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Ohio Serial Killer's Case Teaches Lessons:  Laura Strickler of CBS News reports that the case against Ohio serial killer Anthony Sowell, convicted last week of killing 11 women and hiding their bodies in his house, brought to light critical shortcomings in the collection and tracking of DNA samples by several law enforcement agencies.  Local police departments missed opportunities to test rape kits from victims claiming to have been attacked by Sowell, and even if these tests had been completed, a DNA sample collected from Sowell during a 1997 prison stint was never entered into the state's database.  Sowell's case has prompted local agencies to make rape kit testing a priority, and State Attorney General Mike Dewine is considering standardization of such testing across the state. 

California Governor to Decide on Informant Bill:  Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports California Governor Jerry Brown must decide by the end of the month whether to sign a bill that would ban California juries from convicting defendants based solely on jailhouse informant testimony.  State law already requires the judge to tell jurors to consider such testimony with caution and the prosecutor to disclose any promises of leniency to the informant, but Senator Mark Leno and defense lawyers claim jailhouse informant testimony is unreliable and ripe for exploitation by convicts seeking a reduced sentence.  The bill is opposed by the statewide prosecutors' association, with the exception of the San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys, who support it. 

Italian Mobster Inmates Banned from Wearing Designer Clothes:  Rita Barbera, the newly-appointed prison governor of a Sicilian prison, has banned inmates from wearing designer labels and flashy jewelry, reports Nick Squires in The Telegraph (UK).  Italian inmates are not required to wear uniforms, which has allowed the wealthier inmates to sport Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Armani fashion.  Barbera says this "godfathers" image has to stop.  Some inmates and their families do not agree: "Why should the authorities be allowed to dictate what my husband wears?" one woman asked an Italian newspaper. 

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With respect to the California bill--isn't that already the state of the law? Most states have rules that prohibit a conviction solely on the basis of an admission of the defendant. Isn't California one of those jurisdictions?

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