By Joseph G. Cote, staff writer, The Telegraph of Nashua
NASHUA, N.H. – We know a lot about Steven Spader, but unless a motion to unseal new court documents succeeds, some of the most vital information to understanding Spader’s gruesome crimes may never see the light of day.
It’s been more than three years since the now 21-year-old Spader led a group of small-town teenagers into Kimberly Cates’ Mont Vernon bedroom, hacked her to death with the help of Christopher Gribble and viciously attacked then-11-year-old Jaimie Cates.
We’ve learned a lot about Spader since then. We learned he was adopted as an infant by loving parents, that he was afforded a blessed childhood. He was in the Boy Scouts. He went on vacations. He enjoyed acting in plays at one of the best high schools in the country in Hollis.
He was gleeful after the slaying, bragging and jubilant – like he was on an adrenalin high, according to testimony. He talked about robbing, torturing and killing people. He wanted to found the Disciples of Destruction, a criminal syndicate of sorts to carry out his twisted fantasies. When he got a chance, he attacked like a wild man – hacking over and over with abandon using a machete, according to Gribble’s testimony at his own trial. Continue reading ‘Public has right to a glimpse into N.H. killer’s mind’ »
By Mike Donoghue, Burlington Free Press
BURLINGTON, Vt. – The federal courts in Vermont have taken the first step toward easing restrictions on journalists carrying computers, iPhones and other electronic newsgathering tools past security checkpoints at federal buildings.
The new rule, which took effect in mid-April, allows electronic devices in common areas outside a courtroom but still prohibits them from being used in court during hearings and trials. The new rule continues to prohibit the use of video and still cameras or audio recordings in federal courtrooms.
The rule covers U.S. District Court, the U.S. Magistrate Judge and the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge and applies to the courthouses in Burlington, Rutland and Brattleboro.
The rule is in response to a petition by the Burlington Free Press in December for improved access. The paper requested equal access with lawyers, law enforcement, victim advocates, court staff, other federal building employees and even family members of a judge, who have used computers or phones in the courtroom gallery.
The new rule falls short of what journalists were hoping for or expecting. Some federal courts throughout the nation and all state courts in Vermont allow the use of computers, laptops, iPhones and other electronic gear for note-taking, writing stories or collecting audio. Vermont state courts have allowed video and still cameras and recordings since the mid 1980s. Continue reading ‘Federal courts in Vermont eases limits on electronic-device use by journalists’ »
The New England First Amendment Coalition registered “extreme dismay” at the government seizure of phone records of The Associated Press and urged Attorney General Eric Holder to work for passage of a federal shield law and take other steps to avert a repeat of the intrusion that was part of a probe into a security leak.
A letter from Rosanna Cavanagh, NEFAC’s executive director, to Holder and Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said the snooping into 20 AP bureau and personal phone lines “indicates that a failure of supervision or leadership has occurred on your watch.”
“Our First Amendment protections for freedom of the press embody our founders’ vision that only an unfettered press can protect the free flow of information upon which any true democracy depends,” Cavanagh said. Continue reading ‘NEFAC says Holder should push for shield law, train justice personnel on subpoenas’ »
By Rosanna Cavanagh, executive director, New England First Amendment Coalition
I was born in 1975 so I don’t have memories of the Watergate era, but my parents do. My Dad was a professor at Princeton at the time and had recently been featured in Vogue magazine for his efforts to organize “Movement for a New Congress,” a reaction to the Cambodia invasion crisis. A quarter of the students at Princeton were taking part in this effort, an epicenter of the student movement to defeat supporters of this sudden expansion of the Vietnam War to another country. The Nixon Administration told colleges that they would risk their tax exempt status if they permitted any political activity on campus. My Dad was called into a meeting with Wall Street lawyers and told that the university was at risk and he could work for no pay if he wanted to stay. Well, that wasn’t really an option for him at the time with four mouths to feed. He told them that he was taking care of his academic responsibilities, that he had a family to support, that he would continue doing the ‘Movement’ and they had no right to ask him to do this and violate his First Amendment rights. My Mom, who stayed at home, had distinct memories of hearing constant clicking on the phones, as they were tapped. She also received a threatening phone call when William Rehnquist was up for confirmation to the Supreme Court demanding that my Dad report back immediately to the Justice Department if he would testify and what his sources were. Continue reading ‘NEFAC calls on Justice Department to return seized phone records to the AP’ »