Aaron Patterson, former cause célèbre of the anti-death-penalty movement, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on drug and weapons charges. He threatened the prosecutors as he was being led away, according to this Chicago Sun-Times story by Abdon Pallasch. Patterson was once on death row, but he was pardoned by subsequently convicted felon George Ryan in 2003. The Chicagoist has this post. Michael Higgins of the Chicago Tribune has this story.
Prison Overcrowding: Fifteen of California's 58 county district attorneys have filed a petition to block a decision by a panel of federal judges to release inmates from state prison as reported in this Associated Press story. The panel, announced on August 2, was ordered by two district judges to examine inmate lawsuits on prison conditions. Federal law allows the panel to order inmate releases when a state fails to adequately address unconstitutional conditions. The law requires the panel to seriously consider the effect of an inmate release on public safety. The district attorneys argue that a release would cause increases in crime.
Death Penalty: A story by Richard D. Schmitt in today's Los Angeles Times reports on the U.S. Attorney General's proposed fast track rules for capital cases. As we posted last week, the rules would give effect to the provisions of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act which sets limits on federal habeas corpus review for many death penalty cases. The headline and lead paragraphs in this article by Dan Eggen in the Washington Post make it sound like the Attorney General is grabbing power. Only in the third paragraph does the story mention briefly that Congress decided to vest this authority in the AG.
Illegal Immigrants who commit crimes are in the news this week. This story from Judicial Watch reports on an illegal who snuck back into Texas after being deported. Last Sunday he was free on bail from an assault charge when he got drunk and crashed a van into a car occupied by a young family in Houston. The three family members were killed, the immigrant survived. A story by Chris Freind in The Bulletin discusses Jose Carranza, the illegal-alien-habitual-criminal facing charges for the recent execution-style murders of three students in Newark. A piece by former Senator Fred Thompson in yesterday's Town Hall talks about sanctuary policies in some cities which prohibit local law enforcement from reporting illegals to federal authorities.