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News Scan

Court Rules You Can't Use Cell Phone At Red Light: Bob Egelko of The San Francisco Chronicle reports the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled Monday that a driver who is stopped at a red light is technically "driving" and still prohibited from using a handheld cell phone. Carl Nelson of Richmond, CA had appealed the $103 citation that he received in 2009 when a police officer saw him dialing a phone and holding it up to his ear while at a stoplight. Nelson argued that the 2007 state law that prohibits using handheld devices only applies when a vehicle is in motion. In the 3-0 ruling, Justice James Lambden said the law was intended to cover "persons driving on our public roadways, who, like (Nelson), may pause momentarily while doing so in order to comply with the rules of the road." Nelson's lawyer said the ruling disregarded the state Supreme Court's definition of driving from a 1991 case and would appeal the decision to the state's high court. The 1991 ruling involved a man arrested for drunken driving after police found him asleep at the wheel of a car that was legally parked with its motor still running. His arrest was thrown out by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that driving requires "proof of volitional movement of a vehicle."

California Medical Parolee May Be Returned For Lewd Acts: Don Thompson of The Associated Press reports Peter Post, 33, a former inmate who was released November 3 under California's new medical parole law is back in custody and make have his parole revoked for committing lewd acts days after his release. Post was released to a long-term care facility in San Diego after being found to be permanently physically incapacitated. Post was returned to a 24-hour secure medical facility November 10 after exposing himself and committing a sexual act in front of female nurses at the private facility. Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Post's ability to commit the acts could mean he is still a public safety risk and may have physically improved enough to complete the rest of his 31-year sentence. Post will undergo a medical evaluation before the board rules on whether to revoke his parole or not.

California Jails Getting More Prisoners Than Expected:  by now than projected, and Orange County has booked more than double the amount of inmates the state had estimated. According to an internal report by the district attorney's office, Los Angeles County has the funding to open an additonal 1,800 beds but expects to receive 8,000 state prisoners in the next year. In Kern County last week the Sheriff's Department freed 50 parole violators because they had no jail beds for them. Riverside County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jerry Gutierrez said his jail will be full by January.   

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