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New Zealand lawmaker has brick, note tossed through office door (AP 2005/09/13)
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- A New Zealand lawmaker accused political vandals on Tuesday of tossing a brick through the glass door of her electoral office in a small rural town.
Georgina Beyer, seeking a third three-year term as a center-left Labour legislator, said whoever threw the brick should save their protest for the ballot box in the Sept. 17 general elections.
The brick, which was thrown on Sunday in Masterton, 110 kilometers north of the capital, Wellington, had a note attached to it saying: "We don't forget what you've done, Parekura."
Beyer, part Maori, said she believes the message was for Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia and referred to the government's plans to nationalize the nation's entire shoreline.
Both lawmakers strongly supported the nationalization law.
Some indigenous Maori claim the shoreline is their land and is being confiscated by the government without compensation.
"Intelligent people would save their protest for the ballot" box, Beyer said.
Police are investigating the incident but Beyer said she has no fears for her safety.
Beyer, the nation's only transsexual lawmaker, was a former male prostitute and stripper who underwent a sex change.
She is expected to be returned to Parliament in the elections, despite trying to quit national politics twice in the past four years.
At the 2002 election she won by 6,000 votes, doubling her majority in the conservative rural constituency where she first entered public life in 1992 as a councilwoman and later mayor of a small town. (AP)
Election race turns nasty
13 September 2005
By OSKAR ALLEY - stuff.co.nz
The election campaign's final week has degenerated into more mud slinging after an extraordinary day of personal attacks, obscene phone calls, office vandalism and further anti-Government pamphlets linked to the Exclusive Brethren.
Labour was fighting off its own allegations last night after it was claimed that a minister smoothed the path of an overstayer who performed work on his holiday home.
Associate Pacific Island Affairs Minister Phillip Field rejected any suggestion his approach to Associate Immigration Minister Damien O'Connor was connected to tiling done at Mr Field's home in Samoa.
National, meanwhile, moved to get the election debate back on to tax, announcing plans for a temporary cut in petrol taxes of five cents a litre.
Labour is claiming that a second series of leaflets criticising the Government – due to be delivered to homes in the next few days – is again the work of the "secret seven" fundamentalist Christians outed for a $500,000 campaign championing the National Party.
The latest pamphlets state that thousands of people are leaving for Australia, attack Labour for not caring about the elderly or healthcare and suggest that voters spend their share of the Government's $7 billion surplus flying to Australia to watch the All Blacks play.
Some of the leaflets are again authorised by the fictitious New Zealand Advocates for Timely Healthcare, while others are authorised by names that appear to be fake.
Meanwhile, NZ First leader Winston Peters attacked his National opponent in Tauranga, Bob Clarkson, alleging the millionaire had been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint and an Inland Revenue investigation.
Mr Peters released details of a 1990 Inland Revenue investigation involving Mr Clarkson, including private details such as investments, life insurance and savings.
Mr Peters also claimed Mr Clarkson had been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint by a former female staffer.
Mr Clarkson – who is polling well ahead of Mr Peters – dismissed the allegations last night, saying: "Winston is now a slimeball out of the ditch. He's in panic mode and we don't need a politician that does this."
Mr Clarkson said that after an IRD investigation in 1990 he paid $30,000 in unpaid tax to the department, but no penalty payments were enforced. The investigation had focused on a businessman who had bought his business, not on him.
The National candidate confirmed he had been the subject of a sexual harassment claim, later withdrawn, in 2002 by a woman he fired because of her offensive language. She had sought $250,000 and Mr Clarkson's allegedly offensive comment was: "I bet my left testicle that the All Blacks win."
The woman was paid "about $30,000" which was solely for contractual obligations and had nothing to do with sexual harassment, Mr Clarkson said.
"My left testicle was a lot cleaner than her mouth."
National leader Don Brash – who had called for a final week of debating policies, not personalities – said Mr Peters was in "quite considerable danger" in Tauranga.
"I'm making it clear that he may be irrelevant after the election and if that is the case we may see the NZ First vote shrink even further."
National MP Katherine Rich meanwhile outlined the contents of 18 obscene and threatening telephone messages her office received from two men last Thursday night. The recorded messages, cleared by her electorate secretary, made references to gang sex, bestiality and a shotgun and Ms Rich.
The MP said she had not considered asking for protection or extra security measures.
Wairarapa MP Georgina Beyer – who is not contesting the seat this year – had a brick thrown through her Masterton office window early yesterday. A message tied to the brick read, "Parekura – we have not forgotten," in an apparent reference to the foreshore and seabed legislation.
Ms Beyer said the vandalism was pointless and wasted taxpayers' money to get it repaired.
Labour Party president Mike Williams defended fake eviction notices sent to 70,000 state house tenants, despite complaints to Housing NZ. The notices claimed National would sell state houses if elected.
Election 2005 - stuff.co.nz
Party lists for the 2005 General Election
Georgina Beyer (Labour Party)
Transgender community feels joy, anger at Araujo verdict
- Wyatt Buchanan, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
The Bay Area's transgender community was both heartened and disappointed with the verdicts in the Gwen Araujo murder trial Monday, praising the jury for delivering justice but wishing all three defendants had been found guilty of murder and a hate crime.
