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Priest offers drive-thru confession during coronavirus pandemic

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iStock(BOWIE, Md.) — A priest in Maryland is offering drive-thru confessions during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Father Scott Holmer administers the confession every day in the parking lot of St. Edward Church in Bowie, according to the church’s schedule.

He sits on a chair while cars pull up to him.

Holmer keeps a distance of 6-feet between himself and those who wish to confess, abiding by the social distancing practice that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges the public to follow to stop the spread.

Worshippers can also confess anonymously. Those who wish to do so can alert Seminarian Joe McHenry and Holmer will go behind a “screen,” which is an eye mask, according to the church.

This handout illustration image taken with a scanning electron microscope shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow) also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19isolated emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.

The schedule for drive-thru confession is Monday from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Tuesday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday from 8:45 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Saturday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Confession is cancelled if it rains, the church said.

There are now more than 284,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally and at least 19,624 in the United States, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Remembering the Gambler: Country music pays tribute to Kenny Rogers

No Comments Country Music News

Doug McKenzie/Getty ImagesIn the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the country music family awoke Saturday morning to the news of the passing of Kenny Rogers. Here’s how the legend’s friends and colleagues were remembering the singer, actor, and entrepreneur on social media: 

Dolly Parton: You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend.

Reba McEntire: Kenny, Go rest high on that mountain. Please tell mama and daddy hi for me. Thank you for your friendship and your love. We are going to miss you but we are so happy you’re singing with the Angels in heaven. Can’t wait to see you again one of these days. Rest in peace my friend.

Blake Shelton: I can’t express on twitter the impact Kenny Rogers the artist and the man had on me. He was always very kind and fun to be around. Rest In Peace Gambler…

Jake OwenI woke up the news of Kenny Rogers passing. It’s not about #1s. It’s about the legacy you leave behind and he was a great man. He changed Country Music and had a voice like no other. Thank you Kenny. Thank you.

Kelsea Ballerini: one of the greatest songwriters and voices of our genre. sad day in music.

Brad Paisley: Rest In Peace Kenny Rogers. We loved you.

Zac Brown BandLow quality clip [of “The Gambler” at CMA Fest], high quality man. Your music will live on forever Kenny Rogers. 

Jennifer NettlesToday country music lost a legend. I had the honor of singing [“Islands in the Stream”] with Kenny Rogers at the 2013 CMA’s. Just watch everybody singing along in the audience. What joy he brought to the world. I remember singing this song with my daddy in his truck when I was a little girl and was blown away to get to perform it with Kenny. Everybody loved Kenny’s voice. I was honored to perform with him and later on his Christmas album as well. (He even let me rent his tour bus to go on tour later:-). Rest In Peace and Power. Bring your special, smokey voice to that angel band.

Lee Ann Womack: I always enjoy working with Kenny…the ultimate pro, and always kind and down to earth. Thinking of his wife and children today.

Country Music Association: Country Music has lost the great Kenny Rogers, who has forever left a mark on Country Music’s history. His family and friends are in our thoughts during this difficult time.

Academy of Country Music: Country Music legend Kenny Rogers decorated our lives with incredible music and memories. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

Grand Ole Opry: Tough times just got a little tougher. Thanks for the music that’ll ease our souls today and for years to come, Kenny Rogers.

Tracy Lawrence:  What an amazing journey Kenny Rogers had. I had the pleasure of visiting with him several times over the years. He was always very gracious to me. His music touched me from an early age. I remember my great aunt Lucille paying me a quarter to sing Kenny’s “Lucille” to her when I was 7 or 8 years old. I’ve always considered that my first paid performance. His music and movies will always be a part of us. Rest in peace my friend.

Mark Chesnutt: When I first started out in this business. Kenny Rogers was one of the first really big artists that took me out on a tour. I ended up doing a couple of Christmas tours with him. He was such a great guy and would always come to check on me before the show. He will be missed!

Steve Wariner: Hearing Kenny Rogers’ magnificent voice singing MY lyrics, my music, to ‘I’m Missing You,’ that was definitely a highlight! When KR sang that song, he OWNED it. What a talent and what a sweet man. Kenny, you certainly made this world a better place. Rest In Peace my friend.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

What to know about coronavirus experimental treatments

No Comments National News

iStock(NEW YORK) — The rush to find a treatment for the novel coronavirus continues to intensify as the number of diagnosed cases around the world grows significantly.

