color) did not have rights to vote, exercise free speech, marriage, etc... under English Common Law.

Impact of U.S. Constitution on English Common Law
What the U.S. Constitution did, through its Amendment process in Article V, is allow the people of the U.S. to slowly erase the visages that existed under English Common Law. To understand the U.S. Constitution, you can't look solely at one section alone. You must look at the whole thing in its entirety, including its Amendments, to understand the impact of the document on all U.S. citizens. Listed below are passages of the U.S. Constitution that many Progressives need to READ and become familiar with:

Article V:
"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate."

Amendment XIII [1865]:
"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Amendment XV [1870]:
"Section 1. Thr right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Amendment XIX [1920]:
"[1] The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
[2] Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Amendment XXVI [1971]:
"Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Result of NOT Following the U.S. Constitution
If Progressives get their way and the U.S. does not follow the Constitution as the rule of law, English common law will revert back as the law of the land. That means slavery can re-exist for everone who is NOT a wealthy, white male landowner.

So for those Progressives who are women or people of color, do you really want to be subject to slavery again? Something to ponder about why you try to condemn or not follow the U.S. Constitution, which is the very fabric that gives you your rights and freedoms in the U.S.

Legal Disclaimer: This site provides information about the law designed to keep readers informed of pertinent legal matters affecting the African-American community. But legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer in your specific location if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

Republicans Read Constitution, Try to Pretend Slavery Never Happened

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

With the new Republican-led Congress comes the excited arrival of Birthers, Tea Partiers and other strange characters who are seeking to undermine the political stability of our great nation. The week ended with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, with the sheriff of the town implying that racial animosity and divisive rhetoric of the Right Wing played a role in creating the atmosphere where a political leader was shot in the face and a little girl was killed.
The language of the Tea Party has consisted mostly of thinly-veiled animosity thrust toward the black man in the Oval Office who doesn't seem to know his place. The idea of "taking back America" and "returning America to its roots," can be translated to saying that America isn't a country that's supposed to be run by that " hoity-toity, high fallutin, black guy with the Muslim name."
So, what better way to celebrate new-found Republican power than to read the United States Constitution out loud in the chambers of Congress? Sure, we might bore the heck out of a few lawmakers and waste a day that could be spent doing something productive, but why aim for substance when symbolism is a far better marketing tool?

Click to read.

Sheriff Implies that Congresswoman Giffords Shooting Connected to Racism



Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says anger, hatred and bigotry are getting out of hand in this country.  If you read between the lines, you can see that the sheriff is trying to say that racism may have been part of the reason that Giffords was shot.  Perhaps the Republicans will reconsider their rhetoric, since lives are being put in danger by their consistent commitment to capitalizing off the racial hatred of our country.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Moseley Braun refuses questions about tax returns

"There are three things you don't mess with: (1) God, (2) Federal or State Police (or the Law), and (3) IRS." - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

January 7, 2011 9:13 AM
Chicago Breaking News Center

Chicago mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun today said there will be "no more drilling down" about her tax returns despite unanswered questions about where she gets her money and the troubled state of her finances.

At a campaign event where she greeted voters, Braun did answer one question about her tax returns. The former U.S. senator said the losses she reported for her CMB One Corp. are losses from her organic food company, Ambassador Organics.

Braun reiterated that she started a business on the verge of a recession and has suffered the consequences. When a reporter asked a follow-up question about the sources of her income, a campaign aide declared the interview session over.

Braun said she has been transparent about her finances. When reporter questions persisted, a campaign aide put his hand over the reporter's voice recorder as Braun walked away.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Inmates Allegedly Beaten with Hammers after Peaceful Protest


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Reports are coming out of Georgia that prison guards have retaliated with violence in response to the Georgia Prison strike that took place last month. According to Georgia State NAACP President Edward Dubose, inmates have been beaten with hammers and other foreign objects allegedly in retaliation for their participation in the strike. President Dubose says that one inmate has been beaten beyond recognition and another has suffered significant brain damage.
"They said they [officers] were hitting inmates with hammers," Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "They [guards] said an inmate was trying to escape."
The Department of Corrections has remained stoic and silent on the matter, even to the point of denying that a prison strike ever took place. But advocates for inmate human rights have argued all along that the conditions in Georgia prisons are simply unacceptable.


Click to read.


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Thursday, January 6, 2011

USA Today: IRS tax liens jump by 60%, but how effective are they?

"There are a couple of options you might have if this exists, but consult an attorney (specifically a bankruptcy attorney to find what you can do to stop a tax lien)." - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

By Kevin McCoy,

IRS liens filed against taxpayers jumped 60% since the start of the national recession, according to a new federal report that urges the tax agency to moderate the collection policy and study its effectiveness.

The IRS filed more than 1 million liens in federal fiscal year 2010, the highest in nearly two decades and a spike from the nearly 684,000 filed in the year ahead of the recession's December 2007 start, according to the annual report to Congress issued Wednesday by the National Taxpayer Advocate.

Although the IRS has taken some steps to aid financially struggling taxpayers, it "has continued the trend toward more lien filings despite the worst economy in at least a generation" — with serious financial impact on some of those unable to pay, the taxpayer advocate report concluded.
"Lien filings can badly damage or destroy a taxpayer's creditworthiness because they are picked up by the credit-rating agencies and retained on the taxpayer's credit reports for seven years from the date the tax liability is resolved, or longer if it is not resolved," wrote Nina Olson, who heads the Taxpayer Advocate's office.

