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News Scan

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Second Appeal for SD Murderer:  AP writer Chet Brokaw reports that the South Dakota Supreme Court heard a second round of oral argument yesterday from defense lawyers representing condemned murderer Briley Piper.  Piper was convicted and sentenced to die for kidnapping, robbing and murdering 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage.  One of Piper's accomplices in the murder, Elijah Page, who voluntarily ended appeals challenging to his death sentence, was executed in 2007.  It was the state's first execution in 60 years.  In his second appeal, Piper's lawyers argue that when he and his trial counsel agreed to plead guilty, he did not validly waive the right to be sentenced by a jury.  An Assistant AG responded that Piper and his lawyers made an informed decision to avoid having a jury sentence him after hearing of the "pure horror" of the crime.    

Transgender Inmates a Problem in CA:  The California Assembly is considering adoption of  legislation requiring that sexual preferences and gender identity be a focus of decisions on where to house prison inmates.  A story by AP writer Don Thompson reports that the bill, which is supported by gay rights groups, was introduced in response to studies showing that homosexual, bisexual and transgender inmates are more vulnerable to abuse and assault.  A U.C. Irvine study released this week found that nearly 60% of male inmates who dress and present themselves as women reported being sexually assaulted by other inmates.  In spite of this, nearly 60% of transgenders opposed being housed in women's prisons.  "They like to be around men," said the study's author.  And apparently bad boys in particular. 

The Crack Ratio: "The Obama administration joined a federal judge Wednesday in urging Congress to end a racial disparity by equalizing prison sentences for dealing and using crack versus powdered cocaine," reports Larry Margasak for AP. So is the disparity to be eliminated by lowering the sentence for crack, raising it for powder, or making them meet somewhere in the middle? The story doesn't say, and apparently the Administration hasn't said. Couldn't find anything on the DoJ website. Don't you think that's important, folks?

1 Comment

"And apparently bad boys in particular."

That's in somewhat poor taste.

With respect to the ratio, why is 1:1 a categorical imperative? If the real world effects of crack are worse than powdered cocaine, then why is it necessary to treat them alike?

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