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MC&A Newsletter  vol. XXXIII : December 2013


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Midwin Charles was recently featured in the Haitian Times:



Midwin Charles
spoke on More Than a Talking Head: How To Be Viewed As An Expert at the National Association of Black Journalists Region 1 Conference on
September 28, 2013.





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Midwin on CBS News
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Midwin Charles spoke at the Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC) and K&L Gates LLP One-Day Career Strategies Conference for Law Firm Associates on
April 25, 2013 in New York.
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Midwin Charles spoke at the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice's
Lunch with Lawyers.
April 16, 2013.
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 Midwin Charles was a panelist at The Haitian Times Step Into Your Power Women's Brunch on
March 16, 2013.
mc at Haitian Times 
With (l to r): Manolia Charlotin, editor in Chief of Haitian Times and Rosemonde Pierre Louis, Deputy Borough President of Manhattan.
The Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) selects
Midwin Charles as their Woman of the Week! Read more at:
Check out latest blog by Midwin Charles for Huffington Post, "Lance Armstrong's Redemption Song"

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Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman

On July 13, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty for the death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin on February 26, 2012 in Florida while Martin was walking home through a gated community. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch captain and when he saw Martin, a young black man in a hooded sweatshirt, walking down the street, he called 911 to report a "suspicious person" in the neighborhood. Despite instruction from the dispatcher not to exit his vehicle, Zimmerman approached Martin. A scuffle broke out and Zimmerman ended up shooting and killing Martin, claiming self-defense. After a national outcry over Martin's death and allegations that Zimmerman targeted Martin for being black, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder. The six-person, all female jury returned a verdict of not-guilty on all counts after deliberating for 16 hours.

Jameis Winston

Florida State University's star quarterback, Jameis Winston, found himself under a microscope on November 13, 2013 for the alleged rape of a female Florida State student back in December of 2012. During a police investigation, Winston's DNA was found on the alleged victim's underwear, and the DNA of an unidentified male was found on her shorts. According to William Meggs, the State Attorney assigned to the case, having unknown DNA on the victim would be problematic at trial. Based upon the police and State Attorney's investigation into the allegations, Meggs determined that there was insufficient evidence to move forward with the case and therefore no charges would be filed against Winston. The victim still maintains that Winston raped her and through her attorney has voiced her disappointment with the manner that the case has been handled: 11 months passed from the time she reported the rape to the State Attorney taking any type of action. Meanwhile, Florida State University is allowing Winston to remain on the football team in the hopes that he will lead them to a National Championship. Winston is also on the very short list of college players favored to clinch the Heisman Trophy

Dr. Martin MacNeill

On November 8, 2013, Dr. Martin McNeill was found guilty of first-degree murder and obstruction of justice for the death of his wife. Former beauty queen Michele MacNeill was found dead in her bathtub on April 11, 2007 in the MacNeill's home in Pleasant Grove, Utah. The original autopsy report stated that Michele died of natural causes related to a heart condition. However, MacNeill's children did not believe the report and three years later they pushed through a new toxicology report, which uncovered numerous medications in her system. Those medications included Diazepam, Oxycodone, Promethazine, and Zolpidem, the combination of which caused her heart to go into cardiac arrest. According to testimony during trial, Dr. MacNeill pressured Michele into getting a facelift and during her recovery, he forced her to take the lethal combination of medications. His motive? He wanted out of the marriage so that he could be with another woman by the name of Gypsy Willis, who ended up being a star witness for the prosecution in MacNeill's trial. MacNeill is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on January 7, 2014.

Amanda Knox

Despite having her 2009 conviction for the murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher overturned in 2011 for lack of evidence, Amanda Knox is once again facing prison time in Italy. In September 2013, an appeals court in Florence began a retrial for Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. In March 2013, the Italian Supreme Court ordered a retrial on the basis that the jury who acquitted the two in 2011 failed to consider all the evidence, and there were discrepancies in testimony that required further scrutiny. Neither Knox nor Sollecito were present for the commencement of the new trial and Knox has no plans of returning to Italy. In his closing remarks to the court, Italian prosecuter Alessandro Crini recommended that Knox receive a sentence of 30 years - 26 for the murder of Kercher and 4 for slander. Crini argues that Knox slandered bartender Patrick Lumumba when she originally accused him of murdering Kercher. Both Knox and Sollecito maintain their innocence and now must await a new verdict from the Italian court.

