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News Scan

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Health Care Lawsuits to Rise Against California Counties: Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the same nonprofit Prison Law Office that successfully sued California over inmate health care in state prisons has filed a similar suit against Fresno County, and may also take action against Riverside County, over alleged inadequacies over health care for inmates as counties begin to house thousands of offenders diverted from prisons through realignment. The Prison Law Office warns there may be more suits to come. "It's not that these jails were doing well before; it's just worse with realignment," said Don Specter, Prison Law Office director. "In some ways, counties are worse than state prisons ... and certainly the harm on prisoners who stay there longer is going to be greater." San Francisco Probation Chief Wendy Still says she understands the state wants savings, "but don't just move the risk and liabilities to the county level," she said.

Alabama Supreme Court Halts Execution: Eric Velasco of The Birmingham News reports the Alabama Supreme Court on Monday halted the execution of Cary Dale Grayson, which was scheduled for Thursday. In 1994, Grayson and three others picked up hitchhiker Vicki Lynn DeBlieux, who they beat, murdered, and threw off a cliff. Grayson and two of the boys returned to the scene later, where they mutilated DeBlieux's body, stabbing her more than 180 times. They kept a severed finger as a souvenir, which they showed off to others. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month halted the execution of Tommy Arthur scheduled for March 29 after his lawyers challenged a change in the drugs used in Alabama's lethal injection process. The Alabama Supreme Court issued a stay for Grayson pending further order of the court.

Wisconsin Governor Signs Handful of Criminal Justice Bills: Gitte Laasby of the Journal Sentinel reports Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed seven criminal justice bills into law Monday morning. Among them was Senate Bill 173, which will give police, prosecutors, and judges faster access to electronic juvenile records. Mallory O'Brien of Milwaukee's Homicide Review Commission said, "That information has to be shared. If they don't know that they're on supervision in the first place, they're never going to be sharing the information. It just kind of closes a loop that was kind of wide open with no accountability." Walker also signed Assembly Bill 397, also known as Caylee's law, related to penalties for failing to report the death of a child or to report a missing child, moving the corpse of a child, and hiding a corpse to collect public benefits.

Florida Governor Signs Bil Inspired by Caylee Anthony's Death: The Associated Press reports Florida Governor Rick Scott on Friday signed into law legislation inspired by the death of Caylee Anthony. The law increases the maximum penalty for knowingly making a false statement to police about a missing child from a year in jail to five years in prison. Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, was convicted on four counts of lying to investigators and her four-year maximum sentence was completed by the time she was acquitted of murdering her daughter. If the law had been in effect at the time, she would have gotten up to 20 years in prison.

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Very unfortunate that the Alabama Supreme Court has chosen to stay the execution. If the stay is being granted out of deference to the federal appeals court, that is silly. The federal court can do its own dirty work. The crimes for which Grayson was convicted cry out for the ultimate penalty, and it is a shame that his cohorts are not getting the ultimate penalty as well.

And shame on the 11th Circuit panel majority.

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