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News Scan

California Assembly Passes Bill to Close Loophole in Rape Cases: Jim Sanders of the Sacramento Bee reports the California Assembly yesterday unanimously passed AB 765 in response to an unusual rape case in Santa Barbara County. The victim was asleep in her bedroom while her live-in boyfriend slept on the couch. An intruder entered the home, crawled in to her bed, and began initiating sexual activity with the woman, who thought the man was her boyfriend until she heard him cough from the other room. Under California law, the intruder could have been charged with felony rape if the offender had impersonated the victim's spouse - but the law does not include impersonation of a live-in boyfriend. The bill was sponsored by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office in response to its frustration at not being able to charge the offender with felony rape. AB 765 expands the penal code definition to include cohabitants. The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.

Long Island Murders May Involved Multiple Killers: Joseph Goldstein of the New York Times reports that the eight sets of human remains discovered along a stretch of Long Island's beach may be the work of multiple killers. Investigators have been trying to determine if the remains of four prostitutes found close to Gilgo Beach in December are related to the four sets of human remains discovered on Jones Beach Island. Officials report that two of the more recently discovered victims were disposed of in a similar manner, which was dissimilar from the four originally identified victims. Investigators initially believed the murders were the work of one serial killer, but police now report the isolated area appears to have been used as a dumping ground for some time. While the bodies have all been found along desolate stretches of the same road, those dumping the bodies show varied degrees of concern that the bodies would be identified.

Texas House Passes Bill for Immigration Law Enforcement: Chris Tomlinson of the Associated Press reports the Texas House passed a bill authored by state Rep. Burt Solomons that would ban cities or police departments from telling law enforcement officers not to actively enforce immigration laws. Governor Rick Perry declared the measure to be emergency legislation. Rep. Leo Burman (R) said that states are justified in taking a more active role against illegal immigration in light of the federal government's ineffectiveness. An estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants are in Texas, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.

Many in Law Enforcement Want to Limit Felons' Access to Guns: Michael George with ABC Action News reports that while statistics show overall crime has declined in recent years, law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty continues to occur at tragic rates. 68 officers have been killed on the job nationally so far this year. In many recent cases in Florida, the suspected killer was a convicted felon with access to a gun, leading to a discussion regarding background requirements and increasing the penalties for convicted felons in possession of firearms. "Almost 80 percent of police officers killed over the course of the last couple years, that were killed by gunfire, were killed by felons. That ought to push us for some heavier legislation," said Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.

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