Leaders in the community said the jury's rejection of a "transgender panic" defense -- in which Araujo's gender identity absolved the men of some guilt in the crime -- represented significant progress.
"It sends a message that you can no longer blame the victim for what happened," said Cecilia Chung, deputy director of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco. "You can't blame a transgender person for being who she or he is."
The Araujo case has prompted public discourse about the transgender community and transgender issues.
Several thousand students in Bay Area schools have heard Araujo's mother speak about her daughter since the 2002 killing, and the case has received coverage in national and Bay Area media outlets, several of which developed policies on the use of pronouns and names in describing transgender people. The Chronicle, for example, now uses pronouns and names that are preferred by transgender individuals who have the physical attributes of the opposite sex.
Major Spanish-language outlets covered the case more than they had any previous crime with an LGBT victim, said Monica Taher, people of color media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"This was a huge story at the local and national level," Taher said. "Every time there was an update from the court, the (Spanish-language) media was there covering. I didn't see that with the Matthew Shepard case."
With support from a fund set up in memory of Araujo at the Horizons Foundation, Araujo's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, spoke to more than 20 schools and shared her story with students, teachers and school administrators.
"Sylvia changed people's minds," said Carolyn Laub, executive director of the Gay Straight Alliance Network, which coordinated Guerrero's speaking tour. "She changed their hearts about transgender and gay, lesbian and bisexual people. Her pain and her family's pain in this tragedy were able to spread a message about love and acceptance."
But even with the impact made by the Araujo case, members of the community, who held a press conference in front of an altar made for Araujo in the lobby of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Center Monday, said the verdicts gave only partial justice.
Thom Lynch, who heads the center, said he was left with the feeling that some lives are worth more than others.
"If this is not a crime of hate, I don't know what is," Lynch said.
Araujo's uncle David Guerrero, who attended the press conference, said the family would persevere through another trial and that "we've gotten the strength from her to go through this."
"I'm very proud of Gwen that she lived the life she lived," Guerrero said. "She wasn't afraid to live out of the closet and be who she was."
Gwen Smith, founder of Transgender Day of Remembrance and the Web site Rememberingourdead.org, which tracks the killing of transgender individuals, said Araujo's case was a wake-up call to the Bay Area that such crimes happen here. She said she was partially satisfied by the verdict.
"We don't have all we want today, but we've seen change, and damn it, we need to make more," Smith said.
Since Araujo's killing, four other transgender people have been slain in the Bay Area, but the cases remain unsolved, according to the Transgender Law Center.
"We would like to see justice and closure to these four cases in our own backyard," said Chung of the Transgender Law Center.
E-mail Wyatt Buchanan at email@example.com.
Page B - 2
2 Guilty of Killing Transgender Teen
The men bludgeoned and choked Gwen Araujo after accusing her of deceiving them about her biological identification.
By John M. Glionna
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 13, 2005
A Bay Area jury on Monday convicted two men of second-degree murder for killing transgender teenager Gwen Araujo at a party in October 2002 after they accused the 17-year-old of deceiving them into believing she was biologically female.
Michael Magidson and Jose Merel, both 25, face mandatory sentences of 15 years to life in prison, but were cleared of hate-crime charges in the killing.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Harry R. Sheppard declared a mistrial for a third man, Jason Cazares, after the jury announced it was deadlocked — the second time a jury was unable to reach a verdict involving the 25-year-old.
Jaron Nabors, a fourth defendant who was also present the night Araujo died, previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for testifying against the others.
When the verdicts were read about 3 p.m., Araujo's 22-year-old sister sobbed, said the victim's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, who squeezed her daughter's hand.
"I was a little surprised, but I felt good," she said later. "Two second-degree murder convictions, what more can you ask for? Nothing is going to bring Gwen back."
Attorneys for the three defendants could not be reached Monday.
But transgender advocates hailed Monday's verdicts. "This is a huge step in finding closure for the family and friends of Gwen Araujo," said Christopher Daley, director of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco. Others said the verdicts were unsatisfactory.
"Only some justice has been done," said Thom Lynch, executive director of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center. "The idea that hate was not a factor and that one person still walks free is just unimaginable."
Lynch said the jury had an opportunity to send a message that this kind of activity would not be tolerated.
"Unfortunately," he said, "that message did not get sent."
In the early hours of Oct. 4, 2002, after a night of heavy drinking, Magidson, Cazares and Merel confronted Araujo about her true biological identification, according to court testimony. Magidson and Merel had previously had sex with the teen.
Araujo, who lived as a girl and assumed the name of her favorite pop singer, Gwen Stefani, was attacked inside a dingy tract house in Newark, on the southern end of San Francisco Bay.
The victim was kicked and beaten with a soup can and an iron skillet, bludgeoned with a shovel and choked with a rope. Just before dawn, the three suspects allegedly buried Araujo near a secluded campsite in the Sierra foothills before ordering breakfast at a nearby McDonald's.
