Friday, February 17, 2006

AMA Opposes Physician Involvement in Executions

CHICAGO, Feb. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a
statement by Priscilla Ray, M.D., chair, American
Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial
Affairs, regarding physician involvement in

"The American Medical Association (AMA) is alarmed
that Judge Jeremy Fogel has disregarded physicians'
ethical obligations when he ordered procedures for
physician participation in executions of California
inmates by lethal injection.

"The AMA Code of Medical Ethics addresses physician
participation in executions involving lethal
injection. These ethical obligations are set out in
detail in ethical opinion 2.06 authored by the AMA
Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. In part, it

An individual's opinion on capital punishment is the
personal moral decision of the individual. A
physician, as a member of a profession dedicated to
preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should
not be a participant in a legally authorized
execution. Physician participation in execution is
defined generally as actions which would fall into one
or more of the following categories:

(1) an action which would directly cause the death of
the condemned;

(2) an action which would assist, supervise, or
contribute to the ability of another individual to
directly cause the death of the condemned;

(3) an action which could automatically cause an
execution to be carried out on a condemned prisoner.

Physician participation in an execution includes, but
is not limited to, the following actions: prescribing
or administering tranquilizers and other psychotropic
agents and medications that are part of the execution
procedure; monitoring vital signs on site or remotely
(including monitoring electrocardiograms); attending
or observing an execution as a physician; and
rendering of technical advice regarding execution.

In the case where the method of execution is lethal
injection, the following actions by the physician
would also constitute physician participation in
execution: selecting injection sites; starting
intravenous lines as a port for a lethal injection
device; prescribing, preparing, administering, or
supervising injection drugs or their doses or types;
inspecting, testing, or maintaining lethal injection
devices; and consulting with or supervising lethal
injection personnel.

"The use of a physician's clinical skill and judgment
for purposes other than promoting an individual's
health and welfare undermines a basic ethical
foundation of medicine -- first, do no harm.
Therefore, requiring physicians to be involved in
executions violates their oath to protect lives and
erodes public confidence in the medical profession.

"As the voice of American medicine, the AMA urges all
physicians to remain dedicated to our ethical
obligations which prohibit involvement in capital


EDITOR'S NOTE: For a full text of the AMA ethical
opinion, E- 2.06, Capital Punishment, please visit the
AMA Web site at:


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Senate Ethics Committee Responds to Democracy 21 Request for Abramoff Investigation

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On Nov. 22,
2005, Democracy 21 wrote to the Senate Ethics
Committee calling for an ethics investigation "to
determine whether Senators engaged in official acts to
influence a case-specific regulatory matter at the
Interior Department that benefited lobbyist Jack
Abramoff's clients, and received contributions and
financial favors from Abramoff and these clients, in
violation of Senate ethics rules."

In a letter sent today to Democracy 21 by the Senate
Ethics Committee, the Committee stated that it "has
decided to defer, at this time, its determinations as
to the allegations referred to in your November 22,
2005, letter to the Committee and in other press
accounts about the Abramoff matter."

The Senate Ethics Committee letter also revealed that
"the Department of Justice has made the Committee
aware that it has concerns about the impact an Ethics
Committee investigation may have on the Department's
ongoing criminal investigation into Abramoff-related

A copy of the Senate Ethics Committee letter and a
copy of the November 22, 2005 letter from Democracy 21
to the Committee are available at .

The Democracy 21 letter was sent to the Senate Ethics
Committee last November, following an Associated Press
story (November 17, 2005), which reported that
"numerous Representatives and Senators intervened in a
case-specific regulatory matter with Secretary of the
Interior Gale Norton to urge the Interior Department
to reject a request from the Jena tribe of Choctaw
Indians for a new casino in Louisiana." (A similar
request for an ethics investigation was also sent to
the House Ethics Committee last November. No response
has been received from the House Committee.) According
to the AP story, "Nearly three dozen members of
Congress, including leaders from both parties, pressed
the government to block a Louisiana Indian tribe from
opening a casino while the lawmakers collected large
donations from rival tribes and their lobbyist, Jack

According to today's Senate Ethics Committee letter to
Democracy 21:

As a matter of general practice, and absent special
circumstances, where the Committee has sufficient
reason to believe that a law enforcement entity is
conducting a criminal investigation in a matter that
may overlap with matters of potential interest to the
Committee in carrying out its investigative authority,
the Committee will defer action on its part pending
resolution of the criminal investigation. Moreover,
the Department of Justice has made the Committee aware
that it has concerns about the impact an Ethics
Committee investigation may have on the Department's
ongoing criminal investigation into Abramoff-related

The Senate Ethics Committee letter further stated,
"Therefore, based upon the Committee's general
practice, and upon consideration of the views of the
Department of Justice, the Committee has decided to
defer, at this time, its determinations as to the
allegations referred to in your November 22, 2005,
letter to the Committee and in other press accounts
about the Abramoff matter."

