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A Question of Substance


Usually it’s the Supreme Court justices who get to ask the tough questions. But every so often, prominent public figures come to Georgetown, and undergraduates glean the rare opportunity to ask questions in return.

Last Wednesday, those who attended Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s lecture received an index card where they could write one question for Sotomayor to answer during the standard post-lecture question-and-answer session — a Gaston Hall standard that usually fosters a candid discussion and enriches university programming. In Wednesday’s case, however, the questions were screened and posed by a university official, rather than the student or event attendee who originally wanted an answer.

Father battling school to see daughter graduate

A Maryland dad is suing Charles County Public Schools because he says they won’t let him watch his daughter graduate from La Plata High School.

Back in 2014, Kevin Wood told WUSA9 that the school banned him from campus after he objected to a history lesson on Islam. The lesson made his daughter write the Muslim statement of faith, or shahada: There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Court documents filed on behalf of Wood also show that she was taught most Muslims’ faith is “stronger than the average Christian” and that Islam was a “peaceful religion.”

Wood, a former Marine who fought in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, said the lesson should have included the violence some associate with the religion. He said his buddies died at the hands of Islamic extremists.

After child's death in swing, fight begins for new law

LA PLATA, Md. (WUSA9) -- Last summer, police in Charles County started investigating a case that gained national attention. Investigators say 3-year-old, Ji'Aire Lee, died after his mother stood outside pushing him in park swing for two days. 

His mother, Romechia Simms, is charged with child abuse and faces decades behind bars. But as she prepares for trial - her mother and Lee's grandmother - Vontasha Simms - is trying to make sure her grandson isn't forgotten.

"I'm not going to allow him to go in vain. So that's what keeps me going. It's not easy," Vontasha Simms said. "He was my everything."

Simms is calling on lawmakers to pass House Bill 574. It's a bill supporters say protects adults with mental illness and their children - by ensuring someone in a mental health crisis can get help. 

The bill is only three pages, but for Simms it represents so much more. 

Man shot by Charles Co. deputy charged with assault

WALDORF, Md. (WUSA9) -- A man who was shot twice Thursday by a Charles County Sheriff's deputy after allegedly reaching down his waistband for a gun faces multiple assault charges.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said PFC L. Blake was fearing for his safety when he shot Anthony Taylor of no fixed address after Taylor allegedly ignored commands from Blake and reached down his waistband.

The sheriff's office says Blake first spotted Taylor, 23, acting aggressively and pulling on the door of a car near the intersection of St. Charles Parkway and Post Office Road in Waldorf. The driver of the car told police he did not know Taylor and thought he was trying to hijack his car.

Man shot by Charles Co. Sheriff's deputy

Man shot by Charles Co. Sheriff's Deputy

The man was transported to a nearby hospital after he was shot with non-life threatening injuries, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office said. 

The sheriff's deputy, a K9 officer, saw the man after a confrontation between a person in a car and a person on foot near Post Office Road and St. Charles Parkway, the sheriff's office says. The man on foot was apparently trying to open the car door when he began to run away from the deputy, the spokesperson said. 

While chasing the suspect, the deputy gave the man several commands, which authorities say he ignored. Instead, the man allegedly reached into his waistband, at which point the deputy fired his weapon out of fear for his life, the sheriff's office says.

The man was hit twice by the sheriff's deputy. A handgun was found in the subject's waistband, the sheriff's office says. 

Former Md. judge guilty in shocking civil rights violation

GREENBELT, MD (WUSA9) -- A dramatic turnaround for a former top judge in Charles County.

Judge Robert Nalley was in a federal courtroom Monday in Greenbelt as a defendant, pleading guilty to depriving a man of his civil rights under color of law.

Boy, 2, shoots himself in the leg in Waldorf, sheriff says

WALDORF, Md. (WUSA9) -- A two-year-old boy shot himself in the leg while his father was sleeping, the Charles County Sheriff's Office said.  

The father woke up once he heard the gunshot and contacted emergency personnel, the sheriff's office said. 

According to authorities, the boy was conscious and alert when he was taken to a local hospital.   

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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