Globally, there are at least 278,000 diagnosed cases with more than 11,000 virus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The increase in COVID-19 numbers is upping the pressure on world leaders and scientists to deliver.

President Donald Trump even touted a malaria drug, chloroquine, during a press briefing Thursday as a potential “game changer.”

The nation’s top infectious disease doctor, Anthony Fauci, however, cautioned that there isn’t enough evidence to support claims it will work to help patients with COVID-19.

Still, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said “the president has directed us to take a closer look at, as to whether an expanded-use approach to that could be done to actually see if it benefits patients [with coronavirus].”

Chloroquine and a nearly identical drug called hydroxychloroquine both have mild side effects. They would be taken by people who are already sick, but could also potentially be taken by people who are healthy to help prevent infection.

While chloroquine is definitely being looked at as an option to combat the virus, it’s not the only one. Scientists and medical professionals are looking at several options for coronavirus treatments.

Separately, scientists are also working on a vaccine, which would be given to people who are healthy to protect them from getting sick if they are exposed to the virus. But experts say a vaccine is one to two years away.

Here is a breakdown of some of the experimental drugs being evaluated for COVID-19. Please note these are treatments for people who are already sick, not vaccines. Some of these are already being tested in clinical trials. Some may also be available through “compassionate use,” which is an emergency program so that very sick patients can try an unproven therapy.

Even if successful, these treatments would not necessarily be “cures” for COVID-19, but rather an extra tool doctors can use to help people who become extremely sick.

This is an experimental therapy not currently approved to treat any disease. It was studied for Ebola but didn’t work as well as other drugs, so it didn’t move forward. Today it’s seen by U.S. medical experts (including Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) as one of the best hopes for COVID-19.

It also showed promise for SARS in laboratory experiments.

Data on this drug could come in as early as next month. There are three major trials ongoing with study sites in the U.S. Two are sponsored by Gilead Sciences, the company behind the drug, and one is sponsored by the NIAID.

Chloroquine is an approved malaria drug in many countries, but it’s not currently approved to treat COVID-19 in the U.S.

Researchers in China studied it in COVID-19 patients with pneumonia and found they had shorter hospital stays. On Thursday, Hahn said the agency would start clinical trials of a nearly identical drug, hydroxychloroquine, for patients with COVID-19 infection.

Fauci warned about the lack of scientific proof, however, and said that any signs of success were “anecdotal.”

“The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial,” Fauci said at the coronavirus task force news conference. “So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it,” he said at a press conference.

Experts say it could also be used to prevent infection, though this will also have to be studied.

There are clinical trials ongoing in China and more scheduled to start in England, Thailand, South Korea and the United States.

Bayer is among several drug companies that make chloroquine and it said this week it’s donating 3 million tablets of the drug Resochin (chloroquine phosphate) to the U.S. government.

Kaletra has been approved to treat HIV, but not approved to treat COVID-19.

It’s an antiviral drug, so some believe it may be effective for COVID-19, a disease caused by a virus. However, early results are not promising.

It didn’t make much of a difference, according to results published this week of a clinical trial in COVID-19 patients.

This drug is approved in Japan to treat the flu but is not approved to treat novel coronavirus.

Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients. However, the results haven’t been peer-reviewed and Fujifilm, the company that makes the drug, declined to comment on the study results.

Human trials are ongoing in China and possibly Thailand.

Nafamostat is a blood clot medicine approved in Japan but it’s not approved for COVID-19.

In 2016, scientists identified the potential for nafamostatr, made by Nichi-iko Pharmaceutical Co, to inhibit the virus that caused MERS.

Clinical trials are expected to begin within in a month in Japan and results won’t be available for some time.

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are a type of medicine made up of proteins. Many companies are attempting to make this type of medicine for COVID-19.

These antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that can neutralize pathogens. This approach has worked before for other infectious diseases.

Regeneron, one of several companies working with monoclonal antibodies, says its clinical trials could start in the early summer. Results will not be available for some time.

Convalescent plasma

This is a treatment, not a drug. Commissioner Han spoke about this approach on Thursday.

Treatment using convalescent plasma is done by taking the blood of someone who is already infected and recovered from the coronavirus and then infuse the infection-fighting antibodies into someone who is newly infected, or someone who is likely to be infected. This would be both a treatment and a quasi-vaccine (protective). But the underlying idea is that it will help the immune system fight off the infection.

