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News Scan

Professor-Murderer Attends Tulane Law School: Bruce Nolan of the The Times-Picayune reports on convicted murderer Bruce Reilly's notoriety at Tulane Law School after his classmates learned about his criminal record on the legal blog Above the Law. In 1993, Reilly, then 20, was arrested for the stabbing death and robbery of Charles A. Russell, a 58-year-old English professor at Community College of Rhode Island.  Reilly pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and robbery, and served 12 years in prison. He took up jailhouse lawyering, and came out of prison wanting to improve the criminal justice system and reduce inmate abuse. He was admitted to Tulane Law School this year with a scholarship from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a Dean's Merit Scholarship. There is no guarantee that the admitted murderer will be allowed to practice law in Louisiana. Though felons aren't automatically excluded, every applicant for the bar exam "bears the burden of proving his or her good moral character and fitness to practice law by clear and convincing evidence," according to state Supreme Court guidelines.

Life With Parole = Around 20 Years in California: Bob Egelko of the SF Chronicle reports a recent study by the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at the university's law school found that California inmates serving life with the possibility of parole spend an average of 20 years in prison. The study also found that the state parole board is less likely to approve release at an inmate's first hearing than at later hearings, and is less than half as likely to grant parole when a victim's relatives attend the hearing. The parole board currently has authority to grant early release to inmates convicted of premeditated first-degree murder (without a special circumstance) and second-degree murder, but starting in 2019 will also consider release for third-strikers. The study says the board now approves release in 18 percent of the hearings, three times the rate in 2007.

Prosecutor Cleared of Misconduct:  Sheri Qualters reports in the NLJ, "A three-judge panel in the District of Massachusetts has declined to impose disciplinary sanctions on Boston federal prosecutor Jeffrey Auerhahn for judicial findings that Auerhahn's withholding of exculpatory evidence prompted the release of purported mobsters from prison.   In a Sept. 15 order in In the Matter of Auerhahn, a majority of the panel concluded that the allegations of professional misconduct were not proven by clear and convincing evidence."

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