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Behenna solicits high court

The Oklahoman

Police investigate early Sunday shooting of man
Tulsa police are investigating an early Sunday shooting. An unidentied man was shot in the abdomen at 12:10 a.m. Sunday between Admiral Place and North Atlanta Avenue, Capt. Karen Tipler said. He was taken by EMSA to a local hospital. His condition was unknown, Tipler said. A description of the possible shooter was unavailable, she said. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596COPS (2677). KENDRICK MARSHALL, World Sta Writer asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS (2677) or to submit a tip online at tulsaworld. com/crimestoppers. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward. KENDRICK MARSHALL, World Sta Writer

WASHINGTON A new team of attorneys for Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna has led a strongly worded petition with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the top military appeals court issued a wrong and dangerous decision last year conrming the Edmond soldiers conviction of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone. The attorneys said the Supreme Court should hear Behennas case because he was deprived of the same right of self-defense a orded to police o cers. If allowed to stand, the attorneys said, the ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will prevent U.S. service members from defending themselves in combat zones. Because the ... categorical ruling would apply regardless of whether a servicemember is an inch or a mile beyond authorization, it will put an ever-growing number of servicemembers in physical and legal jeopardy as our armed forces confront increasingly unconventional scenarios involving undened battle lines and deadly threats from disguised enemies, Behennas

petition says. The Army has not responded to the appeal, which was led last week. The U.S. Supreme Court accepts a small percentage of the appeals led. Behenna, 29, is serving a 15year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for killing a suspected terrorist in Iraq in 2008 during an unauthorized interrogation. Behenna took an Iraqi civilian, Ali Mansur, to a deserted area, forced him to strip naked and then questioned him at gunpoint. In his court martial, Behenna claimed self-defense, saying he shot Mansur twice after the Iraqi threw a piece of concrete at him and lunged for his gun. An Army appeals court and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces agreed that Behenna had lost his right to self-defense when he pointed the gun at Mansur; moreover, the courts ruled that Behenna couldnt regain a self-defense claim unless Mansur escalated the conict or attacked as Behenna tried to withdraw. Even assuming for a moment that Mansur could have escalated the level of force, we conclude that a naked and unarmed individual in the desert does not escalate the

level of force when he throws a piece of concrete at an initial aggressor in full battle attire, armed with a loaded pistol, and lunges for the pistol, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled by a 3-2 vote in July. Behennas attorneys say the position taken by the military courts is going to put service members in jeopardy unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes to reset the parameters for self-defense. The CAAF decision is dangerously wrong, Behennas petition states. The majority woodenly treats a confrontation between a servicemember and a suspected terrorist in a combat zone no di erently than a barroom brawl between two civilians in the States. Through his court martial and military court appeals, Behenna was represented by Houston attorney Jack B. Zimmerman, who pushed Behennas case on the selfdefense claim and related arguments about jury instructions and whether evidence was withheld. Behennas Supreme Court petition was written by a team of ve lawyers that includes University of Oklahoma law professor Joseph

Thai and Stanford University law professor Je Fisher, the co-director of Stanfords Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. The Supreme Court appeal is both narrower and broader than those in the military courts. It focuses almost exclusively on the denition of self-defense in the context of warfare, but it seeks to engage Supreme Court justices with arguments about the changing nature of warfare and the no-win situation U.S. soldiers are in under the standard used in Behennas case. If the self-defense standard is allowed to stand, the petition says, servicemembers who overstep their authority instantly become defenseless targets for deadly enemy attacks. If they draw their rearms rst, they could lose all right to self-defense as a matter of law. If they wait for the enemy to attack before drawing their weapons, they could lose their lives. Neither basic concepts of criminal law nor common sense requires servicemembers to make that Hobsons choice.

Man in critical condition after residential shooting

A man was transported to an area hospital in critical condition after he was shot outside of a home Sunday night, police said. Police were called to the 5900 block of East Latimer Place about 6 p.m. in reference to a shooting, Capt. Karen Tipler said. The unidentied man was in the neighborhood visiting friends when he became involved in a verbal altercation with several people outside a home, Tipler said. The victim was then shot multiple times in the abdomen, she said. He was taken to a local hospital by EMSA in critical condition. Investigators are searching for a red or maroon four-door Chevrolet that was reportedly at the scene when the shooting occurred, Tipler said. Descriptions of possible assailants were not disclosed. A motive for the shooting has not been determined, Tipler said. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS (2677), online at or via text message at CRIMES (274637). Text tips should begin with Tip918. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may earn a reward. KENDRICK MARSHALL, World Sta Writer

Woman is shot in the leg during robbery attempt

A woman su ered non-lifethreatening injuries after she was shot in the leg during a robbery attempt outside a Tulsa apartment complex, police said. The shooting happened about 10:15 p.m. Saturday at the Windsail Apartments in the 9800 block of East 73rd Street, Capt. Steve Odom said. A man approached the womans car and tried to take her purse, Odom said. During a struggle with the robber, the woman was shot once in the leg above the knee, he said. She was transported by EMSA to St. Francis Hospital, police said. The suspect is described as black, between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 135 pounds. He was last seen leaving the scene in a what appeared to be a Chevrolet Equinox, police said. Anyone with information is


youre on your own. Unless Legal Aid steps in. On sta with GableGotwals, a corporate law rm with sweeping views of Tulsa from its high-rise o ce suite, Tavares didnt charge a dime to take the Widgers as clients. They were very stressed out, he said. You could just look at them and see the burden and how it was weighing them down. Within a few days, Tavares had the bank account unfrozen. A few weeks later, the court reversed its ruling. And within a year, the whole case was settled, with the Widgers roof xed and their good credit restored. The reason I became a lawyer was to help people, Tavares said. Obviously, thats why I went to law school. And here was a chance to really do it, to really help somebody. GableGotwals lets Tavares and his colleagues spend 10 percent to 15 percent of their time on pro bono work, which can add up to hundreds of unbilled hours. Thats extraordinarily generous, said Michael Figgins, executive director of Legal Aid Services of Okla-


