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The Glenville Democrat
Glenville, West Virginia
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January 1, 2009     The Glenville Democrat
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January 1, 2009
 

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Happy New Year, & beware: 'Pubfic Citizen X' may be looking at YOU/cont'd ... years, we wish you well in this high stress job. but hope that your recov- ery from the bout with cancer will be speedy. Also. we editors resolve to help the school board find more stu- dents to keep our county schools afloat, financially. To the county's high school and elementary school teachers and principals, we wish you the best in providing sound, creative and dy- namic instruction to our area's young- sters. Moreover. we applaud your continuing efforts to bolster the stu- dents' scholastic achievement in this small, rural county, which does not have the cultural advantages of larger cities. To the "Normantown Board of Education," we wish you the bestin landing the funding for that proposed new school and in preserving your old building for community center uses. Or, if the other elementary schools in the county come to face similar problems, consolidations of old schools into a new county-wide elementary school may be worth em- bracing to solve the problem. To BOE President Phyllis Starkey, we editors want to award you. once again, the Phyllis Starkey Bright Idea Award. You richly merit this for your idea to convert the old Nor- mantown School into a Community Center. Also. last year you got the award for wanting to start the Board meetings one-half hour in advance of the regular meetings, just to let the audience vent their complaints and anxieties. In that way, the same people probably won't get up at the actual B OE meetings and ask the same ques- tions, over and over again. To Gil.mer County High School Prin- cipal Nasia Butcher, we editors com- mend you for doing such a great job, not only in improving the test scores of the students, but also in getting so many grants for advancing the school's instructional areas. Gilmer County even though it's in a very rural and isolated area--provides its high school students with the finest in instruc- tional aids, due to these school-gener- ated grants. And. the principals of our schools make the difference: congratu- lations. Nasia! On other resolutions To Dr. Peter Barr. we congratulate you. as GSC's president, for what you're accomplishing at Glenville State. and wish you another success- ful year at the College. In 2008. your community service initiative tbr stu- dents remained a winner for making not only broader-knowledged learn- ers, but also better citizens of West Virginia and elsewhere. Also. your resolution to provide an affordable housing development for the faculty and community residents seems to be on target, even during these tough times in the housing market. At the same ume, we editors would hate for you to forget the non-college people of this county when it comes to extra- curricular programs. We'd hope that you would resolve in 2009 to make the Mollohan Campus "Community" Cen- ter a real center for community activi- ties. It could be one where the campus scholars could interact with commu- nity people. For example, by publiciz- ing and advertising your movie sched- ules, our townspeople could enjoy the movies as well the students and fac- ulty. (I, myself, missed a lot of good movies there last semester, due to not knowing about them.) To Betsy Bart. GSC's First Lady, commendations on your continuing archives projects? Also. you're in- volvement in community affairs is inspirational. Keep up the good work: you are appreciated? To GSC Board Chair Fred Rada- baugh, congratulations on complet- ing your first year as the Board of Governors' chairman The college is progressing under your enlightened and visionary leadership. Also. thank you for staying active in our commu- nity, particularly in helping to move forward the Historical Society, sev- eral area historical churches, and many cemeteries. Your leadership abilities and educational expertise, combined with your native-roots in Gilmer County, have enhanced both the col- lege and community. As a duo resi- dent of Gilmer and Kanawha coun- ties, Fred knows how much the Col- lege contributes to this entire region. state, and nation. To Glenville State College's per- sonnel, you need to resolve to keep trying to attract more students to the Glenville campus. The goal is to get 3.000 students on campus. The more students, the merrier? They add much youth, vitality and novel ideas to our entire Gilmer County community and local businesses. To the Gilmer County Economic Development Association, Presi- dent Tom Ratliff, congratulations on filling up the County's Industrial Park at Stout's Mills, and in your search for another Industrial Park site. Good luck? Also. for 2009, you need to resolve to help out the other volun- 00000000000000'i00izii00iiiiiz000000000000ilili00000000000000iiiiiiiiiiiii'iiiii 'iiii?iiiiiiiiii i iiiiiiii':'iiiiiiiiiiiiiii i 00iiiiiiiiiiii 0000iiiiiiiiii000000i00i ........................................ 11 ............................. ............... I0000000000ii!Letteriiiicenti000000iiiii0000.i.i00i00000000000000iiiiii00iiiii00i00i!!ii00ii00iiii00i00ii000000!iiiiii00iiiiiiiiii00ii00iiiiiiii0000iii00iiii00000000iii000000iii0000iiii00i00iiii0000iiiii00ii00ii000000iiiiiiiiiiii00iii000000iii0000iiiii00iiiii Part One: Federal Courts & West Virginia cont'd. ... were "habeas corpus procedures," and now [thanks to Anderson] there are also "modern habeas corpus proce- dures.")