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News Scan

CA Supreme Court Overturns Death Sentence: Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the California Supreme Court Monday issued its second death sentence reversal in two months after upholding 46 consecutive death sentences over two years. The court upheld the conviction for Kevin Pearson, but unanimously overturned his death sentence and granted him a new sentencing trial. Monday's ruling found improper dismissal of a juror when Superior Court Judge Tomson Ong granted a prosecution request to remove a juror from the panel because she wrote in her questionnaire that she wasn't sure how she felt about capital punishment. The court's decision said that the juror's views on the death penalty would not have prevented or substantially impaired the performance of her duties as a juror, and the improper removal denied Pearson an impartial jury. The court's opinion is here.

DNA Links Florida Man to Murder 20 Years Ago: WFTV Channel 9 (FL) reports David Hedrick was arrested in connection to a homicide two decades ago after taking a DNA test for failing to pay his taxes in Florida, a felony offense. In Florida if someone is convicted of a felony, a DNA sample is taken and run through a database. Deputies said Hedrick's DNA matched blood samples taken from the 1991 crime scene where 50-year-old Betty Foster was stabbed 25 times in the neck and chest. 

Last Inmates Leave 150-Year-Old Nevada Prison:
The Associated Press reports the last of the inmates were transferred from Nevada State Prison Monday. Established in 1862, Nevada State Prison houses Nevada's execution chamber and license plate factory. It was the site of the nation's first execution in a gas chamber in 1924. The historic prison has numerous structural problems. In some units, faulty plumbing forced guards to leave cell doors open so inmates could use toilets down the hall. Officials estimated it would have cost $30 million to bring the prison up to code. 

Realignment for Juveniles: Nannette Miranda of abc30/KFSN-TV reports that under California Governor Jerry Brown's latest budget proposal, the responsibility for managing youth offenders would be transferred from the state's youth prisons to local jurisdictions. The Division of Juvenile Justice currently houses approximately 1,100 offenders. Just 15 years ago, it housed approximately 10,000 juvenile offenders. Brown's budget proposes stopping the intake of new juvenile offenders January 1, 2013, and proposes giving counties $10 million in 2011-2012 to plan for the transition.

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