Johns Hopkins hopes to start testing it on people soon.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

For the few black women prosecutors, hate and ‘misogynoir’ are part of life

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iStock(NEW YORK) — Marilyn Mosby is part of the 1% — an elite group of 45 women of color among the nearly 2,400 elected prosecutors in the United States.

Usually being a part of an exclusive club is loaded with perks and in some cases inspires envy from those who yearn to join the ranks.

But for many of these pioneering women, the process has not only been fraught, but filled with outright danger, with people not only targeting them because they are women, but because they are black as well — what some call “misogynoir” (a term coined by scholar Moya Bailey and creator Trudy that describes racism and misogyny towards black women).

Threats and challenges to their authority have come from a range of sources — anonymous hecklers, public officials and even crossed racial barriers, according to voicemails, emails and interviews with several of the women.

Being in this club is also exceedingly lonely, the women and experts say, which has added to the anxiety of the daily difficulties they face in doing their jobs. As such, some have banded together in a “Sisters Circle” to support each other.

“I represent 1% of all elected prosecutors in the country,” said Baltimore City’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby in an interview with ABC News.

ABC News interviewed a group of these top law enforcement officials to highlight the challenges they face both as women and minorities amid Black and Women’s History Months. While many elected officials face threats and unhappy constituents, the challenges to this small group of women are unique, because of race and gender, experts say.

“Prosecutors are the ones who decide who are going to be charged, what they’re gonna be charged with, what sentence recommendations they’re going to make. They are a key and probably one of the most important and vital stakeholders within the criminal justice system,” said Mosby who says she learned early how not to internalize receiving hateful, sexist and racist attacks.

“It’s not even about you personally, it’s about what you represent. And what you represent to the status quo…The keepers of the status quo, are tones that establish over the criminalization of poor black and brown people, mass incarceration,” said Mosby.

Prior to the November 2019 election cycle, 20% of the population are women of color, but represented 1.87% of the 2,396 elected prosecutor titles — district attorney, prosecuting attorney, county attorney, county prosecuting attorney, state’s attorney, solicitor general and attorney, according to the Reflective Democracy Campaign (RDC), a project with the Women Donors Network (WDN), the only organization believed to keep this recent data.

The numbers were lower in 2015, when Mosby was first elected – just 29 women of color, according to RDC (representing 1.3%).

Mosby says she had a mission to reform the criminal justice system in her city and at the age of 35 she beat an incumbent and became the youngest leading prosecutor in the country.

Shortly after Mosby’s win, she met her idol who was also someone “who looked like myself,” she said, former California attorney general and one-time Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris. Harris was the first black woman to serve as the state’s attorney general and the first woman to serve as district attorney for San Francisco, elected in 2003.

“I was so impressed by this woman,” said Mosby.

But, Mosby’s six-hour meeting with Harris couldn’t prepare her for what was to come after she charged six police officers in connection to the April 2015 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

Gray was arrested by the officers for allegedly possessing a knife. A bystander captured the arrest on cellphone video, where Gray was seen dragged by two officers and put into the back of the police van. Gray later died from a spinal cord injury he allegedly suffered while in police custody. After three of the officers were acquitted after trial and one ended with a mistrial, Mosby dismissed the charges against the rest.

“I didn’t anticipate the hate mail and the death threats and/or being thrust into the international spotlight,” Mosby said.

Two days after Mosby announced criminal charges against the police officers, on May 1, 2015, she received an email with the subject “Obituary of Marilyn Mosby.”

The email described Mosby being “gunned down in cold blood walking into the courthouse” and her husband, state delegate Nick J. Mosby was “found tortured and dismembered.” The gruesome email ended with, “several family members, related to Mr. and Mrs. Mosby, have been reported ‘missing’, the police are not currently investigating and feel that none of the missing are significant.”

The threats were turned over to investigators and no arrest were made, Mosby said.

Over the next five years, Mosby says she has received hundreds of sexist, racist and threatening messages accompanied with accusations of being anti-police — a false narrative, said Mosby, who says she comes from a law enforcement family. Her dad was a police officer and her grandfather was one of the first African American police officers in Massachusetts, she told ABC News.

Even after the Gray case ended with no convictions in state court and no federal charges filed against the officers, Mosby says the hateful letters, voicemails, emails and social media posts continued.

