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California Supreme Court Tosses Out Convictions for Two Condemned Inmates: Paul Elias of The Associated Press reports that the California Supreme Court Monday tossed out the murder convictions and death sentences of two gang members. Cleamon "Big Evil" Johnson and Michael "Fat Rat" Allen were convicted in 1997 of murdering two rival gang members. Johnson led the 89 Family Bloods gang in the 1980s and 1990s. Authorities believe the gang was responsible for more than 60 slayings on their turf in South-Central Los Angeles. During deliberations, two jurors told the presiding judge about concerns that a fellow juror had already made up his mind while evidence was still being presented. The judge interviewed the entire jury, and removed the juror from the trial for prejudging the case and relying on evidence not presented during the trial. The replaced juror had reportedly told the other jurors that a witness who testified that he wasn't at work at the time of the killing because a Hispanic co-worker had punched his time card for him was lying. The juror was quoted as saying, "That's a lie. I know Hispanics, they never cheat on time cards, so this witness was at work, end of discussion." A unanimous Supreme Court said that comment did not amount to relying on outside evidence. Santa Clara University law school professor Gerald Uelmen said most reversals keep the conviction in place while only overturning the death sentence, but that the improper dismissal of a juror is a "structural error" that requires automatic reversal. To reinstate the convictions and death penalties for Johnson and Allen, Los Angeles prosecutors will have to seek a new trial. The office said it was reviewing the ruling. The opinion is here.

Serial Killer Denied Parole:
Jean Merl of the Los Angeles Times reports Juan Corona was again denied parole Monday. Corona, now 77, is not eligible for another parole hearing for five years.

South Korea to Introduce Prison Guard Robot: 
The Los Angeles Times reports South Korea will launch its prison guard robots project in a jail in the city of Pohang for a month-long trial starting in March. The 5-foot-tall, four-wheeled prison guard robot will conduct night patrols of the hallways of penal institutions, scanning cells with sensors that can assess suspicious activity, even the mental states of prisoners. The team of "friendly robots" were designed to not just guard prisoners but also to keep an eye on their well-being. One professor associated with the project said, "The robots are not terminators. Their job is not cracking down on violent prisoners. They are helpers." Designers are making last minute changes to make the robot guards look more "humane and friendly."


"Convicted rapist Byron Scherf told detectives how he stalked and killed a Monroe corrections officer"
"Jayme Biendl had a broken bone in her neck and more than 60 marks on her body"

"Her alleged attacker was identified as Byron E. Scherf, a repeat sex offender who was convicted in 1993 for kidnapping and raping a Pierce County woman at knifepoint, then setting her on fire with gasoline. He also was convicted of rape and assault in two other cases. "

Prison Guard Robot as a "terminator...cracking down on violent prisoners"?

Sounds good to me.


June, 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor:

""Three days after all eight saboteurs were in custody, FDR sent Biddle a memo making clear his expectations. "The two Americans are guilty of treason," he told the attorney general. "I do not see how they can offer any adequate defense. . . it seems to me that the death penalty is almost obligatory."

As for the six German citizens, "They were apprehended in civilian clothes. This is an absolute parallel of the Case of Major [John] Andre in the Revolution and of Nathan Hale.
Both of these men were hanged."

"The President hammered home his point once more: "The death penalty is called for by usage and by the extreme gravity of the war aim and the very existence of our American government."

Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage, Joseph E. Persico


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