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Missouri Judge Pens Editorial In Hopes To Overturn Teen's 241 Year Sentence

Missouri circuit court Judge Evelyn Baker wants to make this case right by penning an editorial to the Supreme Court.

Retired Missouri circuit court judge, Evelyn Baker, looks to correct her wrongs after sentencing a teen to nearly 250 years behind bars.

In an editorial published by the Washington Post, Baker explains that the then 16-year-old Bobby Bostic and an accomplice robbed a group of people at gunpoint, shooting two of the victims which resulted in minor injuries. Then following the robbery, the pair forced a woman into her car, robbing her before Bostic's accomplice sexually assaulted her.

While these horrific crimes were deserving of a jail sentence, Baker feels as though her decision to subject the youth to 241 years in jail – a decision she described to Bostic in 1997 as one where he “will die in the Department of Corrections” – was too harsh. Baker used the revelation of hindsight’s 20/20 vision to plea with the Supreme Court in hopes they will rectify the mistake she made nearly 21 years ago.

“(Juveniles must) be afforded an opportunity to show that they have grown up and rehabilitated themselves,” Baker writes. “They cannot be permanently written off for something they did before their brains were even fully formed.”

Yet this is a new stance for Baker, as prior to this campaign, Bostic wrote the judge several times in an attempt to reverse this sentencing. But as stated by Baker, she proved to be unempathetic in her response.

“I told him, 'You are the biggest fool who has ever stood in front of this court…You made your choice. You’re gonna have to live with your choice, and you’re gonna die with your choice… Your mandatory date to go in front of the parole board will be the year 2201. Nobody in this room is going to be alive in the year 2201,'" Baker’s editorial explained.

However, new research presented by the Massachusetts General Hospital detailing how the neurological makeup of teenagers should result in justice reform for juveniles caused Baker’s stance to pivot.

“It is teenagers’ heightened vulnerability to reward that drives risky behavior, contrary to longstanding beliefs that teenagers are unable to gauge risks,” the report detailed. “They can often recognize risks, but incomplete development of brain mechanisms related to modulation of impulsive behavior reduces their tendency to heed those risks.”

Because of this, Baker asks the Supreme Court to give Bostic the “chance (she) did not.”

Bostic, who is now represented by Missouri’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), praised Baker for attempting to correct her wrongs with this letter.

“Bobby Bostic should get a chance to show that crimes he committed as a teen do not define him for his entire life,” Missouri’s ACLU Legal Director, Tony Rothert said. “Judge Evelyn Baker’s advocacy on behalf of Mr. Bostic underscores that we must honor the Constitution and recognize the Supreme Court decision that says kids – even ones that commit crimes -- think fundamentally different than adults… We hope the Supreme Court will take note of Judge Baker’s decision to speak out. We urge the court to make this case right.”

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Naya Rivera’s Cause Of Death Confirmed, Family Speaks Out

The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office completed an autopsy on Naya Rivera confirming her cause of death was an accidental drowning. “The autopsy findings are consistent with a drowning and the condition of the body is consistent with the time that she was submerged,” the coroner said on Tuesday (July 14).

There were no traumatic injuries or disease processes found during the autopsy and “no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role” in her tragic death. Rivera, 33, drowned after taking her 4-year-old son, Josey, out on a boat last week.

According to authorities, the doting mother and her son were out for a swim at Southern California's Lake Piru, when things turned fatal. In her final moments, Rivera mustered up the strength to boost her son back onto the boat but was ultimately unable to swim to safety. At least 9 people have drowned at Lake Piru since 1994.

Rivera's grieving family released a statement thanking authorities for recovering her remains, as well as the Glee star's fans, friends and colleagues for their support. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week,” the family said.  “While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honor her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit. Naya was an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister.

“Thank you to the men and women of the Ventura, Tulare, and San Louis Obispo County Sheriff’s Departments for you commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya. We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her fiends, colleagues, and fans for your continued support.

“Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”

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Nick Cannon Dropped By ViacomCBS, Accused Of Promoting “Hateful Speech”

ViacomCBS has parted ways with Nick Cannon amid backlash over a podcast interview where he talked about the “power of melanated people,” and called White people “true savages.”

Cannon, who referenced Min. Louis Farrakhan and referred to Black people as the “true Hebrews,” was called anti-semitic after a clip of the podcast interview with Public Enemy's Professor Griff circulated the web on Tuesday (July 14).

Nick Cannon’s Comments About Race & White People Garners Mixed Reactions. pic.twitter.com/KPvFlNKld6

— theJasmineBRAND (@thejasminebrand) July 14, 2020

“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism. We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast 'Cannon’s Class' on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,”  the company said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

“While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry, we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”

In a lengthy follow-up statement posted on his social media accounts, Cannon denounced hate speech. “Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart or malice intentions. I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric,” he wrote. “We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote understanding.”

Cannon added that the Black and Jewish communities have both faced oppression, prejudice, and persecution for ”thousands of years,” and continue to work to “overcome these obstacles.” He went on to state that “African Americans and The people of the Jewish community” have collaborated on “some of the best, most revolutionary work we know today.”

The radio personality said that he advocates for “people's voice to be heard openly fairly and candidly,” and encouraged continued education in “today’s conversations about anti-racism and social justice.” He also welcomed experts, clergymen, and others to hold him accountable and correct any of his statements that have been “projected as negative.”

In the meantime, Cannon said that he's holding himself accountable and takes “full responsibility” for his words. “Because MY intentions are to only show that as a beautiful human species we have way more commonalities than differences.”

Check below for Cannon's full statement, and podcast episode.

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Zindzi Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s Daughter, Dies At 59

Zindzi Mandela, daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, has died. She was 59.

The activist and former ambassador passed away at a hospital in Johannesburg on Monday (July 13). Her cause of death has not be released.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa sent condolences to the Mandela family, and noted the unfortunate timing of her passing. “Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela,” said Ramaphosa.

I offer my deep condolences to the Mandela family as we mourn the passing of a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right. Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela. pic.twitter.com/RC0YQ6VEvf

— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) July 13, 2020

The second of Winnie and Nelson’s two children, Zindzi was born on Dec. 23, 1960, in Sowetto, South Africa. She was 18 months old when her father was imprisoned by the South African government.

In 1985, Zindzi caught international attention after she read her father’s rejection of former South African President PW Botha’s offer for a conditional prison release. The anti-apartheid leader was freed from prison in 1990, and was elected as South Africa’s first Black president in 1994.

During her father’s imprisonment, Zindzi became a published author, and earned a law degree from the University of Capetown. Only two of Nelson Mandela’s six children remain alive.

“Zindzi will not only be remembered as a daughter of our struggle heroes, Tata Nelson and Mama Winnie Mandela, but as a struggle heroine in her own right. She served South Africa well,” South Africa’s foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement.

Zindzi had been an ambassador to Demark since 2015. She is survived by her husband, Molapo Motlhajwa, and four children.

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