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"Marijuana Grannies" Caught With 800 Plants:  Authorities say Aleen Lam, 72, and Virginia Chan Pon, 65, of San Bruno, California, were arrested last Friday after neighbors reported a burglary and responding officers discovered nearly 800 marijuana plants growing throughout the home.  Police also found an electrical bypass that allowed the women to steal the electricity needed to maintain their grow.  Both Lam and Pon pleaded not guilty and each are being held on $100,000 bail.  The AP has this story.

Texas Executes First Inmate With Its New Three-Drug Cocktail:
  On Tuesday, Texas executed a man convicted of raping and strangling a woman in 2001.  Cary Kerr, 46, was the state's first inmate to be put to death using the new three-drug cocktail.  Kerr's reaction to the chemical was similar to past reactions of 466 inmates that were executed in Texas since 1982 under the previous drug combination.  Kerr was pronounced dead nine minutes after the drugs were inserted into his arms.  The three-drug chemical cocktail in his lethal injection consisted of the sedative pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental, a drug that is no longer available.  Pentobarbital was used successfully in executions in Oklahoma and Ohio and survived legal challenges in those states.  Kerr's attorneys did not challenge the drug switch.  Instead, a late appeal rejected by the US Supreme Court focused on a claim that one of Kerr's previous lawyers had failed him during appeals of his conviction and death sentence.  Kerr is third Texas prisoner to be executed this year.  AP writer Michael Graczyk has this story.

Manufacturing Defect Might Let Drunk Drivers Walk Free:  Authorities revealed yesterday that a manufacturing defect in a breathalyzer used by San Jose and Palo Alto police to arrest 865 people for drunk driving could let some of the suspects off the hook.  The Alco-Sensor V breathalyzer might have shown incorrect readings because of a manufacturer's error that can cause condensation to build in the tube.  Although the results of a field test breathalyzer are not generally used as evidence in court, they are critical in some cases.  The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said it would undertake a month-long review process to determine how many cases it would drop as a result of the defect.  Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News has this story.

Texas Bill Could Allow Life Sentence for Fatal Dog Attacks:  The AP reports that under a bill authored by Texas Rep. Chuck Hopson (R), dog owners could face life in prison if their dog kills a child under the age of 18 or an adult older than 65.  The bill was approved by the house 123-7 and now moves to the Senate.

Dumb Criminals of the Day:  WSYR-TV (NY) reports an accidental pocket dial to 911 foiled the criminal plans of three men, after the dispatcher was able to listen to the details of their scheme through the open phone line and direct police to their location.  All three men were arrested and have been charged with possession of stolen property. 

1 Comment

Does anyone else see a problem with the dog attack statute? Why is it that people under 18 and over 65 are more to be valued than others?

There is an increasing trend, generally seen among "hate crimes" legislation but, as this entry shows, creeping into other areas as well, to regard certain classes of our fellow citizens as more deserving of the law's protection than other classes.

There are a few areas (sexual exploitation, for example) that present good reasons for the law to focus most harshly depending on the age/naivite of the victim the offender chooses. But dog attacks? When the owner may not even be present or aware that a particularly dangerous situation is developing?

Group-by-group preferences in criminal law are pernicious. They do not sit easily with the Supreme Court's motto, "Equal Justice Under Law." We should be cutting them back, not expanding them.

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