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News Scan

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Resignations from Massachusetts Parole Board:  Martin Finucane of The Boston Globe reports Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick announced today the resignations of five members of the state's parole board and the agency's executive director.  The shake up comes after the recent shooting death of a local police officer, allegedly by Dominic Cinelli, a parolee with an extensive and violent criminal background.  After a review of the board's decision making and supervision with respect to Cinelli, Duval stated he "cannot say that the Parole Board or parole office did all they could to ensure public safety."  Duval also announced he intends to place a moratorium on executive sessions for high-risk offenders and to propose tougher legislation on repeat offenders.

California Judge Reduces Teen Murderers' Sentences:  California Judge J.D. Lord yesterday reduced the sentences of two Long Beach teens by more than 100 years, reports Press-Telegram (CA) staff writer Tracy Manzer.  Eric Benites and Jason Trejo were 15- and 14-years-old, respectively, when they went on a several week shooting spree in 2007-2008, leaving one teen permanently disabled and another dead.  Judge Lord originally sentenced Benites to 255 years to life and Trejo 212 years to life, but reduced the sentences to 50 years to life with the possibility of parole.  The pair have allegedly shown no qualms about spending time behind bars, Benites indicating his plans to attack black people while in custody and Trejo boasting of his future role as a "shot-caller" to send young gangsters on missions.

Female Escapee Arrested after 32 Years on the Lam:  Nancy Garces was arrested in a Santa Barbara train station yesterday after spending 32 years on the run, report Amanda Watts and Michael Martinez of CNN.  Garces escaped in 1979 from a Chino prison while serving time for credit card fraud.  She allegedly changed her name and has been living in New Mexico.

Washington Proposal to Shield Rape Victims:  The Washington legislature held a hearing yesterday on a proposed bill to protect rape victims from direct questioning by their accused rapists, reports Molly Rosbach of the AP.  Under current law, criminal defendants who represent themselves at trial have a right to directly question victims who choose to testify.  The bill would give presiding judges the option to run the questions through a third party, thus avoiding the direct confrontation.  The proposed legislation comes in light of an incident last year, when a rape victim climbed atop a courthouse and threatened to jump before cross examination by her accused rapist.  Opponents of the bill are pointing to possible violations of a criminal defendant's Sixth Amendment's right to confront his or her accuser.  

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