“I’m not fazed by the hate and the political rhetoric and the implicit bias and the ‘misogynoir’ coverage that I have to deal with on a day to day basis, because that doesn’t define me. It’s — it’s bigger than me,” said Mosby. “It’s, not about me, it’s about what I represent to a system that has been — and it has disproportionately impacted communities of color for far too long.”

Despite the threats, Mosby says she pursued her agenda, creating an alternative to incarceration program — modeled after Harris’ national “Back on Track” program — for low-level felony drug offenders called AIM to B’More. And after the U.S. Department of Justice found corruption within the Baltimore Police Department’s now defunct Gun Trace Task Force in 2016, she requested that almost 800 convictions tied to those officers be thrown out, according to the Baltimore Sun.

A year after being sworn into office, Mosby noticed a rise in black women running for and winning lead positions in prosecutor offices across the country.

“I…made a promise to myself that I would be supportive of black women in these positions,” said Mosby. “And what I was able to do was to create a network of support… understanding and recognizing that, you know, some of the challenges and the obstacles that we go through on a day to day basis are unlike anyone else.”

She created what she calls a “Sisters Circle,” a support group for women of color leading criminal justice agencies. The group is comprised of Mosby and 11 other black women prosecutors.

Mosby’s promise to support her fellow sisters in justice did not go unnoticed. In January, the “Sisters Circle” traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to support Circuit Court Attorney Kim Gardner, who was announcing that she had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against her city, police unions and others for, the suit alleges, launching a racist campaign to push her out of office.

Prior to the press conference, 11 other prosecutors including Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark, not in attendance, signed a statement in support of Gardner.

“Although people aren’t picketing in front of my house or sending death threats, it can easily be me one day,” said Clark, a member of the “Sisters Circle” and the first black woman district attorney in New York State. “All it takes is one case for that to happen to me and if that does happen, I want them to be there for me like I am there for them.”

Gardner, 44, is the first woman and black woman to lead the city’s circuit court.

“I didn’t know I was going to win…I never did a citywide race before,” said Gardner, who received over 40% of the votes to win in 2016. “I was humbled and I am humbled.”

Gardner hit the ground running after she was sworn in by teaming up with the Vera Institute of Justice’s Reshaping Prosecution program that implemented reforms, policies and provide alternatives to incarceration.

“Justice is not just sending people to a jail cell, it’s about how we don’t do more harm to society and be ministers of justice,” said Gardner.

So when Gardner received a complaint from a woman alleging that Missouri Governor Eric Greitens invaded her privacy by taking compromising photographs of her, felony invasion of privacy charges were filed against the governor in 2018.

Gardner alleges that a public relations firm hired by the police union coordinated an effort to ruin her reputation if she did not dismiss the charges against Greitens. The case was also investigated by the state’s House committee and found the woman, who was Greitens mistress from a 2015 affair, “credible,” Gardner said.

“Some told me I would lose my license and I would lose my career if I didn’t do what they said, but I still went forward,” said Gardner who endured protests outside her office and photos of her face attached to caricatures.

Greitens ultimately reached an agreement with Gardner’s office in which he would resign from office and stipulate that prosecutors had enough evidence to go forward to trial, according to a court document obtained by ABC News, although prosecutors also acknowledged that the trial outcome was not certain.

Weeks after Gardner held the Jan. 14 press conference with “Sisters Circle” members Mosby, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins and Orange/Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala by her side, she says she received anonymous hate mail at her office and placed on her car.

Gardner read one of the letters to ABC News in which she was called a racial epithet and the writer hoped the Ku Klux Klan hangs her from a tree.

“When you are trying to change the system, I knew it was going to be difficult, what I didn’t prepare for was the racial divide that continues to say I can be controlled because I am a black female,” said Gardner. “I knew I would get backlash, haters, the vitriol, people who been here in this office for 20 years said they never seen anything like this.”

In response to the lawsuit, the police officer’s union released a statement calling the discrimination allegations “frivolous, desperate and pathetic.” In court documents, they denied all the allegation.

When Mosby returned back to Baltimore she received a racist and profanity-laced voicemail which she posted online with the caption, in part, “This is why #IStandWithKimGardner…”

Gardner said it’s disturbing to still have to deal with racism in 2020. “It’s troubling,” she said but says she “fears no one.”

Gloria Blackwell, senior vice president of fellowship and programs at the non-profit advocacy organization American Association of University Women (AAUW), which the mission is to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy, said it’s no surprise that black women in leadership are faced with racist and sexist attacks.