? O'neal v. McAninch, 513 U.S. 432, "Habeas corpus, technically speak- ing, is a civil procedure." What the heck does "technically speaking" mean? Explain it so a lay person can understand it. Is it still a civilproce- ddke "legally speaking" - how about "ethically speaking," or "logically speaking," or "reasonably speaking?" The finding in Bracy v. Gramley further adds to the confusion. "Ha- beas Corpus is a 'civil' action, but it's not the 'usual' civil action." Reclassifying challenges to acrimi- nal conviction as a civil action cer- tainly benefits a corrupt criminal jus- tice system. An indigent defendant can be blatantly denied al_..ll of his federal constitutional rights in a cor- rupt state court (e.g. the Marion County circus court and the state's "appellate" court), and when he ap- peals that miscarriage into federal court, his case mysteriously evolves into a "civil" action where there are no legislated guarantees to any of the constitutional rights he was denied by the state court. An ideal set-up for avoiding addressing 'convic- tions' brought about solely as a result of the "sound discrimina- tion" of West Virginia's judges. The problem is, of course, when those rights are willfully denied in the first instance, the only avenue through which these rights can still be made available to the accused is through the federal appeals system. Unlike a civil case where only civil liability is at stake, when errors oc- curring in a criminal proceeding are challenged, someone's freedom is at stake. It appears, even to this dumb hillbilly, that that fact alone would ,! ,! keep it out ofa civilaction arena. Most courts, and that includes the federal courts, are aware that a prob- lem exists, but nothing is done to correct it. The federal courts admit that habeas action has the same func- tion as ordinary appeal but still refuse to guarantee the criminal defendant (who may or may not be guilty and/or incarcerated legally) the same con- stitutional protections that he should have received, but was denied in errant state courts, i.e. discovery, experts, effective counsel, an unbi- ased tribunal, etc. As the habeas law stands, it falls to the petitioner at the onset of the pro- cess to file a habeas petition pro se with the courts. To do that, he must make himself familiar with state and federal court appellate rules, the AEDPA rules, rules of criminal and civil procedure, Title 28, U.S.C.A. 2254 habeas rules, and the rules con- cerning certiorari. He must be able to select among the various procedures available to him, determine to the limited extent possible the timing and order of those procedures, define the determinative factual and legal is- sues of his particular case, and gener- ally shape the form and substance of the litigation through devices typi- cally available to plaintiffs in "usual" civil actions but no longer available to him. Give me a break. The average West Virginia inmate has about as much chance as a hen at a hobo's picnic. Sixty to eighty per- cent of the inmates in this prison can't even spell most of the words in this paragraph, much less mull out their meanings. The continued adoption of more complicated ha- beas rules (i.e, the,/harmless error' rule) simply allows the corrupt sys- tem to continue to slip more and more undetected and uncorrected errors by the pro se petitioner. Realistically, however, until the fed- eral courts start demanding that West Virginia judges start obeying the law, it doesn't make much difference on way or the other. If the federal government would simply recognize the seriousness of the problem and be prudent enough to admit the reality that the'appeal' of a criminal action is still a continua- tion of that criminal action- less of what court it is in - and stop taking notice of it under civil appellate rules, overzealous or errant state courts would have to pay a little more atten- tion to the constitutional rights of those they try in a criminal court. The number of innocent people in prisons and on death rows throughout the nation who have been cleared bY DNA evidence alone should have opened someone's eyes. Do you think those who have been cleared by DNA are the only innocent citizens in prison? How many innocent people have died in prison? How many United States citizens have been wrongfully ex- ecuted in state prisons as a result of corrupt judges or prosecutors who sim- ply refuse to admit that they make mistakes? How many languish now in prisons because they don't have the education to fight a corrupt system or the money to buy its version of jus- tice? Can this be corrected? Sure it can, and it can be corrected very easily. 1. Either stop the arbitrary classifi- cation of the habeas corpus as purely civil in nature, or more realistically, simply recognize the obvious reality that a continuation of a criminal ap- peal is still a'criminal' action - in state or.federal court- and treat it as such. It isn't even necessary to change the habeas rules. Semantics are being accorded more importance than jus- tice. Who cares what you call it? Call if a writ of Hocus Pocus if you want to. That is all it amounts to in West Vir- ginia anyway. 2. in  criminal appeal, the fed- eral courts should recognize the same rights to effective counsel, to discov- ery and to what expert assistance the petitioner was denied in the state court. 