According to Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer,
"While we appreciate the Senate Ethics Committee
responding to our letter, we remain deeply concerned
that to the public's knowledge, there has not been any
investigation in this Congress by the Senate Ethics
Committee or the House Ethics Committee of any of the
lobbying scandals relating to lobbyist Jack Abramoff's
improper conduct on Capitol Hill involving Members and
congressional staff."

"The failure to conduct any congressional ethics
inquiry into the Abramoff scandal and the complete
collapse of the House Ethics Committee make clear why
it is essential to establish an independent,
nonpartisan Office of Public Integrity in Congress, as
set forth in legislation introduced yesterday by
Representatives Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Marty
Meehan (D- MA)," Wertheimer stated.

"Previous major congressional scandals have involved
both criminal investigations and ethics committee
investigations and both are surely called for in the
Abramoff affair which could turn out to be the biggest
congressional scandal of modern times," Wertheimer

"The Justice Department and the congressional ethics
committees each have their own responsibilities here,
both of which are extremely important and must be
carried out," Wertheimer stated. "The Justice
Department is responsible for pursuing violations of
the criminal laws. The ethics committees are
responsible for ensuring that members of Congress
comply with congressional ethics rules, regardless of
whether any laws have been broken."

According to Wertheimer, "In the end, there must be a
comprehensive ethics investigation in Congress to
determine whether Members and congressional staff
violated congressional ethics rules in their dealings
with Jack Abramoff."

According to Wertheimer, "Democracy 21 will contact
the Justice Department to request that they make clear
the parameters of their 'concerns about the impact an
Ethics Committee investigation may have on the
Department's ongoing criminal investigation into
Abramoff-related matters,' as stated in the Senate
Ethics Committee letter."

"We also will continue to pursue congressional ethics
investigations of the Interior Department case
addressed in our November 22, 2005 letters to the
Senate and House Ethics Committees, and of the entire
Jack Abramoff affair, until members of Congress
fulfill their responsibilities to the institution and
the American people," Wertheimer stated.

In a footnote, the Senate Ethics Committee letter
pointed out that "Neither this decision to defer, nor
any statement in this letter, should be taken to
indicate that the Committee has made any determination
as to whether the allegations in your letter, or
related allegations, against any named Member or
Senate employee have merit or provide a sufficient
basis for the undertaking of an inquiry by the


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Consumer Groups Endorse Senator Stevens' Efforts to Bring Affordable Broadband To All

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today Consumers
Union and Free Press endorsed Chairman Stevens' (R-AK)
American Broadband for Communications Act (ABC Act)
that would help bring affordable broadband to all
Americans by freeing unused spectrum within the
broadcast frequency for use by providers of wireless
broadband and for other services.

The legislation directs the Federal Communications
Commission to move quickly to free-up valuable but
unused broadcast airwaves - known as empty channels,
or white spaces- which could then be used for wireless
broadband. In most markets, only half of the broadcast
channels are actually used by television stations.

Below is the letter of support sent to Chairman
Stevens earlier today.

February 17, 2006

The Honorable Ted Stevens

Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science and

United States Senate

Washington, D.C 20510

Dear Chairman Stevens:

Thank you for your leadership in introducing the
American Broadband for Communications Act and for your
commitment to finding solutions to the problem of
inadequate access to high- speed Internet for
consumers in rural America. We applaud your commitment
to this important issue and strongly support your

Although high-speed Internet adoption has been rising,
the United States still lags far behind other
countries in broadband adoption. While the problem of
limited choice in providers and high cost of problem
exists throughout the United States, the problem is
particularly acute in sparsely populated areas, where
consumers may not even have a single provider to
choose from. Broadband adoption in rural areas is less
than half that of urban and suburban areas. The
numbers are far more stark for distant communities in
Alaska and other remote areas.

Fortunately, wireless, or Wi-Fi, broadband, because of
its low deployment costs and ability to reach distant
consumers without costly infrastructure or equipment,
offers the greatest opportunity for providing
broadband services and new competitive choices to
consumers who currently lack them. Indeed, today,
wireless Internet services providers and communities
are using the airwaves to deliver wireless broadband
to consumers in sparsely populated rural areas who
have never before had access to it. In Alaska alone,
communities and other providers are using wireless
broadband to provide service in McGrath, Gustavas,
Hoonah, and Coffman Cove, among others. Broadband and
other innovative wireless services offer the promise
of increased economic development and jobs, enhanced
market competition, improved delivery of e-government
services, and accelerated universal, affordable
Internet access for all Americans.

Unfortunately, airwaves suitable for wireless
broadband are in short supply. Currently, Wi-Fi
broadband providers must rely on airwaves that limit
the ability of wireless signals to pass through walls,
mountains, forests and other obstacles. This makes
wireless broadband less viable for communities in
densely forested areas and regions with mountainous or
uneven terrain. Without access to airwaves that allow
signals to penetrate these obstacles, even Wi-Fi
broadband will be inadequate for these remote areas.