“It’s not an accident that we are talking about this still in 2020…It is rooted in racism and in a system that was created long before we got here,” said Blackwell. “Black women are educated and we did everything we have been told to do to move in the professional world. Even when we get to those positions, we always find that we have to consistently prove ourselves…but we are stuck by people who control the narrative. It’s a double bind in the workplace, someone once called it ‘double jeopardy.'”

And Lisa Flores, a counseling psychology professor at the University of Missouri, said that the higher up women of color go, the more isolated they become.

“Moving up the ranks usually means being alone or being the one of the only because there aren’t a lot of other women of color at higher levels to turn to for advice or to ask if something wrong is happening,” said Flores.

When Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx decided to run for office, she says she was not attracted to the idea of becoming a politician, but rather improving the community she came from. Foxx grew up on the North side of Chicago in the Cabrini-Green housing projects, is the survivor of sexual assault and earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Illinois University and its School of Law.

Foxx, 47, says she became an attorney to advocate for children in foster care in the county’s public guardian’s office.

The longer Foxx was engulfed in the legal system, the more she says she saw and wanted to be among those who can make power moves to truly fix the system. In 2016, Foxx was elected as the first black female state attorney of the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country.

“So when women of color are in a position to try to break down the narrative, barriers, and bring in policies to help everyone, they are looking at it as she’s black and will only help black people,” said Blackwell. “And because of that they have to tear that person down, question her qualifications, find ways to make others question why this person was elected in the first place.”

In her first term, Foxx declined to prosecute over 5,000 low-level shop lifting and drug offenses and prosecuted fewer felony offenses that would have been pursued by the previous administration, according to an Oct. 2019 investigation by the Marshall Project. Many offenders were diverted to alternative treatment programs.

Foxx’s policy changes and prosecution decisions became the topic of discussion for an anonymous pro-police blog where posters expressed offensive opinions about her. Throughout the blog, Foxx’s last name is sexualized with an extra “x” at the end and she’s often referred to as “Crimesha.”

“Women of color are often the target of sexist and racist stereotypes — it is a form of double jeopardy because they are members of multi-oppressed groups,” said Flores. “The experience of white women and women of color are the same, but different because of the racism behind it.”

“They would post that I’m a criminal, a thug…the name Crimesha is soaked in racism and misogyny, they even posted my address,” said Foxx, before taking a pause to discuss the most high-profile case that pushed her into the national spotlight.

During the early morning of Jan. 29, 2019, Jussie Smollett, then an actor on the show “Empire,” reported that he was allegedly the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack by two men. It was later alleged by the Chicago Police Department that Smollett was untruthful about the attack.

Foxx agreed to drop charges against Smollett in exchange for community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond, a move that sparked outrage and criticism from across the country.

Smollett was indicted in February for making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime after a special prosecutor investigated the state’s investigation into his case. He denies the charges and stands by his story.

“We received so much hate mail and threats,” said Foxx, adding that, a majority of the messages called her racial slurs and derogatory terms for a woman.

Foxx was most disturbed when a protest in front of her office in April 2019 was, according The Chicago Sun Times as well as witnesses and photographs from the rally, believed to be three white nationalists groups.

“It was scary…what did we do for white nationalists to get involved?” asked Foxx.

“I’m here to do a job…with the misogyny and the racism, you have to develop a thick skin and you wash it off, you have to brush it off as a part of the job,” said Foxx, who is up for re-election this year.

Foxx, a member of the “Sisters Circle,” says she is relieved that she is able to lean on other women in her position.

“The sisters in this circle are everything,” said Foxx, who met Mosby while campaigning.

Here are some of the other women in this elite group and their experiences:

When Ayala was elected into office, she was the first black woman to earn that spot. Ayala did not imagine that halfway through her first term she would announce that she will not seek re-election.

Prior to Ayala getting sworn in, she says her passion was to become a sex crime prosecutor and pursing the prevention of domestic violence related homicides.

In 2016, the state’s Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional and in Ayala’s first days in office, she was greeted with 27 death penalty cases to re-evaluate.

“I was now asking ‘why are we trying to legitimatize these cases?'” said Ayala, 45, who says she researched the issue and realized executions are “not a deterrent, it’s all about vengeance.”

When she announced she wouldn’t pursue death penalty sentencings with first-degree murder cases, the governor revoked her office’s right to prosecute those cases and gave them to a neighboring prosecutor’s office.

