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News Scan

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AG Pulls Out of 34 Drug and Gang Units in California: Don Thompson of The Associated Press reports the Department of Justice announced it is ending its involvement with 34 of the 52 drug- and gang-fighting task forces in California next year due to budget cuts. Larry Wallace, chief of the department's Division of Law Enforcement, says the state will continue running 18 task forces using federal money, but it is unclear whether the other 34 will be able to continue. The task forces were started by the Department of Justice in 1976 to coordinate federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts. Officials have said the task forces are vital in some areas where government budgets are tight and law enforcement agencies are small, and Wallace says many local law enforcement agencies are not well equipped to take over the state's role. The Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, which runs the task forces, and the Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence will be virtually eliminated. A spokesman for the Department of Finance says it's too early to tell whether some of the money could be restored in the budget California Gov. Jerry Brown will propose at the beginning of next year.

Inmate Wins New Trial by Arguing Sentence Was Too Light:
Steve Schmadeke of The Chicago Tribune reports Benny Deanda Jr, who pled guilty to murder in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence, has won a new trial in Illinois using the legal argument that his sentence was too lenient. By law, the minimum sentence Deanda should have received was 35 five years in prison. He wants a new trial so that he can present a self-defense case for the 2001 killing of a 16-year-old boy. If Deanda is found guilty at trial, he could face up to life in prison.

Execution Stayed for Virginia Inmate: Tim McGlone of The Virginian-Pilot reports tonight's scheduled execution of Anthony Juniper in Virginia has been stayed by a federal judge. Juniper was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, her two children, and her brother in 2004. A federal judge in Richmond issued a 90-day stay after one had been denied by the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. Juniper's lawyers petitioned directly to the U.S. Supreme Court because they have exhausted their state-level appeals. The AG's office did not oppose blocking Juniper's execution so that he could begin his federal appeals process, but it does oppose his request for a new hearing.    

2 Comments

If the sentence imposed on Deanda was illegal, why is the remedy not a simple resentencing rather than a new trial?

Does seem strange. The story doesn't say, and I couldn't find the opinion.

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