The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a Florida school system allowing prayers at graduation ceremonies is constitutional because the state isn't involved in most of the decision-making process. "The total absence of state involvement in deciding whether there will be a graduation message, who will speak, or what the speaker may say combined with the student speaker's complete autonomy over the content of the message convinces us that the message delivered, be it secular or sectarian or both, is not state-sponsored," the court ruled in a 10-2 decision. "To conclude otherwise would come perilously close to announcing an absolute rule that would excise all private religious expression from a public graduation ceremony, no matter how neutral the process of selecting the speaker may be, nor how autonomous the speaker may be in crafting her message." (See also the UPI's story, listen to National Public Radio's " Morning Edition" report, and read the official court decision.)
In November 1997, James Arnett pled guilty to ten charges of raping a young girl. In his sentencing, Hamilton County Judge Melba Marsh noted that he had struggled over how long Arnett should serve. His remarks concluded with these comments:
"And in looking at the final part of my struggle with you, I finally answered my question late at night when I turned to one additional source to help me. And basically, looking at Rachel on one hand, looking at the photographs of you happily as a child, and looking at the photographs of downloading that came from your computer, I agree they're very sad photographs, they're pure filth, ...1
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