<< Alternatives to Injection | Main | News Scan >>

News Scan

Psychiatric Hospitals Continue to Discharge Patients Leaving Police and Society to Deal With the Mentally Ill:  Like many officers across the country, Fairfax County police officer Leanna Wilson has ended up on the front line of the American public mental health system, doing a job she didn't sign up for.  As mental health resources shrink due to the financially strapped local and state governments cutting community-based mental health programs, police officers are forced to deal with serious mentally ill patients.  Volatile and sometimes deadly confrontations between the mentally ill and the police are becoming more frequent as psychiatric hospitals continue to discharge large numbers of patients.  In response, police departments throughout the United States have implemented "crisis intervention" training to provide officers with more than just an hour or two of mental health training.  During the training, officers are taught the importance of listening to those in crisis.  During a recent encounter with a suicidal man, Wilson spent over an hour attempting to calm him down and change his mind.  In her 12 years on the job, 36-year-old Wilson had encountered suicidal people, but had never confronted anyone on the verge of carrying out the threat.  As one Virginia officer put it, "This is not our job."  Henri E. Cauvin of the Washington Post has this story.

High-Tech Device Allows Michigan Officers to Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops:  The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device capable of extracting information from the cell phones of drivers stopped for traffic violations.  The U.S. Department of Justice tested the CelleBrite UFED product used by Michigan police and found that the device can grab all the photos and videos off of an iPhone in less than two minutes.  "Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags," a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities.  "The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps."  The device is capable of working with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat any password protections.  The ACLU is in uproar and is concerned that these electronic capabilities bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.  The Newspaper.com has this story.

Inmate Sues State Over Sex-Change Operation:  Lyralisa Stevens, who was born male but lives as a female, is serving 50 years to life in a California prison for killing a woman with a shotgun over a simple clothing dispute.  Since her incarceration in 2003, prison officials have been providing Stevens with her female hormones, but now she is asking the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco to require the state to pay for a sex-change operation.  Stevens and her expert witness say that in order to be protected from rape and abuse by other male inmates, surgery is medically necessary, so she can be transferred to a women's prison.  If the court were to rule in Stevens' favor, it would make California the first place in the country required to provide reassignment surgery for an inmate.  Providing a transgendered inmate with hormonal treatments cost $1,000 a year per inmate.  Sex-change operations could cost anywhere between $15,000 to $50,000.  "A prison is not required by law to give a prisoner medical care that is as good as he would receive if he were a free person, let alone an affluent free person," attorney Steven J. Bechtold, who represents the receiver, wrote in the state's response to Stevens' petition for the operation.  Jack Dolan of the Los Angeles Times has this story

Schwarzenegger Says Controversial Commutation Was to Help a Friend:  Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted he was helping a friend when he commuted the sentence of Esteban Nunez, who pleaded guilty to the 2008 stabbing death of a San Diego college student, reports Don Thompson of the AP.  Schwarzenegger's decision to reduce of Esteban's sentence from 16 years to seven drew criticism from prosecutors and the victim's family, especially in light of the fact that Estaban is the son of former Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez.  In a Newsweek interview published this week, Schwarzenegger said he felt good about his decision and that he acted because of his "working relationship" with Fabian, also stating "Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend."  Schwarzenegger has admitted to the victim's family that he failed to notify them before commuting Esteban's sentence, in violation of California law.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives