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California Awards $602 Million to Counties for Jail Projects: The Associated Press reports the Corrections Standards Authority in California on Thursday awarded $602 million to counties to help pay for jail construction and expansion projects, as counties are now responsible for housing tens of thousands of felons under realignment that previously would have gone to state prison. Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange counties received the most money at $100 million each. 

9th Circuit Critical of Arizona Inmates Wearing Pink Underwear:  Jacques Billeaud of the Associated Press reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals questioned the legal justification of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's policy of having inmates wear pink undergarments. A lawsuit against Arpaio's office was brought by the estate of Eric Vogel, who shouted that he was being raped as a group of officers in Arpaio's jail stripped and dressed him in prison clothing, including pink underwear, after Vogel refused to change out of his street clothes after being arrested. The Court ruled 2-1 to reverse the 2010 jury verdict in favor of Arpaio's office and ordered a new trial. In its majority decision, the Court said, "Unexplained and undefended, the dress-out in pink appears to be punishment without legal justification." Arpaio said he plans to ask a larger panel of the appeals court to reconsider the case. The Court's opinion is here.

Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds Barbour Pardons: Holbrook Mohr of the Associated Press reports the Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nearly 200 pardons issued by outgoing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Ten offenders were incarcerated when their pardons were issued, including four convicted killers and a man serving life for armed robbery who all worked as inmate trusties at the Governor's Mansion. The Court ruled 6-3 that it was solely up to the governor to decide whether the 30-day notification requirement was met, and that it couldn't overturn the pardons because of the separation of powers of the branches of government. Attorney General Jim Hood said he will pursue an initiative to amend the Constitution "to make it very clear that the judicial branch is responsible for enforcing the 30-day notification period in the future." 

Student Molested by Counselor Can Sue School: Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday a high school student molested by his counselor can sue the school for negligence in hiring and supervising the counselor. The difference in the present case from the Court's 1989 ruling that shielded schools from lawsuits over sexual abuse by their employees is the plaintiff in this case claimed school officials knew, or should have known, that the counselor had a record of sexual misconduct with minors before she was hired. The high court reinstated the student's lawsuit Thursday after a state appeals court ordered the suit against the school district be dismissed in 2010.

Study Says CA Can Move Maximum-Security Inmates: Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports an 18-month University of California study commissioned by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says the state can safely house some maximum-security inmates in lower-level prisons. As realignment progresses, the state is predicted to have extra space in medium- and minimum-security prisons as maximum-security prisons remain overcrowded.

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