When she sued the former Governor Rick Scott to get her power back to prosecute first-degree murder cases, $1.3 million was cut from her budget and she said she received death threats and a noose in the mail.

“This type of experience was more than just disagreement it was racially charged,” said Ayala.

One of the online attackers was B. Stanley McCullars, a supervisor with the Seminole County Clerk of Courts, who ultimately was forced to resign from his job.

McCullars wrote on Facebook in 2017 that Ayala should be hung from a tree and receive the death penalty after she did not seek capital punishment for Markeith Loyd, who was accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and a state trooper.

McCullars apologized, deleted the post and then went on to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and his former employer for violating his First Amendment rights.

“I had to testify in court that it was wrong to let someone have the right to say they have right to say that I should be killed. The federal judge threw it out,” Ayala told ABC News.

McCullars has not filed an appeal, online records show.

Regarding the Loyd case — one of three first-degree murder cases the governor revoked — the state’s Supreme Court ruled against Ayala.

“I knew I had a conflict I had to grapple with and I refuse to grapple when pursing justice,” said Ayala who announced last May that she wouldn’t seek reelection and be the signature to the “wheels of death.”

Despite the higher court’s ruling, Loyd did not receive a death sentence, but life without the possibility of parole.

Five months after Ayala filed the lawsuit against Scott, she decided to withdraw the claim and created a recommendation panel of seven assistant state attorneys which would decide if the death penalty should be sought for first-degree murder cases, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“There still hasn’t been a death sentence in my circuit and several cases were converted to life sentences since they took away those cases from my office,” said Ayala.

Although Ayala is removing herself from the state attorney spotlight, she is not leaving the legal field. Instead she will focus on continuing to legally better the community with conversion programs and supporting crime victims.

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, 63, is the first black woman to oversee the largest prosecutor’s office in the country with almost 1,000 attorneys on staff.

“From day one, when you first get this job, you have to know you have a target on your head,” said Lacey. “You’re making tough and hard decisions…There is never love for the district attorney.”

She is up for re-election for her third term this year and is not immune to criticism. In fact, she says her biggest critics are activists with the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM) for a number of reasons including what they say are the low number of police officers charged for allegedly killing people of color.

Since January 2012, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has filed one case involving an on-duty shooting by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy and three cases where off-duty officers were charged with murder, a spokesman with the prosecutor’s office confirmed to ABC News.

The office’s Justice System Integrity Division has released reports since 2016 of their investigations into police involved fatal and non-fatal shootings. In January and February, the office investigated 21 police involved fatal and non-fatal shootings and did not file any charges. There were also 11 in November and December 2019 that also resulted with no charges getting filed.

Lacey said during her two terms she has made efforts to bridge the gap with the community.

“I’m the first African American woman to hold this job and the first to open the door to talk to the community,” she told ABC News during an interview in February.

At a 2018 town hall meeting, it turned into the audience calling her “the devil, guys in the front going gang signs and a woman having a child shouting ‘you have to go!’ it was out of control,” said Lacey who left the building.

Following that hectic event, Lacey tried to have a smaller gathering with community leaders, but she said to no avail.

Since then, the activists have scheduled protests at Lacey’s office and house for months demanding that she meet with them.

On the eve of primary elections on March 3, BLM activists showed up at Lacey’s Granada Hills home early in the morning and rang the bell, according to police. The pre-dawn door knockers were met with Lacey’s husband pointing a gun at the uninvited guests, demanding them to leave the porch.

The incident was captured on video and was posted on social media.

Lacey apologized for the incident at a press conference the following day and went on to win over 50% of the votes.

The chapter’s co-founder Melina Abdullah said the protesters were “traumatized” and did not accept Lacey’s apology. “She didn’t apologize to us,” Abdullah said to the Associated Press. “And an apology isn’t enough. We need her to change. We need her to be accountable or she can retire.”

Lacey, who has served as a prosecutor since 1985, said she doesn’t allow “political pressure” to influence her to make decisions and has attempted to explain her position to the activists to no avail.

While she is not a part of the “Sisters Circle,” it saddens her to hear what the other 1% are dealing with for doing their “calling.”

“I would have hoped by 2020 — I grew up in the 60s — a lot of this racism would have disappeared and these words would have disappeared…it’s terrible how our people are treated,” said Lacey. “This is not a job for me it is a calling. When you are willing to put your life at risk, it’s a calling. These are the jobs we signed up for.”

