Kenneth Jackson APTN National NewsOn day parole in an Edmonton halfway house, Frank Okimaw learned Thursday night he may not have to return for curfew.That’s because he won an appeal lowering his sentence for aggravated assault and weapon charges Aug. 19, only no one had told him.Okimaw got the news from an APTN reporter writing him on Facebook about the case having read the Court of Appeal of Alberta decision, and sent it to him to confirm.“Yes that’s me,” he wrote. “Is this for real?”Very real, but there’s more.No one had also told Okimaw his appeal was being heard in June, as he thought he applied too late.“I didn’t know I was going for an appeal till you just told me,” he said. “I’ll let my parole officer know in the morning. This is crazy.”Okimaw was sentenced in November to 30 months, with a credit of seven and half months of time already served. That lowered his actual sentence to 22.5 months in provincial custody stemming from an incident at an Edmonton liquor store in 2013.The court of appeal essentially lowered the sentence to 13.5 months, meaning he should be able to leave the halfway house, as his original statutory release was in January.After sentencing Okimaw applied to Legal Aid to have them fund his appeal and never heard anything back. He got day parole in March and said he never thought of the appeal again.Legal Aid picked Edmonton lawyer Graham Johnson to represent Okimaw at his appeal. Johnson told APTN he had no way of reaching Okimaw but had been trying to since the appellate court’s decision.“By the time I got appointed to act he was no longer at whatever remand centre he was in when he first applied for coverage, so I had no contact information from him,” said Johnson.He said if Okimaw had still been in custody he would have found out right away.“But I guess he was already on parole, so wouldn’t have automatically found out. I’m happy you managed to track him down,” said Johnson.So not only did Okimaw win, but his case could be the “roadmap” for sentencing judges with Indigenous offenders in their court.The court of appeal found Okimaw is the “artefact” of colonization in a detailed decision outlining how Okimaw’s life is the prime example of how Gladue principles should be applied to Indigenous offenders.“Our hope … is that these reasons may succeed in providing a useful roadmap to sentencing judges when crafting a sentence for an Aboriginal offender,” wrote the panel of three judges in its unanimous decision.The sentencing judge found Okimaw’s past, severely affected by residential schools and colonization, didn’t lessen his “moral blameworthiness” and the sentence needed to fit the crime. The appellate court disagreed.“Although the sentencing judge found that the mitigating factors in this case included ‘at least to some extent, the existence of systemic Gladue factors’, he did not find such factors had any bearing on Okimaw’s moral blameworthiness for these offences. We disagree…,” the court ruled.The appellate court said a sentence of 30 months would have been fair in most cases, but not for someone has “suffered the personal difficulties, systemic discrimination, and cultural challenges faced by Okimaw, a lesser sentence is called for in light of his reduced moral culpability.”In short, Okimaw’s life didn’t start off well. In fact it was put in jeopardy while his mom was pregnant, as she drank a lot, according to the court.Soon he found himself fighting his own addictions, and before long he was caught up in gang life until he walked away from that life at 21. A few years later he was attacked and stabbed in a swarming. Ever since then he would carry a paring knife with him for protection.At 27, he was slapped by a woman after an incident inside the Edmonton liquor store and her boyfriend and Okimaw exchanged words. A fight broke out and Okimaw stabbed the boyfriend with the knife multiple times. He argued it was in self-defence. The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and never gave the court a victim impact statement.The court describes Okimaw as a good father who wants to be there for his kids.He’s currently working with a moving [email protected]: Shortly after this story was published Friday Frank Okimaw said he was being released from his halfway house and going to visit his kids.
Just as with career length, players taken earlier in the draft are much more likely to be honored as All-Pros. And the distinction between the first round and the remainder of the draft is impressive: About a quarter of all first-rounders who make the NFL find their way on to an All-Pro team, compared with roughly 10 percent for second-round picks. Even within a round, earlier picks tend to do better; for every additional pick in the first 100 selections, a player sees his chances of making an All-Pro team decline by about half a percentage point.7To get the slope of this line, we fit a local regression curve to the pick-by-pick data. This finding is similar to Chase Stuart’s research on the correlation between draft position and Pro-Football-Reference’s Approximate Value metric.When you look at these results by position, however, some players appear to benefit more than others from the reputation that comes with a high draft pick. Linebackers and offensive linemen, for example, are among the positions most likely to see first-rounders named to an All-Pro team, and they’re also among the most difficult positions to judge statistically.8Line play is perhaps the hardest part of the game to judge on an individual level, and a linebacker’s role — and thus his stats — can vary wildly depending on his team’s scheme. (Not to mention the leeway given to league stat-trackers when handing out “assisted tackles” to star linebackers.) It’s possible that teams find it easier to assess the potential of players at those positions, making it more likely that they’ll draft players who go on to become stars. But it’s also possible that players with good pedigrees and name recognition are being given preferential treatment when awards are granted, in the absence of meaningful performance data (like what exists for offensive skill players) to challenge our perceptions.Perhaps tellingly, the one position that doesn’t show a strong tendency for first-round picks to turn into All-Pros is quarterback. That might mean good quarterbacks are especially hard to identify, but it also may not be a coincidence that we have better, more granular performance data for quarterbacks than any other position, even compared with other offensive “skill players.” With more data, the media members who decide All-Pro status are better at differentiating between good and bad performers without having to resort to prior information such as draft position. And it follows that they may not be doing that for positions with less data.With all this uncertainty, teams are increasingly finding roles for players who enter the league outside the orderly stratification of draft day. Although undrafted players rarely persist on NFL rosters for very long — their average career length has declined more severely than drafted players in recent years9In corrected follow-up