The first trial of the men, who often called themselves "the Three Stooges," ended in 2003 with the jury deadlocked on the charges.
Since her death, Araujo has taken on symbolic status in California's transgender community. Both trials, held in suburban Hayward, were often attended by transgender activists, who circulated details via e-mails and websites.
The day after the first trial ended, Guerrero legally changed her deceased child's name from Edward Araujo Jr. to Gwen Amber Rose Araujo.
In the second trial, which began in June, Cazares testified that he was outside the house when the killing took place and only helped bury the body. Merel's attorney said he was not guilty of anything more than felony assault.
Alameda County Deputy Dist. Atty. Chris Lamiero said Monday that the jury — which deliberated for seven days — did not buy the arguments. "I think the jury, by returning two verdicts of guilty for murder, clearly rejected the defense that this was manslaughter. I'm very pleased with that," he said.
He said jurors were divided 9 to 3 for convicting Cazares as well: "It's disappointing not to have a unanimous verdict on him as well, but I know the jury tried to work out their differences."
Lamiero said he has not decided whether to retry Cazares. But if there is another trial, Guerrero said that she will be there.
"I'll sit through 20 retrials," she said. "That's how much we loved Gwen. I'll continue until there's justice."
The New York Times
One Good Thing About Japan's Election
Published: September 13, 2005
Japanese voters rarely grant their political leaders personal triumphs as resounding as the one they handed to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Sunday. In a country long used to colorless politicians and fragile parliamentary majorities, Mr. Koizumi waged a dramatic campaign focused on privatization of a national postal service that doubles as the world's largest bank and the ruling party's principal slush fund for patronage and pork. As a result, his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition allies will hold a whopping two-thirds majority in the new parliament.
Unfortunately, the privatization of the banking side of Japan Post is not scheduled until 2017, more than a decade after Mr. Koizumi's scheduled departure from office. And Japan's reform-minded Democratic Party, which might have helped keep the pressure on, emerges from this election with its hope of being a strong opposition party apparently crushed. Mr. Koizumi is a committed reformer, but he will have to wage war against major elements of his party, which remains Japan's principal bastion of status quo politics and resistance to competition.
Postal privatization was virtually the only issue discussed during the 12-day election campaign. That gave a pass to Mr. Koizumi's unwise embrace of Japan's traditions of military nationalism. His visits to shrines where militarists were honored and his backing for more assertive military policies have understandably alarmed public opinion in Asia. Nationalist demagogues in places like China used them to whip up violent anti-Japanese sentiment.
Japan needs postal service privatization, two-party democracy and a more constructive relationship with its neighbors and trading partners. Only the first was advanced by Sunday's election.
2 found guilty in party killing of teen
Jury deadlocks on 3rd defendant in transgender case
- Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
An Alameda County jury found two men guilty Monday of second-degree murder in the killing of Newark transgender teenager Gwen Araujo but rejected allegations that the crime was committed with hate on the basis of her gender orientation.
The eight-man, four-woman jury, after deliberating for a week in the second trial in Araujo's slaying, agreed that Michael Magidson and Jose Merel, both 25, had beaten and strangled Araujo after learning that the person they had had sex with was biologically male.
But the panel deadlocked 9-3 in favor of a murder conviction on a third defendant, Jason Cazares, 25. Jurors left the Hayward courthouse through a back entrance and did not speak to reporters.
Merel and Magidson face sentences of 15 years to life in prison in the slaying, which occurred during a party in October 2002 that ended with the defendants burying Araujo in a shallow grave in the Sierra foothills. The case attracted nationwide media attention and thrust the issue of transgender rights into the spotlight. The first trial ended in June 2004 with the jury deadlocked on charges against all three men.
Araujo's family cheered the murder convictions.
"I know a lot of us are tired -- I'm tired," said Araujo's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, flanked by family members and prosecutor Chris Lamiero outside the Hayward Hall of Justice. "Nothing's going to bring Gwen back, I know that, but this is at least a step toward closure and healing for my family, which is desperately needed at this point."
The jury's rejection of the hate crime enhancement and its refusal to find Merel and Magidson guilty of first-degree murder disappointed transgender advocates.
Magidson showed no emotion when a court clerk read the verdicts in the packed courtroom of Judge Harry Sheppard. Magidson's attorney, Michael Thorman, reserved judgment until he learns in detail what led jurors to their decision.
Merel cried and hid his face in his hands. His attorney, William Du Bois, said, "I don't think the evidence supported it, plain and simple, and I can't imagine what evidence they used to come to this decision on Jose."
Both Magidson and Merel had testified for the first time in their retrial. Their attorneys said they were considering appealing the verdicts.
Cazares, the only defendant who had been free on bail, emerged from the courtroom in tears and hugged his wife, Lisa Munn. Asked whether he would enjoy his freedom, Cazares said, "Oh yeah, of course."
His attorney, J. Tony Serra, said jurors didn't believe the testimony of the prosecution's star witness, Jaron Nabors, who had claimed that all three men exploded in anger upon learning that Araujo was biologically male but had lived and identified as a young woman.
