Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Year IV, Edition 056

This edition includes 8 news items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.

"You can see fear in their faces."

--Hatim George, a Baghdad aid worker, talking about several hundred children with disabilities who are experiencing the bombing raids from inside six Iraqi institutions (First story)

"The public loved it."
--Tina Leary, an electrical engineering graduate student at University of Nevada, Reno whose team designed a device that will catch cars parked illegally in designated accessible parking areas (Third story)



Children With Disabilities Caught In Middle Of Iraq Conflict

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 25, 2003

BAGHDAD, IRAQ--While U.S. and Allied forces bomb government buildings and other installations in the Iraqi capital, hundreds of children with disabilities are facing the war from inside several nearby institutions, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

International relief organizations are working to deliver food from local reserves and from nearby Jordan to the facilities which house 900 children with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other disabilities. In the past few days, Iraqi UNICEF workers have managed to deliver tinned meat, wheat, rice, milk, and high-protein biscuits to the six institutions, four of which are in central Baghdad, the other two of which are in Karbala to the south.

When the bombing started last week, some of the children were sent to stay with family members until the end of the conflict. Most of those who remain are either orphans or children who had been abandoned by their parents.

Geoff Keele, a U.N. Children's Fund spokesman, told the AP that two UNICEF staff members visited the institutions over the weekend.

"The children could hear the explosions from their rooms," said Baghdad aid worker Hatim George, of the nightly and now daily bombing raids.

None of the facilities had been damaged, nor had the children been directly injured. George explained he was worried, however, about the psychological harm the children are suffering.

"Some of the children appear to have been traumatized by the sounds of bombing going on outside," said George.

"You can see fear in their faces."

Institutional staff members, who are staying at the homes 24 hours a day, told George they are worried that they will not be able to maintain adequate child-care standards much longer if the raids continue.



Phone Tip Changes 'Routine' Death To 'Suspicious'

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 25, 2003

NORWALK, OHIO--Charles Wieber Jr, 70, died on February 5 and his body was buried a few days later in a Sandusky cemetery.

Everything seemed routine until a few weeks ago when Huron County Sheriff's detectives received a tip suggesting they look into how Wieber was treated prior to his death. Sheriff's officials then opened up an investigation into the circumstances before Wieber died, the Morning Journal reported.

On March 18, Wieber's body was exhumed and the following day the Lucas County Coroner's office performed an autopsy.

Preliminary results show Wieber died from pneumonia, however further microscopic studies are pending, the coroner explained.

Wieber had mental retardation and a degenerative disease. At the time of his death, he had been staying with care providers arranged for by his mother, Lucille Wieber Sutorius, before her death last fall.

Sheriff's Detective Dane Howard said one or two suspects have been questioned in connection with the case.

"Primarily, the core of the investigation surrounds how he was treated before his death," Howard said.



Students Design Gadget To Catch Parking Violators

March 25, 2003

RENO, NEVADA--The following two paragraphs are excerpts from a brief item in Tuesday's Las Vegas Sun:

A team of engineering students at the University of Nevada, Reno has designed a device to dissuade able-bodied motorists from parking in handicapped spaces.

Called HandiCapture, it uses a transmitter imbedded in a vehicle license plate or handicapped placard. A pole mounted receiver at the space checks for the signal. If none is received, a photo of the driver and the license plate is taken when the driver pulls out.

Full article:
"UNR team designs device to nab illegal parkers" (Las Vegas Sun)



Charges Thrown Out For Son Who 'Confessed' To Double-Murder

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 25, 2003

BERRYVILLE, ARKANSAS--Murder charges have been dropped against a man who had been accused of shooting to death his adoptive parents.

Kevin Senneca had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the January 31, 2001 deaths of Joe and Linda Senneca. Police believed that Kevin Senneca shot the couple and then staged the scene to look like a murder-suicide, including forging his father's suicide note.

Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Alan Epley dropped the charges Monday after tests revealed that, while there were traces of gunpowder on both of his father's hands, Kevin Senneca had no gunpowder residue on his hands. Also, three handwriting experts determined that Joe Senneca had written the suicide note himself.

Judge Epley ruled in a previous hearing that a confession Kevin Senneca gave to police could not be used because Senneca did not knowingly waive his Miranda rights to have an attorney present or to remain silent.

Testimony indicated that Senneca, who reportedly has mental retardation and an IQ of 65, may not have understood his rights or statements he gave to police. As a result, he may have been misled into confessing to the crime in 2001.

Related article:
"Judge Halts Carroll County Murder Case" (The Morning News)

Related resource:
"Overturned Murder Convictions" (Inclusion Daily Express)



Supreme Court May Clarify Standards For Death Penalty Lawyers

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 25, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC--The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a death penalty case Monday in which the defendant claims he was misrepresented by his defense attorneys.

A jury convicted Kevin Wiggins of murder for the 1988 drowning death of 77-year-old Florence Lacs. It later sentenced Wiggins to die for the crime.

Wiggins claims that during the sentencing proceedings, his trial attorneys continued to argue that he was innocent, instead of presenting evidence of the neglect and repeated physical and sexual abuse he endured as a child -- evidence that might have caused the jury to give him the lesser sentence of life in prison.

"I can't find a word about the sexual abuse," Justice Stephen Breyer said Monday. "I can't find a word about the frightful things" later investigations turned up.

Wiggins has been described as having a personality disorder, and being "borderline mentally retarded", even though he has scored 82 on IQ tests and appeared to understand and handle his case well in court.

The Court is being asked to clarify standards for defense attorneys who handle death penalties.

"Death penalty recipient had bad defense, high court told" (Associated Press via Oakland Tribune),1413,82~1865~1268257,00.html



Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires access to electronic and information technology procured by Federal agencies. The Access Board developed accessibility standards for the various technologies covered by the law. These standards have been folded into the Federal government's procurement regulations.



Quote worth noting:
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him or to him.
--Thomas Edison, American inventor


Here is a list of the other disability-related news stories you might have missed Tuesday:


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Dave Reynolds, Editor