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Victim, Killer Speak at Connecticut Sentencing:  Connecticut Judge Jon Blue today formally sentenced triple-murderer Steven Hayes to death, reports AP writer John Christoffersen.  Hayes addressed the court, claiming he was "tormented" by his actions and that death "will be a welcome relief."  Dr. Petit, fighting back tears, admitted to suffering flashbacks and suicidal thoughts, and described his immeasurable loss: "I lost my entire family.  I lost the records of our shared lives together due to the fire.  Thus I lost my past and my future."  While handing down the sentence, Judge Blue addressed Hayes:  "This is a terrible sentence, but is, in truth, a sentence you wrote for yourself in flames."

Texas Trial Judge to Hear Death Penalty Challenge:  Brandi Grissom of The Texas Tribune reports trial court Judge Kevin Fine will hear argument on Monday on whether the risk of executing an innocent person renders the death penalty unconstitutional.  The hearing was set in the case of John Edward Green, who is charged with a 2008 murder and faces the death penalty if convicted.  His defense team is pointing to the cases of Cameron Todd Willingham and Claude Jones, claiming the existence of a systemic flaw in the system.  But prosecutors are arguing they should not have to prove the innocence or guilt of defendants in other capital cases, and that in any event, a ruling on the constitutionality of a death sentence is inappropriate because Green has not been convicted.

Inmate Tax Fraud:  Inmates claimed $130 million in fraudulent tax returns by March of this year - a 37 percent increase since 2004.  The issue of inmates filing false returns was discovered in 2005 by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, prompting increased inspection and regulation of tax returns filed behind bars.  One official from the TIGTA reports these fraudulent tax returns are a "major problem," but that the IRS "is making very good progress."  The increased surveillance may account for the increase in fraudulent returns caught.  Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post has this story.

A Plea from a Police Officer:  After 27-year-old Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio was fatally shot in November, and a parolee arrested for the killing shortly thereafter, LAPD Officer Joseph D. Marx wrote this letter (appearing in The Desert Sun (CA)) to the California parole director.  Marx highlighted Bonaminio's accomplished life, including his two tours of duty in Iraq, and asked the director to remember several things when deciding whether to grant an inmate early release: "Remember the victims they created and the reason they were sentenced to prison in the first place.  Remember that more than 70 percent of the convicts that appear in front of your board will ignore the warnings to live a law-abiding life, and will re-offend. . . Most importantly, remember Ryan and the dozens of other police officers who have been murdered in the line of duty by convicts who were granted parole by your board."

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Fine is so unqualified to be a judge. What a joke!

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