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News Scan

Inmate's Lawsuit Gets Cold Reception:  According to Kansas City Star reporter Michael Doyle, prison inmate Richard Pollard's argument that his claim's of mistreatment in a privately run facility in Taft, California are matters of federal law, was met with skepticism by the Supreme Court Tuesday.  The story covers oral argument in Minneci v. Pollard (transcript here) which involves the appeal of a Ninth Circuit ruling for Pollard which cited the 1971 Bivens decision as authority.  Justices on both sides of the ideological divide seemed unconvinced that the state remedy was inadequate.  "Our law is clear," said Justice Scalia.  "if there is an adequate remedy, we don't invent one."   Justice Elena Kagan seemed to agree, "if the true appropriate remedy, and the better remedy from your client's point of view, is a state law action, we should just say bring a state law (complaint)", she said.   

Law Professors Submit Measure to Limit Three Strikes:   Tracy Kaplan reports that an unnamed group of Stanford law professors has submitted a ballot initiative to limit California's "Three Strikes" sentencing law.  The measure, called The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012, is being marketed as a more modest reform than Proposition 66, a deceptive 2004 ballot initiative (called Restore Three Strikes) which was narrowly defeated by voters.  The new initiative would allow the 25-to-life sentence to be applied to certain three-time violent or serious felons but would prohibit a third strike for most non-violent felonies.  Proponents will need to collect over 500,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.  It is unclear whether the new measure will have the support of the major financial backers of Proposition 66, which included George Soros, Jerry Keenan, John Sperling and Peter Lewis, who together contributed most of the $5,000,000 in support of that effort.

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