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News Scan

Sex Offenders Banned From Libraries: Mike Donila of the Knoxville News Sentinel (TN) reports Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett has banned sex offenders from county libraries. A state law that took effect July 1 gives public library directors authority to "reasonably restrict the access of any person listed on the sexual offender registry." Those on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry can still use the system's online services and have a proxy check out and return materials on their behalf, but face misdemeanor trespassing charges if caught in the facilities.

Texas Execution Scheduled for Later Today: Karen Brooks of Reuters reports Duane Buck, 48, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection after 6pm local time today in Texas. Buck was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and another man in front of the woman's children. Buck later told police she "deserved what she got." Buck's case has been controversial because he was one of nine inmates identified by then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn who were sent to death row after sentencing hearings that included a psychologist's testimony that black men were more likely to re-offend if let out of prison. Several of the inmates received new hearings and were given the death penalty again. Buck did not receive a new hearing based partly on the fact that the psychologist had been called by the defense, not the prosecution. 

Woman Given $1.2 million for Wrongful Conviction Shoplifted $32.50 from Grocery Store:
The Associated Press reports Betty Tyson was arrested for stealing scissors and a utility knife worth $32.50 from a grocery store in the New York suburb of Greece. Tyson was awarded a $1.2 million compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Her murder conviction was overturned in 1998 after a judge ruled that the police had withheld exculpatory evidence. Tyson is the second person whose murder conviction was thrown out to be arrested in Greece this summer; Frank Sterling, who spent 18 years in prison for a 1988 murder he didn't commit, was arrested in July after he was accused of fondling an 11-year-old acquaintance.

Violent Crime Surges in Bay Area Cities: Some of the Bay Area's largest cities have experienced a jump in violent crime, reports Bobby White in The Wall Street Journal. In San Jose and Richmond, the number of homicides this year through July rose 73% and 75%, respectively, as compared with the same period a year earlier. Local law enforcement officials say this year's surge appears to be linked to increased gang activity and budget cutbacks in police. Greg Ridgeway of the research nonprofit Rand Corp. says the violent crime rise in cities like Oakland and San Jose following budget cuts is in line with a national trend. In a report last year, Ridgeway found that if a city increased spending on police by 1%, it would typically result in a 1% decrease in its homicide rate. Oakland laid of 10% of its police force last year. 

Convicted Sex Offender Regrets Decision to Help ACLU:  Roni Reino reports in Foster's Daily Democrat (NH) that registered sex offender Richard Jennings now says he regrets his decision to join with the ACLU in overturning a Dover, New Hampshire ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools and day care centers. Jennings says he was angry after being charged twice with violating the ordinance, and allowed his lawyer to give his information to the ACLU to help strike it down. When a district court judge declared the residency restriction unconstitutional, Jennings says he was surprised Dover did not have a back-up plan and believes he has helped leave children "vulnerable." "All they wanted was a check in their win column," Jennings said of the ACLU. "That is all they want. They don't think about the repercussions." 

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