Serra said Nabors was culpable in the slaying and lied on the stand "to save his own skin."
"This was not a hate crime," Serra said. "It was not a killing because of gender."
Serra said a third trial against his client was unlikely because the community at large would be aware that a jury had deadlocked twice against Cazares.
Lamiero said jurors had returned verdicts that they believed were "just and appropriate."
"That's all we can ask," said Lamiero, who said it was difficult to summarize why the jury returned murder convictions when the first panel could not. "It evolved differently," he said of the second trial. "We learned things that we didn't necessarily know in the first case. The defenses were different."
At the retrial, Merel testified that he was disgusted to learn that Araujo wasn't the woman he thought he'd had sex with -- but said he did not want her to die that night. He reluctantly told jurors last month that Magidson had strangled Araujo.
Magidson testified that it was Nabors who admitted to him that he had killed Araujo, although Magidson had confessed to police on videotape that he had strangled Araujo.
Guerrero's attorney, Gloria Allred, said she believed the jury cleared Merel and Magidson of hate crime charges because the allegations are relatively new for juries in cases involving transgender victims. Over time, that might change, she said, as the public understands the plight of transgender individuals.
"Gwen was not there to deceive anyone," Allred said. "She had the right to live honestly."
Nabors testified at both trials that Merel and Magidson grew worried about Araujo's gender after having oral and anal sex with her in the weeks before the fatal confrontation during a party at Merel's home.
Nabors, 22, who led police to Araujo's body, was charged with murder but pleaded guilty in 2003 to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for testifying against his friends.
Earlier Monday, jurors told the judge they were deadlocked on one of the men, who was not named but turned out to be Cazares. The verdicts for Magidson and Merel had been sealed since Thursday.
The judge will sentence Magidson on Jan. 6. Merel will be back in court Oct. 28 to set a sentencing date. Prosecutors will announce at a Nov. 18 hearing whether they will retry Cazares.
E-mail Henry K. Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page A - 1
2 Convicted of Murdering Transgender Teen
Tuesday September 13, 2005 4:31 AM
By MICHELLE LOCKE
Associated Press Writer
HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) - Two men who had sex with a transgender teen and then discovered she was biologically male were convicted Monday of her murder, but cleared of hate crime charges.
Michael Magidson and Jose Merel, both 25, face mandatory sentences of 15 years-to-life in prison for second-degree murder in the killing of Gwen Araujo, who was beaten, tied up and strangled.
The jury was deadlocked in the case of a third man, Jason Cazares, 25, marking the second time a mistrial was declared in his case.
The victim's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, expressed satisfaction with the two guilty verdicts.
``Nothing is going to bring Gwen back. I know that. But this is at least a step toward closure,'' she said.
Araujo, 17, was born a boy named Edward but grew up to believe her true identity was female. The defendants, who knew her as Lida, met her in the summer of 2002. Magidson and Merel had sexual encounters with her, experiences that fueled suspicions about Araujo's gender.
The issue boiled over in the early hours of Oct. 4, 2002, in a confrontation at Merel's house in the San Francisco suburb of Newark.
In the first trial, the three defendants stuck together, with their lawyers attacking the chief prosecution witness, Jaron Nabors, who was also at the house the night Araujo died but was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter.
But in the second trial, the defendants' united front cracked, with Merel implicating Magidson.
Nabors testified at both trials that Araujo was savagely attacked after her biological identity was revealed when her underwear was pulled aside. He said he didn't see the killing but saw Magidson pull a rope toward the teen's neck.
Magidson testified that he beat and tied up Araujo, adding that while he couldn't remember large parts of the night he was sure he had not strangled her. He said Nabors was the killer and his attorney asked for a manslaughter conviction.
But Merel, testifying for the first time, broke down and cried when prosecutor Chris Lamiero asked him directly if Magidson had admitted strangling Araujo. He testified that Magidson had told him ``if push came to shove'' Merel should identify Magidson as the killer.
Magidson's sentencing was set for Jan. 6. Attorneys are to discuss setting a date for Merel on Oct. 28.
Magidson's attorney, Michael Thorman, said his client would appeal the latest verdict.
An autopsy found that Araujo died of asphyxiation associated with head injuries.
Nabors testified that Merel smashed Araujo in the head with a can and hit her with a pan. Merel said he slapped Arroyo and hit her a glancing blow with the pan, but he denied seriously injuring her.
Merel's lawyer, William Du Bois, said he was shocked by the murder verdict, especially since Lamiero had said he didn't think Merel was the killer. If Merel was guilty of anything, Du Bois said, it was felony assault.
Cazares said he was outside the house when the killing took place and only helped bury the body in a shallow grave in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Two Guilty of Murder in Death of a Transgender Teenager
By CAROLYN MARSHALL
Published: September 13, 2005 - New York Times
HAYWARD, Calif., Sept. 12 - A jury convicted two men of murder on Monday but deadlocked on the fate of a third man in the retrial of three defendants charged with killing a 17-year-old transgender teenager in October 2002.