Eric Widger Sr. and his wife, Melisa Widger, beneciaries of Legal Aid, stand in front of their north Tulsa house. The nonprot group, which provides pro-bono representation to people who cant afford an attorney, helped the Widgers in a lawsuit with a roong company.
CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World

is that Legal Aid is not big enough. More than 40,000 people a year ask for help, but Legal Aid can accommodate only one out of ve of them as ents. The other 80 percent have to settle for some free legal homa. advice. But its only a fraction of And thats not even countwhats needed. ing middle-class families, The rst thing to know who dont qualify for the free about Legal Aid, he said, help but cant necessarily af-

For help

To contact Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, call 1-888-534-5243 or go to

ford an attorney either. For them, Legal Aid o ers community education to help people better represent themselves or better yet, avoid a legal pitfall in the rst place, Figgins said. Were just scratching the surface, he said. Were doing all that we can, but its not even close to whats needed.
Michael Overall 918-581-8383


Children with the most severe problems are often least likely to show up in clinical care settings. By providing home-based treatment, Family and Childrens Services provides a greater guarantee and lessens the risk that one of these children will fall through the cracks, said Gail Lapidus, the agencys CEO. The agency has partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for years to provide home-based case management but those case managers arent able to do therapy. We recognized the need is there and hope to be able

to make a big impact, Marsh said. Last year the agencys Child Abuse and Trauma Services program served 8,172 children in its clinic. This program will serve 30 children the rst year and expand to about 80 the next year. By taking the mountain to Mohammed bringing services to Family and Childrens Services clients, in this case we can help children recover from the traumas theyve su ered, improve their ability to perform academically and lead them to happier, healthier futures, Lapidus said. What were doing is unconventional, but the longterm risks of not helping children whove su ered abuse,

neglect or other traumas are too great to ignore. The agency received a fouryear, $1.6 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative to fund the at-home treatment program. This is the third time the agency has received a similar grant. The rst two grants, in 2003 and 2009, allowed the agency to develop and implement evidence-based treatment interventions including parent-child interaction therapy, child-parent psychotherapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Home-based therapy is highly promising for a small subset of vulnerable clients who otherwise would receive

no treatment or incomplete care because their parents cant take o work to get them here, or because of other family members special needs, or because there is no car or gas money to get to our o ce, Lapidus said. Marsh stressed that the home-based treatment is not perfect for everyone and that a therapists o ce is still the best setting. They can come here and drop their stu and dont have to worry about who is listening. Then they can leave it all here and have their home untouched, she said. For more information, call 918-712-4301 or go online to
Mike Averill 918-581-8489

Cline took over as state health commissioner after completing work as health attache at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where he advised the U.S. ambassador, the Iraqi minister of health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on health-related challenges in Iraq. At the top of Clines list for improving Oklahomans health is reducing their rate of smoking. Oklahoma, which ranked 48th in the nation in the percentage of adult smokers in 2011, was 47th last year. About 26 percent of Oklahomans, or 745,000 adults, still smoke. We have to drive down this smoking rate, Cline said. Oklahoma has experienced a statistical decrease in tobacco use over the last decade, and 2011 was the rst year that there were more former smokers in the state than current smokers. Thats important, Cline said. But the state still lags behind the progress experienced by other states and has been well above the national average for smoking for the past 11 years. Statistics provided by the United Health Foundation show the state ranks high in the number of cancer and cardiovascular deaths, diseases Cline said are linked to smoking. The state averages about 200 cancer deaths per 100,000 residents, but the rate of cardiovascular deaths

is an alarming 330 per 100,000 residents 48th in the nation. One in four Oklahomans smoke, and its the number one preventable cause of death, Cline said. Obesity is another issue that has a negative impact on the states overall health. Almost one in three adults in the state, or 888,000 people, is classied as obese and at an increased risk for ill health. One consequence of obesity is diabetes, which aficts more than one in nine adults in Oklahoma, or 317,000 people. We have an epidemic of children with diabetes, Cline said. Without reversing the trend, almost an entire generation of Oklahomans will be forced to manage the disease throughout their lives, he said. Finally, Oklahoma ranked 45th in the nation in the percent of the adult population who live sedentary lifestyles, meaning they get no exercise other than what they experience on the job. About 891,000 Oklahomans are classied as sedentary, an important indicator for future obesity rates. Cline said Oklahomans are showing progress in improving their health, steps that are reected in the national health rankings. Having that relative ranking of 43rd is very good news. But its not advancing as rapidly as it is in other states, Cline said. Were trending in the right direction. But its not good enough.


at the Education Service Center, 3027 S. New Haven Ave., includes six goodcause exemptions for students who dont meet academic requirements for promotion. Eligible students would include those with limited English prociency who have had less than two years of English language instruction and special educa-

tion students for whom state tests are not appropriate or who have received two years of intensive remedial help and were previously held back one to two years. The proposed policy also states that students could use alternative, state-approved reading assessments or portfolios to demonstrate acceptable reading skills to receive an exemption, or have a teacher submit a request to a principal with documentation to prove promotion is appropriate. Students may also become eligible for

promotion to fourth grade if they are able to demonstrate prociency by the end of a summer program or prior to Nov. 1 of the following academic year. Under the proposed policy revision, each school will form a faculty committee to review and make retention and promotion decisions, which can be appealed by a parent or guardian to the principal, superintendent and, ultimately, the school board.
Andrea Eger 918-581-8470

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