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News Scan

SCOTUS Hears Arguments for Fair Sentencing Act Retroactivity: Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog reports U.S. Supreme Court Justices Tuesday debated whether the Fair Sentencing Act, passed in 2010 to reduce the severity of sentencing for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine crimes, should be applied to those who committed crimes involving crack cocaine before the law went into effect.

California Prisons to Block Use of Unauthorized Phones: Jack Dolan of the Los Angeles Times reports a deal was made with Global Tel Link to disable the use of contraband cell devices at California prisons. Global Tel Link also owns the pay phones inmates are allowed to use, and will pay to install the new technology. Each prison will get its own cell tower that can be controlled by prison officials. There will be a list of approved phones that can send and receive signals, and any other devices will be rendered useless. Prison officials say a one-day test of a similar system at a single California prison last year intercepted more than 4,000 attempts to make calls, send text messages, or access the Internet. CDCR's press release is here.

Victim's Aunt Speaks Out About Execution of Nephew's Killer: Virginia Klima, the aunt of Mark Klima, who was killed by Mark Wiles more than 25 years ago, has this piece in the Plain Dealer (OH). Wiles is scheduled to be executed in Ohio Wednesday. "There are always two sides to every story. Unfortunately, if you murder the one person who can tell the story, we only hear one side," she writes. Wiles, who had previously been employed by the victim's family, bludgeoned their son to death in their living room because he caught Wiles robbing their home, and Wiles knew Mark would be able to identify him.

First Convictions Under Broadened Federal Hate-Crimes Law: Bill Estep of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports according to U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey, the convictions of two Kentucky women are the first in the U.S. under parts of the federal law covering crimes of violence motivated by a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation. The two women pleaded guilty to one charge of kidnapping and one charge of aiding others in causing bodily injury to the victim because he is gay. According to Harvey's office, in 2009, the law was broadened by Congress to include crimes  of violence motivated by a person's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Sentencing for the two women will be in August.

Oklahoma Board Denies Clemency to Condemned Inmate: 
Tim Talley of the Associated Press reports the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Monday voted 4-1 to reject death row inmate Michael Bascum Selsor's bid for clemency. Selsor is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 1 for killing a convenience store clerk during a robbery in 1975. Prosecutors said the victim suffered eight bullet wounds.   

Read morehttp://www.bellinghamheral/2012/04/17/2484349/kentucky-convicted-under.html#storylink=c

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/04/17/2484349/kentucky-women-convicted-under.html#storylink=cpy

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