The two - Michael W. Magidson and Jose A. Merel, both 25 - were found guilty of second-degree murder for the death of Gwen Araujo, who was born as a male named Eddie Araujo Jr., but who frequently wore women's clothing and lived as a women.
After the verdict was read, Mr. Magidson bowed his head and Mr. Merel slowly shook his. They face sentences of 15 years to life in prison.
The jury found both men not guilty of committing a hate crime.
The actions of the third man, Jason Cazares, also 25, confounded a jury for the second time in two years. The panel, which heard the case for several months in a packed Alameda County Superior Court room, told Judge Harry R. Sheppard that they were hopelessly deadlocked on the fate of Mr. Cazares.
Jurors had been deliberating for seven days in the retrial of Mr. Magidson, of Fremont, and Mr. Merel and Mr. Cazares, both of Newark. The three were charged with first-degree murder and with committing a hate crime, although the jury had the option of finding the men guilty of lesser charges, including manslaughter.
The police found the victim's body in October 2002, buried in a three-foot-deep grave in El Dorado County in a remote area of the Sierra Nevada foothills about 120 miles east of San Francisco. She had been bound, bludgeoned and strangled on Oct. 4.
According to court testimony, Ms. Araujo's mother had reported her missing two weeks earlier and just a few days after the 17-year-old youth had attended a party at a house in Newark, then rented by Mr. Merel and his older brother.
The Alameda County deputy district attorney, Chris Lamiero, argued during the retrial that the men attacked and battered Ms. Araujo after they discovered from a friend that the girl with whom several had had a sexual encounter was, in fact, a biological male.
Mr. Lamiero's key witness to the crime was a fourth defendant, Jaron C. Nabors, 22, of Newark. Mr. Nabors was also charged with murder but agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against the other three men.
His testimony revealed that all of the men, except Mr. Cazares, had a sexual encounter with the teenager. The jury of eight men and four women began its deliberations on Aug. 30 and on Thursday alerted Judge Sheppard that decisions had been reached on two of the defendants. The verdicts and identities of the men were withheld pending a decision on the third man.
During the three-month trial, the prosecutor told jurors that Ms. Araujo had been murdered by the men in what he considered a brutal hate crime. The prosecutor argued that Mr. Magidson strangled the teenager, Mr. Cazares beat in her skull with a shovel, and Mr. Merel followed along because he said he felt intimidated.
The lawyers for the defendants in part argued that the death of Ms. Araujo was a crime of passion that did not merit a charge of first-degree murder. The lawyer for Mr. Cazares, the defendant on whom the jury deadlocked, argued that his client was not even present during the murder, because he was outside having a cigarette.
All three men testified during the retrial. But only Mr. Cazares took the stand at the first trial, in June 2004, when the jury deadlocked after 10 days of deliberation, leading to a mistrial.
Posted on Mon, Sep. 12, 2005
Two found guilty of 2nd degree murder in Araujo case, jury deadlocks on third man
By Yomi S. Wronge
San Jose Mercury News
An Alameda County jury this afternoon convicted two defendants for the killing of a transgender Newark teenager, but deadlocked on the third defendant.
Capping the second trial in the Gwen Araujo case, the jury found Michael Magidson and Jose Merel guilty of second degree murder in verdicts unsealed this afternoon in Hayward. But the four-woman, eight-man jury deadlocked 9-3 in favor of a second degree murder conviction for Jason Cazares.
Judge Harry Sheppard declared .wa mistrial in Cazares' case. It will be up to the Alameda County District Attorney to decide whether to pursue a third trial against him.
Magidson and Merel could received 15 years to life in prison.
This was the second trial for the three men, who grew up in southern Alameda County. Last year a mistrial was declared after a previous jury deadlocked on charges against Magidson, Cazares and Merel, who are all 25 years old. The district attorney's office refiled the charges, and the second trial began June 1.
The jury had been deliberating since Aug. 31. By last week, they had reportedly reached verdicts on two defendants, but reportedly had reached an impasse on the third defendant.
Defense lawyers in the first trial seemed to work in tandem, at once attacking the credibility of the state's star witness -- Jaron Nabors, a fourth man who was part of the killing and struck a deal with prosecutors to avoid a lengthy prison sentence -- and asserting that Gwen's killing was manslaughter, a lesser offense committed in the heat of passion by young men suddenly and violently confused about their own sexuality.
Cazares was the only defendant to take the stand during the first trial. All three testified in their own defense in the retrial.
Magidson told jurors that Nabors killed Gwen, Merel said Magidson told him he killed the victim, and Cazares said he was outside Merel's Newark house smoking when the slaying occurred. Magidson confessed to killing following his arrest, but during the retrial he said he did not strangle Gwen and made the confession out of misguided loyalty to his friend.
According to prosecutor Chris Lamiero, Gwen was killed at Merel's house in the early morning hours of Oct. 4, 2002. She was choked, punched, bound and gagged by Magidson, whose raged boiled over when he discovered he had been intimate with a biological male.
A medical examiner has determined that Gwen died of blunt trauma and asphyxiation due to strangulation.