Ariel Castro

null On September 3, 2013, Ariel Castro was found dead in his prison cell. Castro, convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting three young women in his home in Cleveland, hung himself using a prison bed sheet. Alongside his body was a note in which Castro quoted scripture and spoke of Christ as his saviour. Both the Coroner and consultants for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction confirmed that the death was indeed a suicide and not death related to autoerotic asphyxiation, as prison officials had first suspected. Castro was found in his cell on his knees with the sheet around his neck and his pants hanging down. Although Castro was deemed by mental health experts not to be a suicide risk, prison guards were supposed to check him every 30 minutes. An investigation revealed that the guards were not following procedure and that they had falsified logs documenting the number of times Castro was checked in the hours leading to his death. Castro was serving a prison sentence of life plus over 1,000 years for the kidnapping and repeated rape of Michelle Knight, Georgina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, who escaped from Castro's home on May 6, 2013 after being held there against their will for nearly 10 years.

Legalization of Marijuana

On December 10, 2013, Uruguay became the first nation to legalize the growth, sale, and use of Marijuana. The bill was approved by the Uruguayan Senate in a 16-13 vote, and with the law comes a government regulated marijuana market, which the government hopes will aid in the fight against illegal drug trafficking. Uruguay says that the biggest challenge will now be setting an appropriate price for the marijuana to encourage people to sell and purchase the drug in the legal market. At the same time, they must be careful not to price so low that traffickers simply purchase it from the government to turn around and sell it in the black market. The passage of the new law may indicate a shift worldwide in moving towards the legalization of marijuana. In 2012, the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado legalized the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes, with 20 states allowing the medical use of the drug.

Boston Marathon Bombings

On April 15, 2013 - the day known in Boston as "Marathon Monday" - what is a day of triumph and celebration became a day of tragedy and sparked a manhunt for two suspects who planted a bomb near the race's finish line. The homemade pressure-cooker bomb ended up killing 3 people and left over 260 injured. The two suspects were brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, originally born in Chechen. Dzhokar was a 20 year-old student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, while 26 year-old Tamerlan was married with a young daughter. Upon being identified as the bombers, the two attempted to flee, killing an MIT Police Officer, carjacking an SUV, and finally engaging in a late-night gun fight with police in Watertown, MA. While running away from the police during the gun-fight, Dzhokar ran over and killed his older brother and then took shelter on a person's boat that was sitting in the owner's yard. Police finally found and arrested Dzhokar, who eventually informed police that he and his brother were motivated by the war against Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 20 year-old now faces 30 federal charges, including the possible death penalty, for his horrific actions.

Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias 2013 was the year of the Jodi Arias trial. For months, the case of the salacious murder captivated the American public. It all culminated in a May 9, 2013 conviction when jurors found 33 year-old Arias guilty of first-degree murder for the death of her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Arias was on trial for viciously killing Alexander in June of 2008. Arias admitted to killing Alexander but argued to the court that it was self-defense. According to Arias, Alexander was abusive and on that particular day, he attacked her. The jury believed the prosecution's argument that she killed Alexander out of jealousy because he wanted to end their sexual affair to pursue a relationship with another woman. The saga, however is far from over: Arias is awaiting a retrial for the penalty phase of the case in which prosecutors will again seek the death penalty.

Defense of Marriage Act Struck Down

hands On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"). DOMA was originally enacted in 1996 and barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, which prevented such couples from receiving the various tax benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoyed. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, held that DOMA was unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment by discriminating against same-sex couples. The case made its way to the Supreme Court thanks to Edie Windsor, who filed suit after receiving a tax bill of $360,000 for an inheritance that Edie received from her same-sex partner. The two women had been married in Canada, but due to DOMA's existence, Windsor did not qualify for the same inheritance tax breaks as a heterosexual married couple. Now, after the June 26th ruling, homosexual spouses can file joint tax returns, obtain tax-free health benefits from employers, and receive the federal marital deduction for inheritance taxes. The decision still left the lingering question of what happens for those same-sex spouses who move to a state that does not recognize gay marriage, but certainly the gay community saw this ruling as a great victory.


On September 9, 2013, 12 year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from the top of an abandoned concrete plant in Polk County, Florida. Sedwick allegedly chose to take her own life after enduring bullying from two girls at her school. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd charged the girls, ages 12 and 14, with aggravated stalking after an investigation uncovered evidence that the two had encouraged fellow classmates to fight Sedwick and also sent her harassing emails telling her to kill herself. This was the first time that charges of stalking have arisen from a case of bullying, which began when Sedwick and the 14 year-old had a dispute over a boy that both of them had dated. Despite Judd's continued assertion that there is evidence supporting that the two girls were bullying Sedwick, state prosecutors dropped all charges against them in mid-November. Sedwick's mother, however, has announced plans to sue the two girls and their families for wrongful death.
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