St. Petersburg, FL

Attacks alter the courtroom

October 09, 2001
The murder trial of a black militant turned Muslim cleric was postponed in Atlanta. So was a Santa Ana, Calif., case of an Egyptian butcher accused of molesting a boy. And in Knoxville, Tenn., an international money-laundering trial involving a businessman of Palestinian descent was delayed as well.
     In each case, judges agreed with defense attorneys, and even some prosecutors, that jurors would be biased against people from the Middle East -- or those who look or sound like them -- following the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil.
     Since September 11, cases across the nation have been rescheduled, some postponed indefinitely, for fear of juror bias. That includes a case in which the accused is a Christian supposedly persecuted by Muslims in his homeland. 

Petition against disabled is civil rights setback

September 05, 2001
Editor: One would have hoped that our society has made some advances in the area of tolerance and acceptance in the four decades since the emergence of the civil rights movement. Sadly, your article highlights that we're still a long way from the goal of affording our citizens, particularly those with disabilities, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
     The members of the Embassy Hills community who signed the petition against Fairfax House should be ashamed of themselves for associating their names with a petition that, in my opinion, appeals to ignorance, prejudice and a fear mentality. The petitioners fear that residents "can escape in the middle of the night" (a residential group home is not a form of imprisonment); "ring neighbors' doorbells" (a prank some of us engaged in as children); "peep into windows" (since when is voyeurism a characteristic of developmental disability, and have the petitioners never heard of blinds?).
     The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and its Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity have given an acronym to this type of discrimination: NIMBY (not in my back yard). Obviously, those who signed the petition have never had a child with a developmental disability and have never taken the time to educate themselves about such matters. Isn't it time that those who are proud to live in our great country start extending to others the freedoms they enjoy for themselves? 

Florida accommodation issue headed to court

August 29, 1998
The long-running battle between a Beacon Woods East couple and their homeowners association will be decided in U.S. District Court.
     The case, filed Friday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on behalf of Steve and Michelle Sidney, accuses the homeowners association of discrimination against the disabled in enforcement of its deed restrictions.
     At issue is the development's rule that residents cannot park recreational vehicles in private driveways. The homeowners association has said the Sidneys' RV blocks the sidewalk and inconveniences pedestrians. The association wants the Sidneys to park their RV at a lot for large vehicles about a mile from their home.

HUD issues charge in accommodation case

June 19, 1998
HUD has issued a charge of discrimination against a neighborhood association for failing to accommodate a man who needs to park his recreational vehicle in his driveway, contrary to neighborhood rules. Steve Sidney has a medical condition that requires him to wear an ileostomy bag, and the RV allows him and his wife to travel without having to find a sanitary place to change the bag. The Sidneys say that parking the RV a mile away as required by the neighborhood association will cause them undue hardship.
Subscribe to RSS - St. Petersburg, FL