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News Scan

Fresno Co. Jail Out Of Room For Parole Violators: of The Fresno Bee reports Fresno County no longer has any room in its local jails for parole violators. Orders to not lock them up began Thanksgiving Day and the jail had already been releasing inmates early due to lack of space. The Sheriff's order does not apply to parolees who commit new crimes, but to those who break the terms of their parole. Having to turn away parolees reinforces concerns that criminals are not serving the time they should be. "They're out in the community and they're violating their parole, and when there's no consequence for violating, that's going to be a public safety issue," said Kelly Keenan, chief assistant district attorney for Fresno County. Fresno County is not the only one struggling to house inmates, and other counties may have to take similar measures.

North Carolina Racial Justice Act in Jeopardy: Anne Blythe of McClatchy Newspapers reports North Carolina state lawmakers are considering whether to repeal or tweak the state's Racial Justice Act. This act allows people facing the death penalty to present evidence that racial bias played a role in their case. One argument in the removal of this law is the use of statistics as evidence. Prosecutors argue that the way the law is written allows for statistics to be used from other counties and judicial districts to challenge their sentences. An idea being brought to the table is to tweak the law to allow judges to consider only those statistics from the district in which the inmate was tried. The House voted to nullify the law this summer. A Senate judiciary committee is set to take up the topic Monday afternoon, which could lead to a vote in the Senate this week.

Proposed New Hampshire Law Makes All Murders Death Penalty Eligible: Lynne Tuohy of The Associated Press reports proposed legislation in New Hampshire would expand the state's death penalty to include any intentional murder. New Hampshire state law currently allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty under seven circumstances. The bill would not require prosecutors to pursue a death sentence. Representative Greazzo (R) stated, "If it's going to be too expensive to prosecute and execute every murderer, it shouldn't apply to anyone. Everyone should be treated equally under the law, even murderers.'' The bill was passed by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee 11-6 last month. The House is expected to vote on the measure in January.

Inmate Criticizes Oregon Governor Over Reprieve: The Associated Press reports Oregon death row inmate Gary Haugen criticized Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber for giving him a reprieve, saying he did not have the guts to execute him. Haugen has voluntarily given up his legal challenges and says he wants to be executed in protest of the criminal justice system. However, Kitzhaber stated he wouldn't allow anyone to be executed while he remained in office. Haugen stated he believes the Governor acted on his personal beliefs rather than those of the Oregon voters, who reinstated the death penalty in 1984. "I'm going to have to get with some serious legal experts and figure out really if he can do this," Haugen said.

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