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News Scan

Arkansas Considers Barring Sex Offenders From Internet Access: Andy Davis of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the Arkansas Board of Parole is considering whether to adopt a policy which would initially bar all paroled sex offenders from using the internet. Parolees could request permission to access the internet for a specific purpose, such as use in the workplace. The board currently prohibits internet access for certain paroled sex offenders on a case-by-case basis. Kim Knoll, an assistant area manager with the Department of Community Correction, said "parole officers have found that offenders are frequently using the Internet to download child pornography and communicate with children." At issue is whether the policy would infringe upon their First Amendment rights. The board is set to vote Thursday.

New Police Video Released in Florida Shooting Case:
Curt Anderson of AP Legal Affairs reports a newly released video from the Sanford Police Department, taken a half-hour after George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin last month, has some legal experts agreeing that while grainy and far from conclusive, the video does raise questions about Zimmerman's story of self-defense. But Zimmerman's attorney says it does "support his client's story in some respects."  Martin's autopsy report has not yet been released, in which the angle of the bullet wound is significant to corroborate or contradict Zimmerman's account of the confrontation.  Also, Matt Sedensky of AP has this article on the misleading use of photos to shape public opinion of the case, such as the picture of Martin several years younger.

Recent Case Sheds Light on Criminal Immigrants:
Garance Burke of the Associated Press reports the recent San Francisco case of a Vietnamese ex-con accused of killing five people has brought back into debate Supreme Court rulings that have allowed thousands of criminal immigrants to be released into U.S. communities when their home countries will not take them back. Two Supreme Court rulings found that immigrants should be released after 180 days unless they are likely to be deported soon, and established that immigrants ordered to be deported for having committed a broad range of criminal offenses cannot be locked up in detention awaiting deportation indefinitely. In cases of an immigrant posing a terrorist threat or considered highly dangerous, such as sex offenders, there are provisions allowing them to be in detention longer. Texas Rep. Lamar Smith (R) is sponsoring a bill challenging the high court's rulings by proposing to expand the pool of immigrants who can be detained for more than six months, or even indefinitely, if they cannot be deported. ICE statistics show 1,612 immigrants with criminal records were released by April of last year, 3,882 released in 2010, and 3,847 in 2009.

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