Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday round-up

From the Auburn Journal in Sacramento, California (May 21) - Approximately 2000 people with disabilities and their allies will be at the Capitol on May 27 for the 6th Annual Disability Capitol Action Day from 10am-3pm. The theme of this year’s event is based on the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead Decision which requires all states, including California, to implement an Olmstead plan that provides services which allow people with disabilities the choice of living in the community as opposed to institutions. For more information contact Christina Mills at, or, 916-325-1690 ext. 333. (h/t Media dis&dat)

From the Associated Press in Muskegon, Michigan (May 20) - Timothy Andrew Carl, a 27-year-old nurse’s aide who authorities say abused an elderly couple by urinating in the woman’s hair and pouring liquid soap on her husband’s head in February 2008 has been sentenced to one year in prison. He was also ordered to spend five years on probation and continue mental health treatment. Carl apologized in court to the victims’ family for “betraying their trust.”

From the Gwinnet Daily Post in Gwinnet, Georgia (May 20) - Marshae Brooks and Demarcus Crawford have been indicted as part of an alleged four-person robbing crew accused of killing 51-year old Tedla Lemma in a home-invasion in March last year. According to prosecutors say Brooks and Crawford allegedly beat, gagged and hog-tied the victim and left him for dead. Unable to breathe through the gag, Mr Lemma suffocated. Brooks and Crawford face counts of murder, felony murder, burglary and false imprisonment. Brooks is also charged with armed robbery, kidnapping with bodily injury and aggravated assault stemming from three other incidents. Last month, a jury convicted Quincy Jackson, of murder and related charges in Mr Lemma's death. A key witness in Jackson's trial, Lorna Araya, is accused of masterminding the home invasion.

From the Washington Times (May 20) - A Government Accountability Office report shows that the use of seclusion and physical restraint in schools disproportionately impacts students with disabilities and has resulted in hundreds of possible abuse cases and at least 20 deaths. According to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, who requested the report and held a committee hearing on Tuesday to highlight the findings, “This behavior, in some instances, looks like torture. The current situation is unacceptable and cannot continue.”

From the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the Associated Press (May 19) - Five former employees of the Corpus Christi State School have pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from cellphone videos of fights staged between residents with intellectual disabilities at the Texas institution. Each of the five men are charged with causing injury to a disabled person. A sixth person, Stephanie Garza, is accused of failing to intervene and will be arraigned later this month. According to police, eleven employees organized the fights, which took place over the past two years.

From the Dallas Morning News (May 19) - According to state records, dozens of employees at Texas institutions were fired for serious abuse and neglect, such as whipping a resident in the mouth with a belt, during the same two-year period as the late night “fight clubs.”

From the Houston Chronicle (May 18) - Hundreds of abuse complaints involving the mentally disabled residents of Texas state schools are made to local police each year but rarely do they result in criminal charges, largely because the cases are too difficult to prove, according to a three-year snapshot of data obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

From Canwest News Service in Canada (May 18) - A major new study by Yale University scientists shows bias against obese people is growing. The scientists, who searched through medical studies on weight bias published between January 2000 and May 2008 found that more than half of 620 doctors surveyed view obese patients as "awkward,'' "unattractive,'' "ugly'' and "non-compliant.'' A third went further, painting the obese as weak-willed, sloppy and lazy. Even dietitians, personal trainers and doctors who specialize in treating obesity exhibit fat phobia.

From the Times-Union in Jacksonsville, Florida (May 18) - Local authorities say the number of people with disabilities being denied housing or the right to make reasonable modifications is on the rise. People with disabilities are covered under the federal Fair Housing Act, which also prohibits housing discrimination based on race, sex or family status.