In New York, another veteran prosecutor, Clark took an unconventional route to her current position.

Clark started her career in 1986 when she served as a prosecutor for 13 years, a state judge for 16 and as an appellate court judge for three before her predecessor Robert Johnson — the first black district attorney in the state — stepped down to become a civil court judge and the Democratic Party put her as a candidate. She ran in the general election and won.

“I got connected to the other women of color who are also first and we found that for some of us it was hard to effectuate reform in the jurisdictions they are in,” said Clark.

Clark, 57, admits that it was difficult for her to change the culture of the office that once had to deal with 478 murders in the borough in 1989. New York City had a little over 300 homicides in 2019.

“Back then it was nail ’em and jail ’em. I have to own what was my part of mass incarcerations, that’s not the way to do it now,” said Clark, who has revamped the office’s re-entry program and tweaked the bail policy before it was reformed in January to include giving defendants options to post bail. “While presiding, I saw injustices to the defendant with burdened defense attorneys who didn’t care about another person of color going to Rikers Island, the clients suffered.”

“If there’s no jail then no bail,” said Clark, meaning that if the offense will not result with a jail or prison sentence, do not set bail.

Clark said she is not immune to social media attacks that she ignores or criticisms she says she receives from by Ed Mullins, the leader of the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association.

“He has hated me ever since I indicted Deborah Danner’s killer, he has called me the worst DA ever, he still says that about me,” said Clark. NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry, shot and killed Danner, a mentally-ill 66-year-old bat-wielding woman.

Barry claimed self-defense and was acquitted after trial in February 2018 despite a fellow officer testifying at the criminal trial that Danner did not swing the bat. The city agreed to pay a $2 million wrongful death settlement to Danner’s family in December 2018, in part, because of the indictment and pending disciplinary actions against Barry.

Barry remains on modified duty, an NYPD spokeswoman confirmed to ABC News. Mullins did not respond for request for comment.

Police officers protested in front of her office because of the indictment.

“I don’t suffer like Gardner, Mosby and Foxx…their resistance are strong, but at any time that could be me, the NYPD could be mad at me tomorrow,” said Clark. “There’s people who go through extremes to try and prove a point and that’s why I support my sisters.”

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Storms developing could bring flooding to South Sunday, snow to Northeast Monday

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ABC News (NEW YORK) — A new storm will bring strong storms and some possible flooding in parts of the South beginning Sunday and some snow for parts of the Northeast on Monday as a coastal storm develops.

Parts of central Ohio dealt with flooding Friday morning after strong thunderstorms brought heavy rain to the region. Rainfall totals over the last few days in parts of central Ohio have exceeded 4 inches. River flooding continues Saturday morning in parts of the region, but any ongoing river flooding should begin to recede over the weekend.

The frontal system also brought a handful of damaging winds reports across eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and New York. Winds gusts of 59 mph were reported in parts of northern New York.

This same storm system brought some of the warmest air in months to parts of the Northeast on Friday afternoon. New York City reached 77 degrees, the warmest temperature since Oct. 7, 2019.

The next notable weather maker will develop in the southern U.S. late Saturday into Sunday. Heavy rain and some thunderstorms will move into parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas by Sunday morning, before expanding north and east during the day.

Some of the storms from Louisiana to Mississippi and Alabama could turn severe and bring some gusty winds.

This storm will be moving into the Ohio Valley and Southern Great Lakes by Monday, with the northern edge of the precipitation shield interacting with colder air. Additionally, a coastal low will develop over the coast of the Carolinas. This will likely result in at least a brief period of some snow in parts of the Northeast.

Meanwhile, a couple rounds of heavy rain will move across the South and parts of the Mid-Atlantic, which could cause some flash flooding.

The coastal low will ride fairly close to the coastline late on Monday and become a little more organized. As a result, rain will intensify close to the major cities, but snow will become a little heavier in parts of interior New England.

Additionally, winds will be picking up and it could be gusty in parts of New England.

As far as rainfall totals, 2 to 3 inches of rain will be possible in parts of the South, where rainfall over the last few months remains well above average.

Away from the major cities, in interior parts of New England snow accumulation will be possible. It looks like 3 to 6 inches will be possible in parts of Central New York, and into parts of northern Connecticut to Maine. The latest forecast guidance also shows some areas getting more than 6 inches, especially the highest elevations of the northern Appalachians.

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