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Maryland Court: Death Penalty Standards Constitutional: The Maryland Court of Appeals (the state's highest court) rejected a claim by death row inmate Jody Lee Miles that the Sixth Amendment requires every juror in a capital case to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstances of the crime outweigh the mitigating circumstances. Miles had argued that his death sentence became illegal after the Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Cunningham v. California addressing California's determinate sentencing law. The court found that Maryland's standard satisfied constitutional restrictions, and that any modification of the standard should be left to the legislature. Miles, one of five men on Maryland's death row, was sentenced to death for the 1997 robbery and murder of theater manager Edward Atkinson. WBAL Baltimore reportsThe decision reaffirms the Maryland high court's 2003 decision in Oken v. State, which CJLF helped win.

Connecticut Creates Criminal Justice Information System: Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced yesterday the state has signed a $14.2 contract to create a Criminal Justice Information System, which will allow sharing of information among nearly a dozen criminal justice agencies in the state. After the 2007 deadly home invasion of the Petit household in Cheshire, police, prosecutors, and parole officials told lawmakers the state needed a computer network that allows agencies to track offenders through the system. The Hartford Courant reports.

"I'd do it all over again," Says Texas Death Row Inmate: Texas death row inmate Lawrence Brewer says he is ready to accept his punishment as he is scheduled to die Wednesday for the brutal 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr.  Byrd was walking alongside a country road in East Texas when Brewer and two other men offered him a ride. Instead they beat Byrd, chained his ankles to the back of their pick-up truck, and dragged him for more than two miles until he slammed into a culvert and was beheaded. Brewer continues to assert his innocence, claiming one of the other men sliced Byrd's throat - a theory entirely unsupported by the evidence. When asked about the night of the murder, Brewer says, "As far as any regrets, no, I have no regrets. No, I'd do it all over again, to tell you the truth." Doug Miller of KHOU 11 News (Houston)  reports

Governor Brown Defends His "Bold Move": Don Thompson of the AP reports California Governor Jerry Brown defended his public safety realignment plan today before a conference of hundreds of law enforcement and local government officials. Many county officials are worried they don't have the financial resources to handle the tens of thousands of inmates that will be shifted from state to local custody beginning October 1. Today Brown promised to do "whatever it takes" to guarantee the money through a constitutional amendment, saying he hopes to place a measure before California voters in the November 2012 election.

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Did anyone at CJFL see this? it's at http://legaltimes.typepad.com/

Silbert: Federal Sentencing Guidelines 'Beyond Draconian'
Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Earl Silbert told a packed room Monday night that federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines are “a threat to our crown jewel of trial by jury.”

About 100 people jammed into the ceremonial courtroom at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to hear Silbert speak during the third annual Thomas A. Flannery Lecture. Silbert's speech compared the Washington's U.S. Attorney's office of today to the office during his tenure, which ended more than 30 years ago.

Silbert, of Watergate fame...

He called the minimum sentencing guidelines “beyond draconian.”

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