Cazares, he asserted, helped Magidson by keeping things under control until other witnesses left the scene and by retrieving shovels from his own house to bury the teen.
The group drove to South Lake Tahoe and buried the body in a shallow grave. On the way home, the guys stopped for breakfast at McDonald's, where they swore one another to secrecy.
J. Tony Serra, Cazares' attorney, said the defendants were caught up in extraordinary circumstances: the discovery that girl they had sex with was anatomically male, igniting a '' classic crime of passion.''
And defense lawyers collectively attacked Nabors, alleging he was more involved in the killing than he or the prosecution indicated.
Contact Yomi S. Wronge at email@example.com or (408) 920-5744.
Posted on Mon, Sep. 12, 2005
Timeline of the case
ARAUJO CASE TIMELINE It's been almost three years since Gwen Araujo was killed in a Newark house. Here are some important dates in the case:
Oct. 4, 2002: 17-year-old Gwen Araujo killed in Jose Merel's Newark home. Her body is buried near South Lake Tahoe.
Oct. 18: Merel, Michael Magidson and Jaron Nabors arrested and charged with murder.
Nov. 18: A fourth suspect, Jason Cazares of Newark, is arrested and charged with murder.
Feb. 24, 2003: Nabors agrees to testify for the prosecution and plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
April 14, 2004: First trial of Cazares, Magidson and Merel begins in a Hayward courtroom.
June 22: Mistrial declared after jury deadlocks on first- and second-degree murder charges.
June 1, 2005: Retrial begins.
Today (September 12): Jury convicts Magidson and Merel of second degree murder, but deadlocks 9-3 in favor of second degree murder for Cazares. Mistrial declared in the Cazares case.
The Washington Post
California's Solons Lead
Tuesday, September 13, 2005; Page A26
THE CALIFORNIA General Assembly last week became the first state legislature to allow same-sex marriages. In a close vote, it sent a historic bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) that would go a step beyond the state's broad domestic partnership rights. Mr. Schwarzenegger promptly declared that he would veto the bill, so it won't become law. But the legislature's action is an important milestone. While the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court permitted same-sex marriage in that state and legislatures have created civil unions elsewhere, the vote is the first time that a state legislature has acted on its own to create marriage equality.
The importance of the California vote in the politics of same-sex marriage is hard to overstate. After the Massachusetts court ruling, opponents of same-sex marriage decried the court's willingness to make policy on contested social issues. Such questions, they argued, were the rightful province of legislatures, not courts. President Bush even pegged his disgraceful endorsement of a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the likelihood of "activist judges" depriving the people of democratic choice on the matter. The California legislature's decision gives the lie to the notion that only imperial judges would foist such a social policy on a state.
Only five years ago, voters in California overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative to refuse recognition to same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The recent legislative action reflects genuinely changed public sentiment; polls on the matter show voters evenly split.
In an ironic twist, Mr. Schwarzenegger is trying to punt the matter back to the courts, where challenges to current California law are pending. In announcing his decision to veto the bill, he suggested that the new law conflicts with the old initiative -- which would be unconstitutional -- and that "the matter should be determined not by legislative action . . . but by court decision or another vote of the people of our state."
The governor could not be more wrong. Legislation is actually the best way to move forward in this area. And further ballot initiatives that will attempt to write an exclusively heterosexual definition of marriage into the California constitution and, along the way, wipe out the state's progressive domestic partnership laws, are already in the works in any event. A lot of work remains to be done before marriage equality in California becomes a reality.
But the legislative action last week remains an important symbol -- at once a rebuke to those states that have reacted to the Massachusetts decision by writing discrimination into their fundamental laws and a gentle reminder to those who see hope for progress only in the courts that legislatures can still be engines for positive change.
USA > Domestic Politics
from the September 13, 2005 edition
Will California's gay marriage bill spur similar measures elsewhere?
California Lawmakers approve same-sex marriage, but the governor promises a veto.By Daniel B. Wood | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
LOS ANGELES – The latest struggle over who decides the legality of gay marriage - citizens, lawmakers, or the courts - played out in the nation's most populous state last week. The California legislature was the first to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, although Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto it.
The political stand-off raises legal issues specific to California, state and national observers say. The legislature's attempt to broaden the definition of marriage is in direct conflict with a citizens' initiative passed in 2000 defining legal marriage as between a man and woman only. That citizen's initiative itself, Proposition 22, is also being challenged in court.
But the recent move by Sacramento legislators emphasizes what some observers see as a shift in public opinion that appears to be more accepting of gay marriage. Still, others anticipate the bill could add to the backlash against the gay-marriage movement that prompted 11 states to ban same-sex marriage through ballot initiatives last year. Indeed, California conservative groups have heightened efforts to place an initiative before voters that would recognize heterosexual unions only.
National pollsters report more acceptance of gays and lesbians in a variety of other contexts. What happens in California could set the tone for how other states deal with the issue legislatively.
"There will be lurches backward and forward as some states throw up roadblocks to such arrangements and others embrace them," says Elizabeth Garrett, a law professor at University of Southern California who tracks state initiatives. "But overall the support for civil unions is getting stronger and stronger."
