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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Local Residency Restrictions:  The  Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week struck down an Allegheny County ordinance prohibiting all registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of any child care facility, community center, park, or school.  The court found that the residency restrictions "clearly interfere" with the state's sex offender registration scheme, which was adopted to further "the rehabilitation, reintegration, and diversion from prison of appropriate offenders."  If enforced, the restrictions would isolate sex offenders to "localized penal colonies of sorts," and would thus "subvert" some of these goals.  The AP has this story.

Oklahoma Robbery Victim Found Guilty of First Degree Murder:  An Oklahoma jury convicted pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland yesterday of first degree murder for fatally shooting a masked robber inside a drugstore in 2009, reports Nolan Clay of The Oklahoman.  Two female co-workers praised Ersland as a hero who saved their lives that day, but prosecutors alleged Ersland went too far in shooting the unarmed robber five more times after the robber fell to the floor unconscious.

"You know what you did was wrong": 
Melinda Rogers of The Salt Lake City Tribune has this story on Wednesday's sentencing of convicted kidnapper Brian David Mitchell.  Victim Elizabeth Smart, whom prosecutors have praised throughout the trial for her courage and poise, addressed Mitchell: "You took away nine months of my life that can never be returned.  But in this life or next, you will have to be held responsible for those actions, and I hope you are ready for when that time comes."  As he'd done many times throughout the case, Mitchell sang church hymns throughout the hearing, and did not address the court.  Judge Dale Kimball sentenced Mitchell to life, calling his crimes against Smart "unusually heinous and degrading." 

California to Change Sex Offender Monitoring:  The AP reports that starting next week, California parole agents will significantly change how they monitor and respond to alarms from tracking devices affixed to released sex offenders.  The companies that provide the satellite-linked ankle bracelets will begin screening the tens of thousands of alarms that come in each month, weaning out alarms that signal less important problems such as a low battery or lost cell phone signal.  The changes are intended to allow parole agents to spend less time reviewing the computer-tracked movements of parolees, and more time in the field responding to the most serious alarms and directly supervising the parolees.


It's hard to justify a murder 1 conviction when faced with an armed robber. The guy didn't create the situation.

This is a case where an exercise of executive clemency at some point would not be completely unreasonable.

I think the problem is that the guy was put in the very situation by the "victim". Thus it seems to me a bit unfair to try to max the guy out.

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