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New York's DNA Registry is a Big Success: Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin writer Nancy Dooling reports on how DNA is solving numerous cold case murders in New York.  A murder from 1997 was solved from using the DNA found in the crime scene.  The murderer's DNA was in the registry from a previous and unrelated crime. The importance of this registry has only increased in the past twelve years, as various crimes now require DNA proof to convict a suspect.  The success has been partially tied to the expansion of including felony and misdemeanor crimes into the registry.  Roughly 8,270 police investigations have been assisted by the registry's matches, linking present unsolved crimes to suspects from previous unrelated crimes.  The DNA registry has opened a new medium for police investigators to solve old and new cases.

A Bill to Overhaul California's Adult Prison System:  Wall Street Journal writer Bobby White reports that Sunday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that overhauls California's adult-prison system, by modeling it after California's juvenile-prison system.   California has had success with the recent changes made to their juvenile-prison system.  The changes in the juvenile system have brought lower recidivism rates, reduced the number of incarcerated youths, and saved the state millions of dollars.  The bill gives more funding and responsibility for paroled offenders to counties, including placing non-violent offenders in county jails instead of state prisons.  A report by a nonprofit Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice system has found that the changes resulted in youth having better living conditions, increased behavior counseling, and improved access to their families.  The attempt to revamp the adult system comes after a panel's finding that California must reduce prison population by 2011, which has been discussed in a previous News Scan.    Democratic state senator Gloria Romero believes, "there's plenty to learn from how we improved the juvenile system."  But some officials are less optimistic.  Bernie Warner, executive director of the Division of Juvenile System, says, it was a lot easier to make changes to the juvenile system because the size of the problem was smaller.  "The adult corrections system is much, much bigger and as a result a lot more complex."

New Rules for Ohio's Lethal Injection Procedure: Washington Post writer Peter Slevin reports that Romell Broom's failed execution, discussed here, has motivated the administration of Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to revise its lethal injection protocols to better deal with cases like Broom's.  State officials are looking at the effectiveness of the existing lethal injection method, as well as other lethal injections methods.  Governor Strickland states that the execution of Kenneth Biros, scheduled for Dec. 8, will be postponed if the new protocols are not established.  Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says that other states are also working on their death penalty protocol and will be waiting for Ohio's outcome.  The Supreme Court has already ruled in Baze v. Rees that the lethal injection method used does not meet cruel and unusual punishment.  Some proponents of the death penalty wonder what all the fuss is about.  In a recent Sixth Circuit opinion addressing Broom's execution, Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton stated that Ohio's lethal injection procedure had been proven humane when Strickland called off the execution.  The "approach removes the foundation for an Eighth Amendment claim.  It does not lay the groundwork for one."  Most executions happen without complication, an example is Alabama death row inmate Max Payne executed last week. Payne was the 40th person in the United States to die by lethal injection this year. 

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