A recent statewide poll here shows that voters are evenly split (about 46 percent for, and 46 against) same-sex marriage. Five years ago, 61 percent of voters backed the initiative that defined marriage as between a man and woman. "Moves by the California legislature are part of the national trend toward greater equality for same-sex couples that has been growing coast to coast for the past few years," says Ms. Garrett.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom reignited the issue here last fall when he directed city officials to permit same-sex marriage licenses. Hundreds of couples who obtained the licenses in San Francisco later learned their nuptials were declared invalid by a court ruling that said a mayor could not ignore state law.
Some social conservative groups reject the analysis that public attitudes are shifting to embrace same-sex marriage. They claim that public opinion polls were roughly 50-50 before the Proposition 22 vote, but that the measure's overwhelming victory was a truer litmus test.
"The only vote that counts is at the ballot box, and the people spoke clearly on Prop. 22," says Karen England, of Capitol Resources Institute, a Sacramento group that advocates for family issues. "This legislature knows what the people feel and were afraid to put their measure to a public vote, which they could have done. Instead they are trying to make an end run around the will of the people."
Governor Schwarzenegger is being accused of political posturing with his veto to protect his conservative base in the face of declining approval ratings. But whatever ensues with the legal and political wrangling here, national gay and lesbian rights groups say they are encouraged by the legislature's move.
"Like activities in Massachusetts and Connecticut which have kept the issue alive despite negative attacks, the California measure is a teachable moment," says Seth Kilborn, marriage project director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay/lesbian political organization. "It is an opportunity to talk to voters about why same-sex marriage is important."
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Conservatives Lash Out At Arnold Over Gay Marriage
by Mary Ellen Peterson 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau
Posted: September 12, 2005 5:00 pm ET
(San Francisco, California) As California gays and lesbians ratchet up pressure to get Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to change his mind on vetoing gay marriage legislation conservatives are voicing their displeasure at his explanation for turning down the measure.
Groups supporting twin proposals to amend the state constitution to bar gay marriage are specifically angry at Schwarzenegger for suggesting the issue should be settled by the courts or voters. While they applaud sending it to the electorate they are accusing the governor of defying Republican reasoning by suggesting the issue should be put to the California Supreme Court.
The Republican mantra, since the Massachusetts court ruling allowing same-sex marriage, has been that the courts are ruled by "activist judges".
"It's not an issue for the courts — he's inviting judicial activism and that's what we're opposed to," Rich Ackerman, of the Pro-Family Legal Center told Fox news.
Randy Thomasson, president of the California Campaign for Families - the group behind one of the proposed amendments - said, "it should not be left up to the courts ... Californians are fed up with politicians and judges attacking their wishes, attacking their vote," he said, referring to Proposition 22.
"I've never heard of any Republican who's actually looking to the courts to decide," said Peter LaBarbera, head of Protect Marriage Illinois, which is trying to get a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in that state.
"That's sort of a naïve view, or just passing the buck," he added.
In addition to attacks from the core base of the Republican Party the moderate California Council of Churches and California Church IMPACT are urging Schwarzenegger to alter course and sign the gay marriage bill.
"People believe that all Christians are opposed to same-sex marriage. That is not at all accurate," said Rev. Schlosser Executive Director of both organizations.
"This bill is completely responsive to the differing views and allows churches to follow their own conscience regardless of what they believe. It is an honorable means to achieving a fully democratic and fair society with all views having the freedom of conscience. We urge the Governor to sign this important and historic bill."
The criticism is an indication that Schwarzenegger's position has eroded support for his reelection.
Meanwhile, Equality California, the state's largest LGBT civil rights group, announced ‘Twelve Days of Equality’, a a statewide campaign aimed at showing Schwarzenegger same-sex couples and their families need greater protections than those provided for in the domestic partnership law, which the governor supports.
“The clock is now running, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has a decision to make about his legacy,” said EC Executive Director Geoffrey Kors.
“Marriage equality legislation now awaits the Governor and our community has an opportunity to let him know that hundreds of thousands of families need him to stand with us on the right side of history.”
Twelve Days of Equality will involve a series of daily grassroots actions to educate local communities about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. One action each day will generate a million actions before the marriage equality bill reaches the Governor’s desk.
So far, though, the governor has shown no sign of changing his position.
ロバーツ氏「偏見持たず」…米最高裁長官承認の公聴会 (読売 2005/09/13)
野党、中絶問題で追及へ 米最高裁長官の承認審議 (共同 2005/09/13)
米最高裁長官、承認めぐり米議会で審議 (TBS 2005/09/13)
米連邦最高裁長官 憲法観反映 終身の影響力 後継指名に注目 (朝日 2005/09/13朝刊)
World > Europe
Not so easy to follow where Thatcher led
By Tony Barber, Jan Cienski, Leslie Crawford, Paivi Munter, Frederick Studemann and John Thornhill
Published: September 13 2005 03:00 | Last updated: September 13 2005 03:00 - Financial Times
While Angela Merkel may be poised to join a small pantheon of women who have led European - and world - governments, the fate of her predecessors shows that breaking the gender barrier does not ensure permanent political equality among the sexes.
