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News Scan

Mayor in CA Blames Realignment for Surge in Local Violent Crime: Jon Baird of CBS Local (Los Angeles) reports the mayor of La Puente in California said Thursday the state realignment plan is responsible for a sharp jump in crimes in the city. La Puente Mayor John Solis says sexual assaults are up about 300 percent, and assaults with guns and knives up nearly 150 percent citywide since realignment took effect in October. The city is spending $50,000 to increase its police force and will set up a task force to deal with the crime surge.  

Judge Halts Release of Some Pardoned by Barbour: Emily Wagster Pettus of the Associated Press reports Circuit Judge Tomie Green in Mississippi issued an injunction late Wednesday at the request of state Attorney General Jim Hood, blocking the release of 21 inmates pardoned or given medical release by outgoing Governor Haley Barbour. Hood said he believes Barbour may have violated the state constitution by pardoning some inmates who had failed to give sufficient public notice about their intentions to seek a pardon.

Convicted Murderer in Connecticut Home Invasion Case Seeks New Trial:
Dave Collins of the Associated Press reports lawyers for Joshua Komisarjevsky, sentenced to death in Connecticut last month, are asking for a new trial. Komisarjevsky's lawyers say the trial should have been moved out of the New Haven area in order to have a fair and impartial jury. His lawyers also say their client was denied his right to probable cause hearings when the state amended the charges against him, and denied his right to confront a "powerful" witness. Komisarjevsky was convicted of the 2007 murders of a woman and her two daughters, in which he raped and strangled the mother and sexually assaulted one of the daughters before tying them to their beds, dousing them with gasoline, and setting the house on fire.

Woman Calls Police After Drug Dealer Sells Her Sugar: The Smoking Gun reports Suzanne Basham of Missouri called police to report that she had paid $40 for crack cocaine that turned out to be sugar. Basham asked the police to arrest her dealer for theft and secure a refund for her. At the address where Basham said she purchased the crack cocaine, the residents denied selling drugs and declined to let investigators inside. Basham was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia after cops discovered she was in possession of a crack pipe.

Dept. of Labor Offers $20 Million in Grants for Ex-Cons Seeking Work: The Associated Press reports the U.S. Department of Labor is offering over $20 million in grant funds to organizations that provide employment services and support to former prisoners. The Department of Labor expects to award 17 grants of approximately $1.21 million each, targeting nonprofits in high-poverty, high-crime communities. The news release from the DOL is here.

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