Your legislation, by directing the Federal
Communications Commission to open currently unused
broadcast airwaves - known as empty channels or white
spaces - for unlicensed use will provide new
opportunities even for the most remote village in
Alaska. Each television market in the United States
has fifty channels allocated for over-the-air,
broadcast television. However, in most markets, fewer
than half of these channels are actually used by
television stations. And in most rural areas, there
are more empty channels than used channels. For
example, the Juneau area alone will have white space
equal to or greater than 74 percent of the digital
broadcast spectrum, even after the digital transition
is completed. More remote areas of the Alaska will
have even more white space available. The American
Broadband for Communities Act of 2006 will allow
communities, innovators and entrepreneurs to tap that
valuable but unused resource to bring high-speed
Internet to Alaska's unserved villages and to the
thousands of other small towns without broadband
access, helping to build stronger, vibrant

Thank you for your leadership on and commitment to
this important issue and for working for meaningful,
market-based solutions to the problem of inadequate
and unaffordable broadband. We look forward to working
with you toward passage of critical legislation to
free unused white spaces.


Jeannine Kenney, Senior Policy Analyst, Consumers

Ben Scott, Policy Director, Free Press


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Defendant Ordered To Serve Life In Prison For Child Pornography

BALTIMORE, Feb. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- United States
Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J.
Rosenstein announced today that U.S. District Judge
Marvin J. Garbis sentenced James A. Reigle, Jr., 46,
of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to life in prison in
connection with his December 8, 2005 conviction by a
federal jury of sexually exploiting minors to produce
child pornography; conspiracy to transport, ship, and
possess child pornography; and transportation and
shipment of child pornography.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, "This
case is significant for two reasons. First, the arrest
stemmed from a new law enforcement initiative in which
we take images of unknown adults from photographs that
show them engaging in sex with children, then we
broadcast the faces of the adults over the internet
and on television. We employ the same technology that
child molesters use to spread child pornography
anonymously, but we use it to identify the child
molesters and catch them. Second, this is the first
time that a defendant has been sentenced to serve a
mandatory sentence of life in prison for repeated sex
offenses against children, under the 'two strikes and
you're out' law enacted in 2003."

According to evidence established at trial, between
1998 and September 2002, Reigle developed
relationships with several minor males and took
pictures of them engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Reigle, an avid Internet user, developed a
relationship with Thomas Evered, 39, of Lolo, Montana,
whom he met in a chat room. The two formed a close
friendship and traded pictures with each other from
their child pornography collection.

The evidence showed that in 2002, Reigle was sentenced
by a U.S. District Judge in Harrisburg, to a 37 month
federal prison term for possession of child
pornography-that same year, a state judge in Dauphin
County, Pennsylvania sentenced Reigle to a concurrent
sentence for sexually molesting a Harrisburg boy.

Witnesses testified that shortly after he reported to
federal prison on September 23, 2002, Reigle contacted
Evered and asked him to take possession of his
collection of child pornography until Reigle was
released from prison. Thereafter, Evered, who was a
cross-country tractor trailer driver, kept the
collection with him at all times during his travels,
including two trips that took him through Maryland.

In a related case, Loren Williams, 45, of Edgewater,
Maryland was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in
prison for production of child pornography in
Maryland. The photographs in his collection included
photographs produced and transmitted over the internet
by Reigle.

Evidence presented to the court showed that Reigle has
been convicted on three previous occasions in
Pennsylvania state courts of offenses relating to the
sexual molestation of children. His 2002 federal
conviction for possession of child pornography was his
fourth conviction for a child sexual exploitation

On January 27, 2006 Evered was sentenced to 10 years
in prison followed by supervised release for life in
connection with his February 16, 2005 guilty plea to
sexually exploiting a minor boy for the purpose of
producing child pornography.

FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Louis M. Reigel
III, said, "The FBI, through our Innocent Images Unit,
is committed to aggressively pursuing individuals who
engage in the online sexual exploitation of children.
In 2004, we established the Endangered Child Alert
Program (ECAP) along with our law enforcement
partners. Through ECAP and with the assistance of
national media outlets and their viewers worldwide, to
date, we have been able to identity and arrest five of
the six "John Does" and one "Jane Doe" we profiled."

"Mr. Reigle committed heinous acts of abuse against
innocent children. A sentence of life in prison will
ensure that he cannot hurt another child," said John
Fox, Assistant Special Agent-In- Charge for ICE's
Office of Investigations in Baltimore. "Those of us in
law enforcement -- ICE agents, prosecutors and local
officers -- share a commitment to ensure that child
pornographers won't find a safe haven in cyberspace.
We will use every available tool at our disposal to
combat violators such as Mr. Reigle."

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, and the Baltimore Police
Department for the investigative work they performed
as part of the Innocent Images Task Force. Mr.
Rosenstein also commended "America's Most Wanted" for
the extraordinary assistance that program has provided
to law enforcement in this and many other cases.

Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant United States
Attorneys Andrew G. W. Norman and Jonathan
Mastrangelo, who prosecuted the case.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/