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10/11/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: October 11, 2012

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Like daughter, like mother? Photo via

By The Fix staff

Drug laws

10/10/12 5:03pm

Should Immigrants Be Deported for a Pinch of Pot?

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The Supreme Court will rule on the case in
the spring. Photo via

When should an offense like the possession of a tiny amount of marijuana be deemed too minor to warrant the deportation of a legal immigrant? The Supreme Court has been hearing a case today that could change immigration officials' response to this question. It all started in 2008 when Adrian Moncrieffe—who moved to the US from Jamaica almost 30 years ago, and is a lawful permanent resident—was pulled over in Georgia. The police found a mere one 20th of an ounce of pot in his possession. Unfortunately for Moncrieffe, Georgia state law—under its very broad application of "people who freely share small quantities with others"—nevertheless allowed him to be charged with felony possession with intent to distribute. "What some people would consider to be a relatively minor offense that does not result in a prison sentence can be classified under federal law as a felony that can lead to deportation," says Bill Ong Hing, a law professor at the University of San Francisco. "When there's language that suggests that it could be more serious and it's not serious, [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement] will not give you the benefit of the doubt." The Supreme Court’s eventual decision on Moncrieffe v. Holder, which is due in the spring, could affect the deportation proceedings of hundreds of legal immigrants each year.

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By Chrisanne Grise

College Drinking

10/10/12 4:05pm

Death Attends Another Frat Party

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A vigil held for Philip Dhanens last month
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Brotherly bonding took a dark turn when Philip Dhanens, a Theta Chi pledge, drank himself to death during a fraternity hazing ritual last month. According to court documents released today, frat leaders forced the 18-year-old Fresno State freshman and 14 of his "brothers" to down multiple bottles of vodka, tequila and rum—and they were banned from leaving the room until they'd finished. "The pledges were encouraged to drink, socialize and bond with each other despite their age," states the warrant. Dhanens' blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.36 (4.5 times the legal driving limit) at the time of his death, which occurred from brain swelling due to "acute alcohol consumption." The Fresno State chapter of Theta Chi has been suspended, and fraternity officials haven't been available for comment. Dhanens' death is just the latest in a growing list of grizzly alcohol-related incidents, injuries and fatalities stemming from Greek life and its drinking rituals. In the last year alone, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was sued over the death of a Cornell sophomore, and Sigma Chi was sued by the parents of a girl who died from binge drinking at a frat party. Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Tennessee was recently “suspended indefinitely”: one member was hospitalized after allegedly "butt chugging" wine.

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By May Wilkerson

Native americans and alcoholism

10/10/12 3:23pm

Lupe Fiasco Tweets for Dry Indian Reservation

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Lupe Fiasco toasts Pine Ridge with water.
Photo via

The Oglala Sioux Tribe has found an unlikely supporter in its fight against the nearby towns and beer companies that allow alcohol to reach their reservation: rapper Lupe Fiasco. Oglala's $500 million lawsuit, which claimed that nearby businesses made illegal alcohol sales, contributing to the epidemic of alcoholism on the already-impoverished Pine Ridge reservation—was just dismissed in federal court. Fiasco made an unannounced visit earlier this summer to the South Dakota reservation and the nearby town of Whiteclay (where alcohol is sold). He also gave a shout-out to Pine Ridge in his single "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)" and is now encouraging his 1.3 million Twitter followers to support the fight against alcoholism with a #toasttopineridge campaign. His goal is to get 100,000 photos over the next two weeks of people toasting their support with a glass of water. "I'm not reaching out as a famous rapper or attention seeker but as a concerned spirit to show solidarity that something must be done," tweeted Fiasco. "The hope is to raise spirits and raise awareness on the situation on the Rez and similar situations elsewhere. So for the next two weeks...Skip The Beer but Keep the Cheers and join me as WE propose a #toastopineridge Calling all activists!" The tribe's lawsuit may have life yet: the federal judge dismissed it without prejudice, which means they're free to take their claims to state court.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Bad Sports

10/10/12 2:04pm

Lance Armstrong "Doped and Helped Others to Dope"

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The USADA has amassed over 1,000 pages
of evidence against Armstrong. Photo via

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is releasing the details of its investigation into Lance Armstrong today, and things don’t look good for the seven-time Tour de France winner. While Armstrong still denies ever doping, the agency claims that Armstrong was at the center of the most sophisticated doping program in recent history. The file against him includes sworn testimony from 26 people—including 11 former US Postal Service teammates who have admitted to doping and say that Armstrong not only doped himself but encouraged others to do it, and administered doping products on the team. “The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices,” the USADA reports, “a program organized by individuals who thought they were above the rules and who still play a major and active role in sport today.” The file contains more than 1,000 pages of evidence, which the agency calls “conclusive and undeniable proof that brings to the light of day for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy.”

Armstrong has refused to comment on the report, but one of his lawyers, Timothy J. Herman, has called the case a farce: “USADA, the prosecutor, now pretends to issue its own ‘reasoned decision,’ even though there was no judge, no jury and no hearing,” he wrote in a letter to the agency’s lawyer. Armstrong was stripped of his titles back in August when he gave up the fight against the doping allegations.

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By Chrisanne Grise

Celebrity Rehab

10/10/12 12:55pm

Redmond O'Neal Finishes His Year of Rehab

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Redmond O'Neal, before and after rehab.

Looking healthier than he has in years, Redmond O'Neal—the son of Ryan O'Neal and the late actress Farrah Fawcetthas been released from the yearlong live-in rehab he was ordered to attend after he violated his probation. Earlier this year, Judge Keith Schwartz congratulated O'Neal on his progress in the program, telling him: “I’m very proud of you. You’ve done an outstanding job.” But he's not out of the woods quite yet; he must return to court in three months for a progress report, complete additional psychological and substance abuse counseling, and continue to wear an electronic monitoring device. His probation will continue until 2016, and any violation of the terms will result in a return to state prison to finish a three-year suspended sentence. O'Neal was arrested for heroin possession last year and placed on probation, then pleaded no contest later that year to additional charges of heroin and firearms possession by a felon. However, Schwartz suspended his sentence and instead ordered a year of residential rehab, plus five years' probation. Redmond O'Neal has been in and out of jails and rehabs since his teens. He and his father were even booked together on suspicion of narcotics possession in 2008, when the elder O'Neal pleaded guilty and accepted the option of a drug-diversion program.

 

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By McCarton Ackerman

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