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News Scan

Over 1,000 Old Detroit Rape Kits to be Tested: Corey Williams from the San Francisco Chronicle reports that more than 1,000 rape kits going back to the 1980s found in a Detroit police property storage facility are being reviewed by State police, Detroit police, the Wayne County prosecutor's office, and researchers at Michigan State University to determine which could lead to arrests. DNA testing will be conducted in an outside lab. DNA found in the kits that do not belong to victims will be loaded into the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to search for matches that could lead to arrests.

California Privacy Laws Keep Police From Knowing Names of Released Offenders: Kate McGinty from The Desert Sun reports current state privacy laws were overlooked by California lawmakers when they enacted the state's realignment legislation. State privacy laws prevent probation agents, who will now monitor most offenders after they are released from prison, from giving out the names of those back in the community to local police. Sheriff Stan Sniff Jr. said his department has relied on crime pattern analysts to help fill in the lack of information. "When they inflicted this AB 109 on us, they did not think it through," Sniff said.

First Racial Justice Act Case Comes to a Close: Ashby Jones from the Wall Street Journal reports Cumberland County Judge Gregory A. Weeks heard closing arguments Wednesday as to whether race played an improper role in the death penalty conviction of Marcus Raymond Robinson in the first case tried under North Carolina's Racial Justice Act. Robinson was convicted in 1994 of murdering a 17 year-old white male during a robbery. Under the state's Racial Justice Act, enacted in 2009, there is no requirement that a defendant prove bias took place in his case specifically. An inmate only needs to prove, with statistics, that race was a significant factor in the prosecutors' and jurors' decisions concerning the death penalty "in the county, the prosecutorial district, the judicial district, or the State at the time the death sentence was sought or imposed." Judge Weeks' decision is expected to come in the next few weeks.

ACLU Hiring Realignment "Watchdogs": The San Diego and Imperial Counties chapter of the ACLU in California has hired a watchdog to "keep an eye" on how the changes realignment have brought are being implemented, and to oversee criminal justice and drug policies. The story by Teri Figueroa of North County Times is here.  

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