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News Scan

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Man Sentenced to 30 Years After Admitting to Crime on CHP Job Application: The Los Angeles Times has this story about Christian Hernandez, 31, who admitted he had recently viewed child pornography in a background questionnaire when he applied to join the California Highway Patrol. During a search of Hernandez's home CHP investigators found a collection of child pornography on his computer, including photos showing him molesting a girl in his bedroom. Hernandez received a maximum sentence of 360 months in prison, and also faces trial on additional molestation charges.

U.S. District Judge Rules Florida's Death Penalty Unconstitutional: David Ovalle of the Miami Herald reports a Miami federal judge has ruled that the Florida death penalty statute is unconstitutional because it leaves open the possibility that the sentencing judge, rather than the jury, makes the factual findings necessary for imposition of the death penalty. U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez made the ruling specifically in the case of Paul H. Evans and ordered that he receive a new sentencing hearing. The ruling will likely be argued in appellate courts for years, but if it survives appeals it could force lawmakers to change the statute and give convicts new avenues for appeal. The judge's order can be accessed here. (Thanks to Sentencing Law and Policy for the link.)

New York City spends $5,000 on 800 Neon Smocks for Rikers Island Visitors:
Reuven Blau of the New York Daily News reports female visitors to Rikers Island who violate the dress code will be issued a size XXL neon green T-shirt. The smocks are designed to reduce the sexual desires from inmates. Jail officials also hope the T-shirts will help reduce the amount of contraband that is smuggled in. The city spent $5,000 on 800 T-shirts, which will be laundered daily. Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, says the shirts are a waste of money and instead the city should be spending money on hiring more correction officers.

Probationers Don't Take Well to Georgia Farm Work: Ray Henry and Kate Brumback of the AP report the experiment under way in Georgia to encourage probationers to fill the 11,000 vacant jobs in the agriculture business is proving unsuccessful so far. The first group of probationers started work last week on a farm owned by Dick Minor and during the first two days, all the probationers quit by mid-afternoon. "It's not going to work.  No way. If I'm going to depend on the probation people, I'm never going to get the crops up," said Benito Mendez, one of the farm's crew leaders.

Arkansas High Court Halts Three Executions: John Lyon of Arkansas News Bureau reports the Arkansas Supreme Court today halted the executions of Jason Farrell McGehee, Bruce Earl Ward, and Marcel Wayne Williams, who were all scheduled for execution this summer.  The three men are plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that a 2009 state law authorizing the director of the Department of Correction to choose the drugs used for lethal injection amounts to an unconstitutional delegation of authority.

Conviction in Sweat Lodge Deaths: Bob Oretega of The Arizona Republic News reports an Arizona jury yesterday found James Arthur Ray guilty of three counts of negligent homicide for the deaths of Kirby Brown, 38; James Shore, 40; and Liz Neuman, 49, in a sweat-lodge he ran in 2009.  Prosecutors had sought convictions for manslaughter, but the jury's convictions on the lesser charge indicates it did not find that Ray was aware or recognized that risk of death caused by the manner in which he ran the sweat lodge.  Ray is eligible for probation and faces a maximum of 11 years and three months behind bars.      

1 Comment

Last week I commented that Georgia's out of work probationers would thumb their noses at the prospect of working in the agricultural business.

The above follow-up confirms my suspicions and should give pause to the naive apologists who argue without foundation that the availability of jobs is the panacea that will turn a recidivist into a tax paying citizen.

The reality is far more complicated.

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