47 Applies Equally to Minors: A
three-judge panel of the California State District Court of Appeal ruled
Thursday that Proposition 47, the November 2014 voter-approved initiative that
reduced some low-level felonies to misdemeanors, applies equally to juvenile
offenders as well as adults. Kristina
Davis of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the ruling, in the case
of one San Diego County teen convicted of commercial burglary in 2013, sets a
new precedent for more than 100 other minors in the county, who can now petition to have their previous qualifying convictions reclassified
as misdemeanors. The teen in this case
has also requested to have his DNA expunged from the state database since DNA
collection does not apply to misdemeanors.
The District Attorney's office has yet to announce if it will appeal the ruling.
Another Bloody Weekend in Baltimore: Baltimore
saw 15 shootings, three of them fatal, and at least one stabbing between Friday
evening and Monday morning, culminating in yet another violent weekend in the struggling
city. Colin Campbell and Sean Welsh of
the Baltimore Sun report that seven of the shootings occurred between 10 p.m.
Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday. Police are
still seeking information related to all of this weekend's incidences.
Youngest Juveniles Ever
Charged As Adults for 1st-Degree Murder to be Released: The youngest Americans ever to face adult charges for first-degree murder are set to be released from prison in two
weeks, sixteen years after their crime.
Fox News reports that Curtis and Catherine Jones, Florida siblings who were 12 and 13 when they killed their father's girlfriend, claiming that she did
nothing to protect them from sexual abuse by a male relative. They had initially planned to kill the male
relative as well as their father. They pleaded
to second-degree murder in 1999 and received 18-year sentences. They will both be on probation for the rest
of their lives.
Body Count on the
Rise in St. Louis: The homicide rate
in St. Louis, Missouri is on track to reach its highest level in 20 years,
putting increased pressure on Mayor Francis Slay, who won control of the police
department two years ago in order to hold it more accountable, to take action. Nicholas J.C. Pistor of St. Louis
Post-Dispatch reports that murders have already surpassed 100 this year, 60
percent higher than the same time last year, thrusting Slay into "unfamiliar territory." However, most of the pressure to fix the
homicide problem will fall on Police Chief Sam Dotson, who unveiled a crime-fighting
partnership Monday, involving 50 police officers from St. Louis and St. Louis
County that will work with federal agents to reduce the bloodshed, focusing on
violent offenders and drug traffickers.
Gang Crime Down in
officials in Dallas, Texas say that gang-related crime is down in the city despite
recent, high-profile violence, but gang experts are not convinced that the trend is permanent. Tristan Hallman of the Dallas News reports that gang expert Greg Knox of
the National Gang Crime Research Center says that federal authorities have
managed to weaken the centralized hierarchy of gangs, making them more of a neighborhood
clique rather than a regional or national power, but cautions that "their
networks still exist." Another expert,
Pastor Omar Jahwar, a former gang member who now participates in gang
intervention, says that gangs of today lack leadership and understanding of
gangs' histories and "rules of the game," leading to reckless, reactive
Continues: Reeling in violence along
with several other major cities across the nation, Chicago ended its weekend
with seven dead and 35 wounded from shooting incidents. Peter Nickeas and Megan Crepeau of the
Chicago Tribune report that the weekend's close has brought this year's total
homicides in the city to 263 and total gunshot victims to 1,532. Both homicides and non-fatal shootings have
increased over the previous years in the city.