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News Scan

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CA Bill Would Allow Offenders to be Housed in Contiguous County: John Ellis of the Fresno Bee reports Assembly Member Henry T. Perea introduced a bill, AB 1393, encouraged by Fresno police, that would change state law, allowing police to book suspects in counties other than the county in which they were arrested. While the bill would apply to any county in the state, Perea is not certain if any other counties besides Fresno and Madera counties would be affected by the bill. According to Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer, between 2009 and 2011, over 30,600 inmates have been released from jail early due to overcrowding. The current concern is who would pay for the incarceration if the bill passed. A full copy of AB 1393 can be found here.

Sex Offender's Failure to Report Change of Address OK'd as 3rd Strike: Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco decided Friday, in the case of Courtney Crosby, that failure by a sex offender to report a change of address to police within 5 working days justifies a life sentence under the California three-strikes law. By contrast, a federal appeals court in 2008 ruled failure by a sex offender to report to police once a year was only a technical violation and too minor to justify a life sentence under the state's three-strikes law.

Smell of Marijuana Not Enough for Police to Enter Without Warrant: Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the CA Second District Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 Wednesday that merely smelling marijuana is not enough for police to enter a residence without a warrant. While there are some circumstances when an emergency warrantless search is appropriate,   possession of marijuana is not a serious enough offense to make it allowable. The justices stated smelling marijuana only enabled police to discern that someone in the room was burning marijuana.  However, the justices failed to mention the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kentucky v. King in 2011. In  that case, the court ruled 8-1 that police who smelled marijuana outside of a residence were justified in forcibly entering a residence without a warrant to prevent the destruction of evidence. In this case, the Supreme Court did not mention any distinction between crimes which were punishable by imprisonment in contrast to a fine. Kentucky v. King is not expected to affect the California Second District Court of Appeal's decision. The California attorney general's office is currently reviewing the ruling. The full ruling can be found here.

Ex-Death Row Inmate Going Back to Prison for Threatening Judge:
The Associated Press reports Ken Richey, an ex-death row inmate from Scotland, was sentenced Monday to the maximum sentence of three years after pleading guilty to a retaliation charge. Richey left a threatening voice mail for Putnam County Judge Randall Basinger, who prosecuted Richey's original case, saying he was "coming to get him." Judge Basinger said Richey made many threats against him, as well as others. Richey was released four years ago after a federal court ruled his lawyers mishandled his case and overturned his conviction of starting a fire that killed a 2-year-old girl in 1986. Richey was ordered to stay away from the northwest Ohio county and anyone involved in the case, Basinger included. Judge Basinger said Richey "has never taken responsibility for any of his actions, has blamed others for the crimes that he commits, and consistently misrepresents the events of his criminal activity."


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"However, the justices failed to mention the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kentucky v. King in 2011. In that case, the court ruled 8-1 that police who smelled marijuana outside of a residence were justified in forcibly entering a residence without a warrant to prevent the destruction of evidence." I believe the Court did not resolve the exigent entry question, holding only that the police had done nothing wrong to vitiate application of that doctrine (that is, that the situation was not one of wrongful "police-created exigent circumstances"), and left the question of whether exigent circumstances existed to justify entry to the Kentucky Supreme Court on remand (which, I believe, answered in the negative, unfortunately).

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