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NEW STUDY: 4 percent of people sentenced to death are likely innocent

deathpenalty 600WASHINGTON, D.C. – At least 4.1 percent of defendants sentenced to death in the United States are innocent, according to new peer-reviewed research published Monday (April 28th) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world's most respected and cited scientific journals.

"(N)o process of removing potentially innocent defendants from the execution queue can be foolproof. With an error rate at trial over 4 percent, it is all but certain that several of the 1,320 defendants executed since 1977 were innocent," the study concludes. The article, "Rate of False Conviction of Criminal Defendants who are Sentenced to Death," is available at: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1306417111.

"This study provides the first rigorous estimate of the rate of conviction of innocent criminal defendants in any context. It shows that the number of innocent people sentenced to death is more than twice the number of inmates actually exonerated and freed by legal action," said Bruce Levin, Ph.D., an expert in statistics who did not participate in the research but is familiar with the study. Dr. Levin is professor and past chair, Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University, and author of "Statistics for Lawyers" (2001, with Michael O. Finkelstein); "Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions," 3rd Edition (2003, with Joseph L. Fleiss and Myunghee Cho Paik); and "The Biostatistics of Aging" (2014, with Gilberto Levy).

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The silent wars of African-American girls

blackgirls 600WASHINGTON – March 1st was the last time eight-year-old Relisha Rudd was seen, leaving a local hotel here with Kahlil Tatum, a 51-year-old custodian who had been tasked to babysit her. Exactly a month later, Tatum was found dead; Rudd remains missing and the trail has gone cold.

The same week Tatum's death was announced, the body of 30-year-old, first-year medical resident Teleka Patrick was pulled from a lake in Indiana. In the days leading up to her December disappearance, she and others expressed concern over her mental health. The circumstances of her death remain unclear.

One week after Patrick's body was found, 22-year-old Karyn Washington, founder of For Brown Girls, a well-known blog dedicated to combatting colorism and promoting self-love for Black women, was found dead in an apparent suicide.

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Why MATA should hold up on ‘piecemeal’ proposal to solve financial woes

mata 600First, I am not surprised that the MATA administration is proposing an elimination of all game shuttles to the Liberty Bowl and FedEx Forum. In the dark shadow of a failed vote on a gas tax referendum for MATA, cuts in government funding and a lower ridership, I am just grateful that MATA is still surviving on her deathbed for those who are transit dependents. There is no doubt in my mind that the fact MATA is still breathing is an example of miracles.

As a sports fan, I join other sports fans who believe that providing bus shuttles to the Liberty Bowl and FedEx Forum is a valuable service to the city of Memphis. At the same time, as a longtime advocate for bus riders, I know that public transportation is so bad that transit dependent riders are spending up to four hours on buses on a daily basis as a result of tough economic times at MATA. Some are being forced to walk blocks to and from their destinations because there is little or no bus service in their neighborhoods or at their destinations.

In an effort to be fair to the regular bus riders and the sport fans, I believe that the MATA Board should not cast a "Yea " or "Nay" on eliminating bus shuttles or changes in bus service while budget talks are about to take place with the Memphis City Council at City Hall. I believe that any considerations of any proposals of MATA should be delayed until the end of June.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams Donald Sterling’s mistress for her ‘betrayal’

kaj 600NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who is known for speaking out on issues of race in the United States, has weighed in on the alleged racist ramblings of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Jabbar agreed that Sterling is clearly racist, but was more incensed by not only systems of oppression that breed the Donald Sterlings of the world, but the actions of Sterling's mistress, V. Stiviano.

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5 rules for becoming an intellectual maverick

mavericks 600No matter how well our lives may be going, many of us seem to be at our wit's end when it comes to attaining that next level of success, but there is a solution to this challenge, says world-traveling entrepreneur Julian Pencilliah.

Whether we want to improve our relationships, spiritual development, emotional well-being, health or monetary ambitions, we so often find that we're our own greatest enemies, says Pencilliah, author of "The Jetstream of Success," (www.thejetstreamofsuccess.com).

"You see it time and time again – individuals rise out of the most devastating circumstances and transform their lives into greatness," he says. "If you're in a place where you feel that life's closing in on you, and you have a pressing urgency to transform your misfortune into a positive opportunity, then you must embrace the fact that realizing your potential is a process."

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