Margaret Thatcher, the first female government leader in the UK and of any G7 country, remains an isolated beacon of female political success in the UK; 15 years after her resignation, nary another British woman is near the government pinnacle.
In France, women in politics still must live down Edith Cresson and her legendary gaffes as prime minister in 1991-92, notably her observations that most British men were homosexuals and the Japanese were "ant-like". Her comeback a few years later at the European Commission was cut short when she became embroiled in one of the worst scandals to hit Brussels.
In Italy, women are conspicuous at the highest level of Italian politics mostly by their absence. Only two women serve as ministers in the 26-member centre-right government. The balance is little better within thecentre-left opposition.
Women are well represented in governments of Nordic countries; Finland will next year mark the 100-year anniversary of women's right to vote, and women have held the top political position in three of the five Nordic countries - Norway, Finland and Iceland.
That, in turn, has helped lead to far greater - and more successful - efforts at getting women into corporate boardrooms and in executive seats than in other countries in Europe.
In eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, women have made little political headway since the collapse of communism, which had imposed "equality" on paper but not in daily life or in government.
Indeed, among virtually all European countries, women largely appear to have plateaued, at the political level, after the 1970s. Back then, women successfully led the political charge on a number of issues - family planning, abortion, the environment and part-time work among others.
Few women, however, took the helm of theirparties. Even under Mrs Thatcher, no flagbearer for those issues, only one wom-an minister served at cabinet level - briefly - during her rule from 1979 to 1990. Today, under Tony Blair, six of the 21 cabinet ministers are women; none during his eight years in office has held one of the three powerful offices of state - finance, foreign or home affairs.
In parliament the number of women MPs has risen steadily over the last two decades; still, women make up barely 20 per cent of the total membership of parliament.
For Estelle Morris, a former British cabinet min-ister, the failure of Mr Blair's Labour party to make politics more appealing to women has been the one of his worst failures.
"My experience at senior levels of politics really did lend me to believe that the cultural climate has not changed," she said. "The political bit of Downing Street, in terms of the advisers and so on, is very macho," she added.
The result, she said, is that women were turned off by politics which is seen as blighted by a macho "shouting culture" of debate and inability to deal with differences of opinion and an aggressive style of media reporting.
Spanish women have overcome the macho shouting barrier, although their trailblazer was known for her shout: Dolores Ibárruri, "La Pasionaria", the coal miner's daughter who rallied Madrid's besieged population against Gen Francisco Franco's troops with the cry of "No pasarán!" (They shall not pass). Franco's forces did, however, and for the next 40 years, women were chained to the kitchen sink.
These days, Spanish women are rapidly making up for lost time, in government and at work.
In theory, Spain's two main political forces - the Socialist and Popular parties - are committed to equal representation in parliament. But fielding enough female candidates has been a bit of a struggle. In the Cortes, or lower house of parliament, about one-third of deputies are women. About one-quarter of the Senate is female.
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister who describes himself as a feminist, struck a blow for gender equality by appointing eight women to his 16-member cabinet when he won power last year. Their performance in government, like those of their male colleagues, has been uneven.
María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, Spain's deputy prime minister, is perhaps the most respected figure in Mr Zapatero's team. Tough, phenomenally hard-working and shockingly blunt in her public pronouncements, Ms Fernández, a 56-year-old judge, terrifies her malecolleagues and opposition MPs.
The same cannot be said for Gloria Calvo, education and culture minister, or Maria Antonia Trujillo, housing minister, whose gaffes are the butt of many political jokes. But sexism, in the new, politicallycorrect Spain, is not necessarily at work here. Mr Zapatero's men are lampooned with equal glee when they make mistakes.
The Spanish right also takes women seriously. José María Aznar, the former prime minister, promoted many women to high office, including Ana Palacio as foreign minister, and her sister Loyola, who became an EU commissioner.
Italian women are not so lucky.
"On the domestic front, Italy has made significant progress in empowerment," said Stefania Prestigiacomo, minister for equal opportunities, in a speech last March. "But in our society, although women play a larger and more prominent role, the 'glass ceiling' has remained intact, restraining women's participation in local and national elective offices."
Still, the widespread sexism and discrimination in the Italian workplace also is prevalent in government. The press and her colleagues appear more interested in Ms Prestigiacomo's supposed flirtations or hairstyle than in the issues she espouses.
In the lower house of parliament, only 11.5 per cent of legislators are women, placing Italy 29th in a 41-nation European league table. In the Senate, parliament's upper house, 8 per cent of legislators are women. Of the governors of Italy's 20 regions, only two are women.
That said, some of the most familiar faces on Italy's political scene belong to women. Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of dictator Benito Mussolini, is a prominent far-right politician who rarely shirks from advocating women's causes.
Reporting by Tony Barberin Rome, Jan Cienski inWarsaw, Leslie Crawford in Madrid, Päivi Munterin Stockholm, FrederickStudemann in London and John Thornhill in Paris
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