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

Friday, March 26, 2004
Year V, Edition 900

Today's front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for 37 more news items.

"It's a really sad situation and Jose pays the price, just like other prisoners do."

--The ACLU's Paula Knudson, talking about Jose Carcamo, a Honduran man with mental illness who was released from a Pennsylvania prison after 13 months with no trial (First story)

"Access is not always physical in the sense of a ramp, often it's people's attitudes. That train wasn't inaccessible, the train manager's attitude made it inaccessible."
--Tim Dempsey, who had to crawl onto an Auckland, New Zealand commuter train because the manager told him the train was too late to get a ramp (Second story)



Honduran Man Released After 13 Months With No Trial

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 26, 2004

CHAMBERSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA--Jose Carcamo was released from the Franklin County Prison Wednesday, after being held for more than a year without a sentence, guilty plea, or even a trial.

Carcamo, a Honduran man who had been living illegally in the U.S. for several years, was arrested on February 22, 2003 for allegedly stealing a package of hot dogs from a market and then resisting arrest.

Criminal proceedings were delayed for several months, as was treatment, after the Spanish-speaking Carcamo was diagnosed with schizophrenia with catatonic features last May.

His case attracted the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, which petitioned to have the charges dropped and for Carcamo to be voluntarily deported back to Honduras.

"It's a really sad situation and Jose pays the price, just like other prisoners do," the ACLU's Paula Knudsen, told the Chambersburg Public Opinion. "He doesn't have any family looking out for him and he can't speak the language."

On Monday, Franklin County Judge Richard Walsh ordered Carcamo to receive psychiatric treatment and be moved to a nursing home in a nearby county, while voluntary deportation proceedings are arranged. A mental health counselor who speaks Spanish visits the facility.

Carcamo says he wants to return to Honduras. The ACLU and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are trying to help him do so.



Commuter Says He Had To Crawl Onto Train

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 26, 2004

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND--Tim Dempsey said he was stunned recently when a Tranz Metro train manager at Sturges Road station told him he could not use a wheelchair ramp to get onto the commuter train. The manager said it was too late to get a ramp because the train was running five minutes behind.

"I was thinking, I'm going to have to get on the train and this was the only option I had, so I crawled on without any help," Dempsey, the Muscular Dystrophy Association's national fundraising manager, told the Fairfax New Zealand Limited.

"This is crazy, this is not some type of Third World country -- this is Auckland, 2004."

Although he does not yet use a wheelchair, Dempsey does use a walking stick and has difficulty walking up stairs because of his muscular dystrophy.

He said he had used the ramp on an earlier commute when the train was running 30 minutes late.

Dempsey and a colleague planned to file a complaint with Tranz Metro and the Auckland Regional Council.

"The important thing for me is, let's make sure this doesn't happen again and let's make sure they educate their staff about disabled access," he explained.

"Access is not always physical in the sense of a ramp, often it's people's attitudes. That train wasn't inaccessible, the train manager's attitude made it inaccessible."

Tranz Metro general manager Paul Ashton announced that an investigation into the incident had been launched.



Schindlers Ask Court To Hold Son-in-law In Contempt

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 26, 2004

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA--The parents of Terri Schiavo claimed Friday that their son-in-law is not providing them with medical information about their daughter, in violation of an 8-year-old court order.

Bob and Mary Schindler asked Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer to hold a hearing to look into their allegations that Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and legal guardian, is withholding information about her medical condition and has instructed caregivers to do the same. The Schindlers said that Mr. Schiavo should face contempt-of-court charges because a 1996 court order requires him to share information regarding her medical status with her parents in a timely manner.

Mr. Schiavo's attorney argued that his client has followed the order by providing information to the Schindlers through their attorneys.

The Schindlers' attorneys, however, said they have not been receiving sufficient information as requested.

Judge Greer said he would decide as early as Monday whether to proceed with the hearing.

"We've been fighting this for eight years," said Terri's brother, Bob Schindler Jr.

