City pays $20,000 to protesters
Upper Arlington, OH — Up-per Arlington has paid $20,000 in damages and attorney fees to a group of pro-life activists for violations of their First Amendment rights.
The city settled a lawsuit against them which was filed after the city had threatened to arrest picketers outsaide the home of abortionist Raymond Robinson in 1992. The threat was made despite the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Frisby v. Schultz in which the high court deemed it unconstitutional for local ordinances to prohibit generalized neighborhood picketing as opposed to "focused" pickets. The Upper Arlington ordinance sought to prohibit all residential pickets.
In another demonstration, police handcuffed and held two picketers until the others agreed to leave.
A District Court modified the ordinance creating a "bubble zone" around Robinson's home. But the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ordinance unconstitutional on its face. The Circuit Court relied on the Frisby decision. The U.S. Supreme Court let that ruling stand.
"Many, many times, I have stood by as pro-life advocates are lectured by judges, prosecutors, and police officers about not being above the law," said Thomas Condit, attorney for the pro-life group. "But in this case it was the government that thumbed its nose at the law."
FL doctor charged in death of patient
Sebring, FL, — A Florida doc-tor was indicted for first degree murder on November 21 for administering a heart-stopping drug that led to a lung cancer patient's death.
Dr. Ernesto Pinzon, 36, is accused of injecting potassium chloride into the vein of Rosario Gurrieri, a 70-year-old terminal lung cancer patient at Highlands Medical Center on Oct. 6.
Pinzon was arrested in neighboring Polk County shortly after the grand jury's presentment, and was being held in the Highland County jail overnight for first court appearance on November 22.
According to the indictment, Pinzon initially ordered morphine to ease Gurrieri's pain, but raised the suspicion of a nurse, who felt the dose prescribed would be lethal. The nurse refused to comply, and according to the indictment, "Dr. Pinzon...personally administered a series of morphine and valium shots.
"Then, even when Mr. Gurrieri no longer appeared to be in pain, Dr. Pinzon injected potassium chloride into Mr. Gurrieri's vein ... and Mr. Gurrierri died," the indictment said.
The jury also heard that when asked by a nursing supervisor the next day why he administered a drug used by some states as lethal injections for capital offenders, Pinzon replied "It was to make the patient's heart stop."
Testimony from the Office of the Medical Examiner indicated there was no medical reason to administer potassium chloride.
The jury also heard that Gurrieri had a living will that indicated only medication for pain in the event of terminal illness.
Lt. Susan Benton of the Highlands County Sheriff's Department said deputies had trailed Pinzon throughout the day, and arrested him once advised of the grand jury's finding.
Florida law does not provide for bond on first degree murder, and a trial date has not yet been set.
Last month, the Florida Medical Association issued an emergency order suspending Pinzon's license to practice.
His attorney, Roger Craig was unavailable for comment, but told local media that Pinzon is a Catholic, and opposed to euthanasia.
The grand jury concluded its presentment on a similar, but more ominous note.
"We want to make it clear that this is not a case of pain management gone awry or of doctor assisted suicide. Nor is it a matter of a doctor acting on the basis of a living will or family member wishes...(however) we think there is probable cause to believe that acting alone, he committed the willful, premeditated, and unjustified murder of Rosario Gurrieri."