For those with IRS liens filed against their property, that can mean it's harder to get a job, find affordable housing or buy insurance.

Despite the increase in liens, the report said IRS payment coding protocols make it impossible to determine how much revenue the collection effort generates. Since the IRS pays to process the liens and file them with local county clerks, the report said it is "questionable whether liens generate much, if any, direct revenue."

The increase in lien filings continued a longer trend in which the report said the 2010 total soared 553% higher than the number filed in fiscal year 1999. The IRS said the comparison was misleading, because the agency reduced lien filings in 1999 while making legal changes under a 1998 restructuring of the agency.

IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said it has moved to help taxpayers facing collection problems. He said the IRS is starting a procedure to ensure its liens are withdrawn after tax debts are paid. That change, Lemons said, "will help struggling taxpayers who face hardship caused by having a lien."

Olson, however, said the IRS should determine whether its lien-filing policies balance efficient tax collection "with the legitimate concern of taxpayers that any collection action be no more intrusive than necessary."


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ben Jealous Calls for an Urgent Movement for Justice


An Urgent Movement for Justice

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

(TEWire) - During the past two weeks, in response to successful grassroots campaigns, two governors have released Black Americans who had been railroaded by our nation's criminal justice system.
Together, these cases speak to the urgent need for the work the NAACP and our allies are doing to encourage more governors to use their clemency authority as our nation's founding fathers intended by freeing more deserving people more frequently.
The most recent victory is that of Jamie and Gladys Scott, two Mississippi sisters who have been imprisoned for 16 years on double-life sentences. They were each condemned to this extraordinary sentence as teenagers for a first-time offense in which $11 was stolen and no one was hurt. The Scott sisters were convicted of luring two men to be robbed by three teenage boys. The boys each received eight years and served less than three. Moreover, there are compelling reasons to believe the sisters are innocent.

Click to read.

Man Freed after 30 Years in Prison for Wrongful Conviction

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Cornelius Dupree was sent to prison in 1979 on charges of rape and robbery. After doing over 30 years in prison, he has finally been set free by the Innocence Project. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is also arguing that Dupree "did not commit this crime" and that he should be freed.
If Dupree is freed, he will have served more time in Texas prison than any other innocent person in the history of the state. There are only two others in the country who have served more time and been exonerated, according to the Innocence Project.
"Cornelius Dupree spent the prime of his life behind bars because of mistaken identification that probably would have been avoided if the best practices now used in Dallas had been employed," said Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project. "Let us never forget that, as in the heartbreaking case of Cornelius Dupree, a staggering 75% of wrongful convictions of people later cleared by DNA evidence resulted from misidentifications."


Click to read. Bankruptcy Filings Leapt 9% Last Year

The number of Americans filing for personal bankruptcy topped 1.5 million last year, as high long-term jobless rates and depressed home prices drove more households to seek court protection.

Personal bankruptcies rose to 1.53 million, up 9% from 2009, the highest level since a revamp of the law took effect in 2005, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, an association of attorneys and other bankruptcy professionals, and the National Bankruptcy Research Center.
A handful of Southwestern states accounted for much of the uptick in filings by households buckling under debt. "There are two groups of people who have had really high filings during the [financial] crisis—the Pacific Southwest and the Southeast," said Ronald Mann, a Columbia University law professor.

Conditions have improved in the Southeast, with filings dropping last year in Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. But the Southwest continues to struggle. In California, bankruptcies were up 25% from a year earlier. In Arizona, they rose nearly 24%.

Monday, January 3, 2011 50 million taxpayers must delay filing - IRS

By David Goldman, staff writer
December 31, 2010: 11:14 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Itemize your tax deductions? Itching for a refund? You're going to have to wait.

The IRS said that it needs until mid- to late-February to reprogram its processing systems because Congress acted so late this year cleaning up the tax code. The bill, which includes deductions for state and local sales taxes, college tuition and teacher expenses, wasn't signed into law until Dec. 17.

The bill ensured that the federal income tax rates would not change, and itemized deductions will continue to be allowed in full for high-income taxpayers.
As a result, the 50 million taxpayers who itemize their deductions will have to hold off for a bit before they file. Of course, not everyone files early: only about 9 million of the 140 million U.S. tax filers filed in January or February of last year.

To continue reading, please follow the link below:

Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight: The Duchess of Black Scholars

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

The role of Super Woman in Black America can be readily applied to a woman who can balance the relentless pursuit of academic achievement, professional success, and outstanding motherhood, all at the same time. Miriam Harris (a.k.a. Duchess) is a textbook example of what we all want our daughters to become. She is a mother of three, and has both a PhD and a law degree. The Ivy League educated supermom is not only "about her business," she is deeply committed to the business of using her vast intellect to make the world a better place for both women and people of color. In other words, she's not just a Black PhD, she is actually a "Ph-Do." AOL Black Voices was able to catch up with Professor Harris for the Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight:
1) What is your name and what do you do for a living?

My name is Duchess Harris and I am an Associate Professor of American Studies at Macalester College.
2) What is your area of expertise and what made you pursue this particular area of study?


click to read.