analyses to that article, we found that average career length fell by 0.5 years from 2008 to 2013 for undrafted players, compared with a decline of 0.3 years for drafted players over the same timeframe. — the league is churning through more players than ever before, and the overall pool of undrafted players has never been larger. According to our research, the number of undrafted players on NFL rosters increased from 497 players in 2005 to 746 in 2014 — a 50 percent increase.10The 2011 collective bargaining agreement expanded maximum training-camp roster sizes from 75 to 90, increasing the number of players a team gets to look at each summer.Criticisms of NFL draft decision-making usually focus on outliers such as Tom Brady infamously being selected with a sixth-round pick, but studies consistently show that teams do a solid job of sorting talent by pick and by round. At the same time, however, that skill varies substantially depending on a player’s position — and therefore the amount of data we have to judge individual performance. In the absence of better data, this means we still don’t really know how much of a crapshoot the draft is, no matter how much we study it.CORRECTION (April 28, 2:40 p.m.): An earlier version of the chart in this article gave an incorrect description of the data. The chart shows players drafted since 1990, not just those drafted since then who retired between 1990 and 2013.Disclosure: Author Zach Binney works as an analyst for an NFL team. From NFL front offices to fan message boards, the amount of time spent arguing over which players teams should draft is mind-boggling. Ahead of the 2016 draft — which begins tonight — the prospect-focused site WalterFootball.com, for example, has compiled 315 mock drafts from across the internet. And apparently it’s been a slow year; in 2013, it collected 618.Such obsessive study would be unnecessary if the right answers were obvious. They rarely are. So some observers have called the draft a “crapshoot,” but things are more complicated than that, too. There’s plenty of data to suggest that the draft acts like an efficient market and that when a player is picked speaks volumes about what kind of career he will have. We studied it ourselves, looking for evidence that teams know what they’re doing. But every step of the way, we also found reasons to believe that many of the measures used to quantify a draft pick’s success contain flaws — some relating to draft position itself — that may be unavoidable for now.For our draft research, we used information from Pro-Football-Reference.com for players who were drafted in 1990 or later, made the NFL1Playing in at least one regular season game. and retired before 2013.2No special reason we picked 1990. To maintain consistency, we excluded players from before 1994 who were drafted in rounds after the seventh. First, we looked at the most basic measure of NFL success — the average length of a player’s career — based on the round in which he was drafted.3Career length was measured from the first year a player appeared in at least one regular season game to the last year he appeared in at least one regular season game, counting both years as full. No surprises here: The higher the draft pick, the longer a player will stick around in the NFL. First-rounders last a year longer than second-rounders, and the same goes for second-rounders compared with third-rounders. The gaps between rounds narrow slightly in the latter half of the draft, but a seventh-round pick like Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick of the NFL draft, can expect a career just under half as long as the average first-rounder.This is evidence that teams are getting better talent in earlier rounds. And these different career lengths can’t be explained away by different positions being drafted in different rounds: Aside from quarterbacks being more common in the first round4They make up about 8 percent of picks in round one, versus 4 percent in later rounds. and special teamers being more common later in the draft,5They’re taken with fewer than 1 percent of picks in the first two rounds and at about 3 percent in rounds six and seven. the positional breakdowns are remarkably similar across rounds.But there are several issues with using career length to measure draft success. One is that it’s undeniable that early-round draft picks are given more opportunities than most players. In addition to whatever real (or perceived) talent advantage allowed them to be picked highly, first-round picks are lavished with extra coaching and playing time not afforded to lower-status players, likely helping their careers last longer. Although NFL teams have a very vested interest in winning, it can be difficult to know when to give up on a highly touted prospect, particularly if the decision makers who selected him are still in place. This, in turn, makes it hard to tell how much of the longevity advantage of higher picks is earned and how much is a consequence of merely being picked so highly.Career length isn’t the only measure whose flaws can hamstring player evaluation. As another proxy for NFL success, we can use appearances on the All-Pro team, which honors the best players at each position in a given season.6While the Pro Bowl is the official All-Star event of the NFL, it suffers from some serious roster inflation, leading to the listing of more than a hundred players per year and watering down the quality of what constitutes an excellent player.
Posted by Tags: American Airlines << Previous PostNext Post >> Sharks on a plane? 9 things you didn’t know fly with you in cargo DALLAS-FORT WORTH — At a recent event for American Airlines, I found myself talking with Jim Butler, President of American Airlines Cargo. In the exciting world of travel, Cargo is usually a topic that’s considered fairly ‘dry’. That’s until we started talking about all the unusual things he and his team transport on a daily basis.Airline passengers often don’t realize that it’s not just their luggage that travels in the hold under their seats. There’s a whole range of interesting and fascinating objects that are moved by air cargo right beneath their feet.AA operates one of the largest cargo networks in the world, with cargo terminals and interline connections across the globe. Every day, American transports cargo between major cities in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia Pacific.Here are some of the most unusual things that may be transported underneath your seat on your next flight:1) SharksYes, that’s right sharks!Recently AA transported two sharks from the U.S. to South America in their tanks. Butler mentioned that the sides of the tank were frosted but the top was see-through, meaning that passengers could see them being loaded into the cargo hold.How Hollywood hasn’t jumped all over that one is beyond me.From the side you might think this might be a water tank being deliveredBut from the top and you can see you have two more guests on your flight. (Credit: American Airlines Cargo). Share 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9Next Michael Smith Tuesday, December 5, 2017