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News Scan

Blago Seeks Drug Rehab: Nomaan Merchant of the Associated Press reports Judge James Zagel on Tuesday agreed to recommend Rod Blagojevich be placed in a drug abuse program when he begins his prison sentence, at his attorney's request. No details were given about why Blagojevich would be eligible. The request could be a legal move - prisoners in the federal residential drug abuse program usually live separately from other inmates, work fewer hours, and are eligible for up to a year in reduced prison time. Federal prison officials have the final say on approving an inmate for the program. Zagel also agreed to recommend Blagojevich for the low-security Englewood prison in Littleton, Colorado.

New York Revisits Time Limits on Victim Lawsuits: Michael Virtanen of the Associated Press reports in response to the recent sex-abuse scandals in college sports programs, New York state lawmakers are revisiting lifting time limits on victim lawsuits. Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D) is the chief sponsor of a bill that would extend the time limit for civil suits and some additional felony prosecutions to five years after the victim turns 23, and includes a one-year window for victims to file previously time-barred claims. On Wednesday Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans to introduce legislation that would require high school and college coaches to report possible child sex abuse to police. The governor's office says college employees currently are not required to report suspected child abuse to authorities, and public school coaches are currently not mandatory reporters like teachers are. The chairman of the Senate Codes Committee, Stephen Saland (R), says the committee is developing a package of bills addressing required reporting of abuse and expanding the statue of limitations on the criminal side that he hopes to introduce in the next few weeks.

Revolving Door for Medical Parolee:  The Associated Press reports Peter Post is back on medical parole after committing lewd acts days after his initial release in November. Post was returned to a secure medical facility for exposing himself and committing a sex act in front of female nurses a week after he was awarded medical parole in California and sent to a long-term care facility. Corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said parole officials decided Post still meets the criteria for medical parole. He was sent back to the private facility last week.

Special Task Force Recommends Changes to Missouri's Parole and Probation System: Chris Blank of the Associated Press reports a Missouri House committee examined recommended changes to the state's parole and probation system made by a special task force. The
Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections says the changes could save the state millions of dollars and reduce the prison population while improving public safety and holding offenders accountable. The group made six policy recommendations. State Supreme Court Judge William Ray Price, who served on the working group, said, "It's not a question about being soft on crime or hard on crime. It's a question of being smart on crime to get the best results for our people at the lowest expense."

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