Terri, 40, currently lives in a Clearwater nursing home. Court appointed doctors, along with her husband, believe that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" -- that she cannot interact with her surroundings, cannot feel pain, and cannot recover -- since she collapsed and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes in 1990. She regulates her own heart rate and breathing, but is given food and water through a feeding tube installed through the wall of her stomach.

The courts have consistently supported Michael Schiavo's claims that his wife would not have wanted to live in her presented condition. He successfully petitioned to have her feeding tube removed so she would die of starvation and dehydration on October 16, 2003.

Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she could improve with therapies which Mr. Schiavo has refused to allow. The Schindlers want him removed as Terri's guardian and have pushed for an investigation into their claims that he has abused, neglected and financially exploited her. They also suspect that he may have caused Terri's initial collapse.

The Schindlers and disability rights advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. With their urging and that of right-to-life advocates, Governor Jeb Bush championed "Terri's Law" which allowed the legislature to give him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 22, 2003.

Mr. Schiavo immediately sued the governor, claiming that the law violated Terri's privacy, along with the Florida Constitution.

That case is pending.

"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)



Advertising Agency Criticized For Offensive Image

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 26, 2004

LONDON, ENGLAND--A marketing agency has pulled advertisements for mobile phone accessories after an industry watchdog received complaints from the National Autistic Society (NAS).

According to the BBC, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticized Onetoo Limited for an ad showing actor Dustin Hoffman in the 1988 film "Rain Man", with word "retard" stamped across his image. The ad, which promoted mobile phone logos and wallpapers, appeared in the football magazine FourFourTwo.

Officials with Onetoo said the image was adapted from a T-shirt design for a popular skateboard brand. They said the ad was supposed to be humorous, not offensive.

The company told the BBC that the image had since been removed and would not be used again.

Stuart Notholt, director of policy and public affairs at NAS, said the organization was "delighted" with the ASA ruling.

"It was an advertisement that caused a lot of distress," Notholt explained.

The ASA has cited Onetoo four times in the past year. In January, it criticized the agency for being racist after it ran an advertisement featuring a gorilla's face superimposed on the body of a black woman in a bikini.



Talk With Your Browser

March 26, 2004

OSLO, NORWAY--The following four paragraphs are excerpts from an Associated Press article published earlier this week:

Opera Software is developing a new Internet browser that allows users to talk to their computer, the company announced Tuesday.

The new browser incorporates IBM's ViaVoice technology, enabling the computer to ask what the user wants and "listen" to the request. Opera declined to give a launch date.

We feel we are on the verge of moving the Web a little bit," said Christen Krogh, head of Opera's software development.

By embedding IBM's voice technology into Opera's browser, a user can talk to the computer, which will understand and translate into normal code for the Net, Krogh said. The could open up the Internet to users who had been excluded because, for example, they were physically unable to use a keyboard, he added.

Entire article:
New Internet Browser Is Voice Operated (Associated Press via South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
Opera Web Browser for Windows



Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Resource Center

Nursing home abuse and neglect has become widespread and a growing epidemic. It is a serious problem affecting thousands of nursing home residents who are dependent on nursing homes for care. Abuse and neglect can be difficult to recognize and is often covered-up by nursing home staff. This site is a place for the consumer to gain important information on nursing home abuse and neglect, what to look for, and what can be done about it.


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives (One year ago):


Judge Orders State To Pay Lawyers More Than They Requested

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 26, 2003

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- The state has been ordered to pay fees and expenses totaling nearly $700,000 to three lawyers who sued on behalf of parents of children and adults with mental retardation.

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock ruled earlier this week that the state would pay Neil McKittrick, Carol Rose and David Friedman $674,504 in attorneys fees and $23,112 in expenses.

That amount is $100,000 more than the lawyers had requested.

The lawyers represented parents of people who had waited for placements in community-based services, some for as long as 30 years. As part of the settlement, the Department of Mental Retardation agreed to provide services for more than 2,000 people over five years, according to the Boston Globe.

The attorneys took the case at no expense to the parents, but were allowed to seek attorney fees from the state after winning the settlement.

''People came to us and we agreed to represent them pro bono," McKittrick said. "We never charged them a penny. Because we won, we were entitled to receive those fees.''


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