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'War Trial' Waits; Chabot Wiggles Out

By Gregory Flannery · January 24th, 2007 · Porkopolis
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  After being found guilty,
Joe Lamb

After being found guilty, "War" is removed from the courtroom of a mock trial Jan. 22 in the West End.



Efforts to put the war on trial ran into the realities of a busy urban courtroom Jan. 22, postponing the affair for another six weeks. Five anti-war protesters, arrested for trespassing during a sit-in last fall, had planned to present testimony about Iraqi and American casualties and about cuts in human-services spending resulting from the war. But a city prosecutor requested a continuance so she could keep vacation plans at week's end. Saying there was no guarantee the trial, scheduled for three days, wouldn't last longer, the judge rescheduled it for March 5.

One measure of how divisive the war has become: Attorneys for the protesters said jury selection alone will be time-consuming, with a pool of up to 50 potential jurors needed to find eight to try the case. Another sign that opposition to the war grows: The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center filled a charter bus and started a waiting list for Cincinnatians heading to the national anti-war rally in Washington, D.C., this weekend.

When the trial finally begins, it likely will be without testimony from U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood). Last week Hamilton County Municipal Judge David Stockdale granted a motion to quash Chabot's subpoena.

The protesters had been arrested in Chabot's office in the Carew Tower, but he said he wasn't there and had no knowledge of what went on. That contradicts statements by Chabot's aides on the day of the sit-in; they repeatedly told the protesters the congressman had been informed of their presence and had been faxed their petitions in support of the Congressional Declaration of Peace.

John Filamor, attorney for the House of Representatives, argued that Chabot was too busy to testify. But he found time Jan. 20 to address the Pro-Life Rosary Procession and Rally on Fountain Square in person.

Unable to put the war on trial inside municipal court, the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center organized a "Put the War on Trial" rally Jan. 22, with a street-theater version of the judicial effort at Saint Joseph Church in the West End.

Faced with a possible revolt by a Cincinnati City Council majority last week, Mayor Mark Mallory decided to delay scheduled votes on two appointments to area policy-making boards. City council was expected to vote on Mallory's recommendations to appoint Councilman David Crowley to the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District (TID) and reappoint Councilman John Cranley to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI). A five-member council faction that defied Mallory during budget negotiations last month was upset that the mayor hadn't recommended reappointing Councilman Jeff Berding to the TID board. At the same time, Mallory told council members they should reappoint Cranley to OKI as a "professional courtesy" as Cranley still was on council and interested in keeping the position.

The faction alleged that Mallory was applying a double standard to the appointments, punishing Berding for disagreeing with the mayor on the budget and rewarding Cranley for supporting Mallory's proposals. As a result, the council bloc -- which includes Berding, Chris Bortz, Laketa Cole, Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel -- was considering blocking Cranley's reappointment. Mallory huddled with some of the council members involved in the dispute shortly before Thursday's meeting, then announced that votes on the items would be delayed by at least one week. Saying he wanted to end the impasse, Crowley withdrew from consideration Jan. 23.

Change in Plans for the Sake of Human Rights
Foes of capital punishment got good news last week -- and three men had their lives extended -- when Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland postponed the executions of Kenneth Biros until March 20, James J. Filiaggi until April 24 and Christopher J. Newton until May 24.

"In order to conduct a review that is as thorough and comprehensive as the previous administration pursued before death penalties were implemented, I have decided to issue reprieves," Strickland said.

Ohio has poisoned 24 prisoners since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. That ranks Ohio 12th in the number of executions among the 38 states that practice capital punishment.

The Ohio Federation of Teachers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have endorsed a boycott of the Cincinnati Marriott Rivercenter, Embassy Suites Cincinnati-Rivercenter and Hilton Cincinnati Airport. The boycott is in support of an organizing effort by the Service Employees International Union at a California hotel owned by Eagle Hospitality, the same company that owns the local hotels.

The saddest day of the year was Jan. 22, according to human behavioral researchers. For the first word on this and other tearjerkers, visit CityBeat's Porkopolis blog at citybeat.wordpress.com.



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