3. And here is the motivator for errant state judges -- if the case is overturned in federal court or sent back to the state court for adjudica- tion, as a result of neglect or miscon- duct on the part of a state actor, the feds will bill the state for any costs accrued by the defendant who is found innocent. If the state refuses to pay, simply deduct it from the next federal monies sent into that state to help finance that state's ciminal justice or prison system. James Lucas, &It. Olive Correctional Facility, Montgomery (Editor's Note: The conclusion of Mr. Lucas's letter will be featured in next week's edition.) teer-based development initiatives. such as the Blueprint Communities, CreateWestVirginia, and the Re- cruitable Communities. not to for- get Glenville's Downtown Revital- ization & Beautification Movement. One key to bringing new businesses into our county is to help improve the appearance of our county, via these numerous volunteer efforts. To Scott Hacker, manager of the Best Western Glenville Inn. thanks for hosting the Business After 5 p. m. Social Hours during 2008. We edi- tors resolve to work with you and all area business people and community leaders to reactivate these informal forums to improve local business and community spirit. To the West Virginia University- Gilmer Extension Service. we com- mend you, once again, for your excel- lent youth programs, involving sev- eral hundred area children in whole- " some, learning, and fun activities. Fi- nally, keep up the good work with your instructive CEOS educational programs ? To our local civic, church, women's, youth and fraternal or- ganizations, we urge you to become more energetic in inviting the county's newcomers to memberships: you have so much to offer in benefits to our county that it would be a shame not to publicize yourselves more. The abil- ity of any community to move for- ward is measured by the strength of its civic, fraternal and church groups, because without their volunteerism, no civic events for the good of the community would be possible. To our Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Dept. and its many volunteers, thanks for the 2008 Firefighters Com- munity Christmas Parade and your summer Rodeo. These were whole- some family activities, and well worth the time and effort that you spent in pulling them off so well. To our Gilmer County businesses and industries, especially those new ones just getting started, we wish you all an increase in your firm's custom- ers, sales, and profits in 2009. (Editor's Note: Part 2 of this annual New Year's Resolutions column will be printed next week, if there are no major disaster in Gilmer.) SSS Save St$ Thursday, January 1.2009 The Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder Page 5 Not Everyone Calls Me Father By Edwin Daschbach SVD Islam and Christian Believers Are So Alike! There are remarkable similarities at work within the world of Islam belief and the world of Christian belief. In both cases, it is a battle waged between differing phi- losophies. We might validly describe the forces as fundamentalist vs. re- formist. The tension is certainly visible on the political level. Islam fundamen- talists concenve of and work for a society that is impregnated with Is- lamic government and law. There is no tolerance for plurality in religious belief. And adherents to the Islam religion living outside Islamic soci- etnes are to separate themselves from the secular societies in which they happen to be living. Countering this are Islam reformists who see much value in ideas of the Enlightenment. especially dignity and freedom of the individual, and want Muslims to blend in with modern society while still retaining their faith. Within Christianity, there are those who have a similar belief about reli- gion and society. They believe sal- vation is restricted to groups like theirs alone. Secular teachings such as evolution are to be banned and countered with the Bible story of Genesis even in public schools. Chris- tian unity is perceived as misleading and even diabolical, a preparation for their interpretation (see the Left_ Behind books of an end time sce- nario which is almost upon us. Countering this approacff are Christians who see a social and po- litical role for religion, but also a form ofseparat!on of church and state, who view God s offer of salvation as reaching out to all of humarfity, who work for the Christian unity they see Christ calling for the night before his death, and whose view of the Scrip- tures allows evolution and other dis- coveries of science. Most Muslims have traditionally viewed the Quran as an explicit dic- tation to Mohammed in the 7th cen- tury AD, and therefore one dimen- sional and fixed. That view fuels radi- cals and their agenda because of some things written in its pages. But mod- ern Islam scholars have discovered that the Quran was a book written over a long historical period, reflect- ing diverse sources and influences, and "retrojected" back into Mohammed's life. It is thus open to interpretation. Some Christians likewise see Scrip- ture as a divine dictation and there- fore infallible in all aspects of reli- gion, history and science. But other Christians follow biblical scholarship which shows that the Bible was writ- ten by a variety of authors over a thousand year period, using literary forms, and also "retrojecting" later insights back into earlier times. Certainly recognition of such simi- larities should help Muslims and Christians to understand one another better. i Father Ed can becontacted through his e-mail svdglenviUe@rtol.net High Speed Internet for ALL of rural America! 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