Kristina Ross Guilty on Battery Charges

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Apr. 21, 2011

Kristina RossToday Kristina Ross, the woman arrested for practicing medicine without a license after allegedly offering breast exams in two area bars, was sentenced to 360 days in jail with 157 days deducted for time served.

Ross will serve out the balance of 203 days in county jail followed by two years of unsupervised probation. Ross also must abide by two no contact orders with the victims and pay a $1,000 fine, as well as pay court costs and an additional $700 for the reimbursement of the psycho-sexual evaluation she underwent as a part of the plea to reduce the charges from felony practicing medicine without a license to two misdemeanor charges of battery.

Judge John Hawley called Ross a con and said that although the case was presented in the media as titillating and, some thought, humorous, there was nothing funny about the humiliation the victims were made to feel by Ross’ actions.

After a psycho-sexual evaluation, the judge said the therapist who evaluated Ross concluded that her transgender status was not a factor in her crime. However she was found to be bi-polar with a borderline personality disorder and likely to re-offend.

Carlson Talks After Guilt Verdict

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Apr. 18, 2011

After being found guilty of first degree arson, possessing a hoax destructive device and indecent exposure on April 14, Citydesk talked to Catherine Carlson about her conviction.

“Well I expected it, and I didn’t expect it, and it blew my mind … I [am going] to prison because I couldn’t transfer that title of that trailer into my name because I refuse to register as transgender,” said Carlson.

The 56-year-old Payette woman has a long history of physical and psychological abuse, and has had numerous encounters with the courts and law enforcement over the years.

July 11, 2010, Carlson torched the trailer where she lived, placed four fake pipe bombs on her doorstep and put a note on her front door that read, “No one inside, booby trapped, it’s not worth your life, keep out.” She then headed to a storage facility where she set her truck on fire. Carlson was arrested shortly afterward, while walking naked down Highway 95 in Payette. Continue reading

Catherine Carlson Found Guilty On All Charges

It took the jury of five women and seven men one hour to come to a verdict, finding 56 year-old Catherine Carlson guilty of first degree arson, possessing a hoax destructive device and indecent exposure.

After the verdict Carlson’s attorney Phillip Heersink said that although he “was not overly surprised” he was still “disappointed” by the decision.

Against Heersink’s advice, Carlson took the stand as the only witness for the defense. Extremely thin and gaunt, the weathered looking Carlson began her testimony restrained and respectful. She responded to her attorney’s questions regarding the events leading up to her July 11, 2010 arrest.

During cross-examination Payette Country prosecutor Anne Marie Kelso’s, line of questioning agitated Carlson. It got particularly emotional during the following exchange between Carlson and Kelso. Continue reading

Catherine Carlson’s day in court
Advocates suggest a hospital is more appropriate than prison

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
NEWS FEATURE: Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Apr. 6, 2011

Catherine Carlson, Boise Weekly, Transgender, Prison, IdahoCatherine Carlson knows that when she steps into the Payette County courtroom on Tuesday, April 12, she faces the possibility of spending the rest of her days in prison. She also knows that she is her only defense witness. But she wants her day in court.

Carlson, a 53-year-old transsexual woman, is charged with three felonies: first-degree arson, unlawful possession of a bomb or destructive device, and usage of a hoax destructive device. She is also facing a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure. All told, she faces up to 35 years behind bars and a $120,000 fine.

On the morning of July 11, 2010, firefighters responded to a report of a blaze in a Payette trailer park. Tension quickly mounted when authorities discovered alleged pipe bombs rigged to a propane tank on the front porch of one of the trailers. Attached was a note warning that the home was booby-trapped. Law enforcement evacuated the area while bomb technicians defused the device.

Within an hour, firefighters received another call, this time for a car that had been set ablaze near a storage unit north of Payette. Emergency dispatchers received a third call shortly thereafter. Drivers on U.S. Highway 95 near Payette said they had seen a naked woman running down the highway. It was Carlson. Police said she owned the vehicle and the trailer home. Continue reading

Unions Rally at Statehouse, Call for Luna Recall

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Apr. 5, 2011

About 200 picketers outside the Statehouse joined protesters across Idaho Monday in solidarity with public sector workers, who have been under attack in what one legislator called a Republican “war on working people.”

The crowd roared when, in his opening remarks, Democratic Rep. Brian Cronin of Boise pointed at the Idaho Capitol and said, “It is such a relief to leave this building and come out and talk to some real people.

“We have really done a number on the teachers,” Cronin said. “Somehow these heroes of the classroom, the people who educate our children, are the villains in conservative ideology. I do not think it’s an exaggeration to call recent actions of various governors and legislatures a war on working people.”

We Are One Rally - Boise, Idaho April 4, 2011

Dave Whaley, rally organizer and president of the AFL-CIO of Idaho, told the crowd, “We cannot leave this Legislature and not forget what happened here this session. They’re stealing your rights.”

“Folks, it’s been said, but it bears repeating,” Cronin added. “If you are not angry right now, you are simply not paying attention!”

Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant told Citydesk an effort to recall State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is under way. Continue reading

As I See It…PODCAST: On the Record with Constance McMillan

As I See It… Talks ON THE RECORD with Constance McMillan who, with the help of her local ACLU affiliate, sued her Fulton, Mississippi school district for barring her from taking her girlfriend to the senior prom. Constance visited Idaho last week as the keynote speaker for the ACLU of Idaho Bill of Rights fundraiser, Prom is for Everyone.

ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins and Constance McMillan

ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins (left) and Constance McMillan


Continue reading

Lesbian Teen Who Sued to Go to Prom is ACLU Keynote

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Mar. 25, 2011

Like most high school seniors, Constance McMillen wanted to go to her prom. One problem: she wanted to take her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo but her Fulton, Miss., high school’s policy required prom guests to “be of the opposite sex” and girls were required to wear dresses.

After McMillen’s failed attempt to get school officials to change the rule, the ACLU of Mississippi sent a letter on her behalf informing the school that their actions were illegal. The school ended up canceling the prom, keeping McMillen, her girlfriend and everyone else from attending. With the help of the ACLU, McMillen sued the school district and won.

“It was so bad,” McMillen told Citydesk today. “It got to the point where I had to change schools altogether because I was harassed on a daily basis. One girl wore a shirt to school that said ‘No Prom Thanks Constance.’ People were booing when I walked in the lunchroom. My best friend stopped talking to me completely.” Continue reading

Prop 8 Ruling: Same-Sex Marriages Still On Hold

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Mar. 23, 2011

Ruling: Same-Sex Marriages Still On Hold
Posted by Jody May-Chang on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 4:09 PM

A federal appeals court refused today to let same-sex marriages resume in California while it considers the constitutionality of a 2008 ballot measure that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Today’s decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an order preventing legal gay and lesbian unions.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights filed a motion in March with the Ninth Circuit asking the court to lift its stay and allow California’s gay and lesbian couples to marry.

In a statement released today AFER said:

“It is decidedly unjust and unreasonable to expect California’s gay and lesbian couples to put their lives on hold and suffer daily discrimination as second-class citizens while their US District Court victory comes to its final conclusion. It is un-American to deprive gay and lesbian couples of their fundamental constitutional right to marry. These are adults in committed; loving relationships who just want to live their lives without government interference.”

The U.S. District Court now must wait to hear back from the California Supreme Court on the question of whether the proponents have jurisdiction to challenge the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, which has stalled progress on the case. An answer is not expected at least until September.