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News Scan

Mississippi Governor Pardons Two Murderers: CNN reports that on his last weekend in office, outgoing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour pardoned two convicted murderers. David Gatlin and Joseph Ozment were both serving life sentences and received full pardons. Ozment was convicted of murder and conspiracy, and armed robbery in a separate case. Gatlin was convicted of murder, aggravated assault, and burglary of a residence. He shot his estranged wife in the head while their baby was in her lap. The family of Gatlin's victim had just received a letter the day before Gatlin was released saying that he had been denied parole.

"Avoid the Ghetto" App: Jameson Berkow of Financial Post reports a new Microsoft Corp. smartphone software invention that accounts for safety, weather, and terrain conditions when giving walking directions has been dubbed the "avoid the ghetto" option because "unsafe neighborhoods" are among the conditions accounted for. This new feature could carry some legal implications, said CNET's Chris Matyszczyk. "What if someone using a route from this system does get mugged, shot, assaulted, or robbed? Would they feel entitled to sue Microsoft because the route was supposed to be 'ghetto-free?"

Definition of Victim Doesn't Include Next of Kin: Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the California law that allows crime victims or witnesses to ask the state for a buffer zone requiring a parolee who served time for a violent crime to live at least 35 miles away does not apply to next of kin, said the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles in a 2-1 ruling Friday. When Terrance David was paroled in 2010, the sister of a woman he killed asked the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to invoke the law to prevent David from moving in with his mother 26 miles away from where she lived. The state appeals court overturned the restriction because the law refers only to a "victim or witness," and does not mention next of kin. The court's opinion is here.

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