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News Scan

Border Patrol Announces New National Strategy: Elliot Spagat of the Associated Press reports the U.S. Border Patrol agency announced on Tuesday its new strategy to target repeat border crossers. The new strategy, which took more than two years to develop and is the agency's first in eight years, focuses on ending the revolving-door policy of sending people back to Mexico with no other punishment. Border Patrol will begin imposing more serious consequences on most people it catches. Chief Mike Fisher also said the agency is moving towards more mobile surveillance, like unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters. The new strategy also makes identifying corrupt agents a top priority.

CA Judge Talks About Reality of Early Releases: Tim Daly of News10/KXTV reports
Judge Richard Guiliani of San Joaquin County said due to realignment and a court order that limits the number of people allowed in the San Joaquin County jail system, he has to decide every day whether to keep or release those on technical parole violations and those who have committed new crimes. Guiliani also said that parole violators have figured out how to get back onto the streets quicker. If they ask for a full hearing before a judge they are kept in jail during that process, but if they accept the maximum sentence, their stay in jail will actually turn out to be much shorter. "Everybody knows if they accept 150 days, that means they're out immediately, almost," said Guiliani.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Rhode Island Inmate to Face Federal Prosecution: Laura Crimaldi of the Associated Press reports the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee must surrender Jason Pleau to federal authorities so he can stand trial in federal court. Rhode Island does not have the death penalty, and Chafee said prosecutors want to try Pleau federally so a death sentence could be possible. Pleau is accused of fatally shooting a gas station manager outside of a bank in 2010. Chafee refused a request to surrender Pleau to federal authorities in June, 2011. Pleau is currently serving an 18-year sentence in state prison in Rhode Island for violating his probation in another case.

CDCR Asks for Prison Medical Care Oversight to End in 30 Days: Julie Small of KPCC reports attorneys for California Corrections officials on Monday filed a 43-page plan to end the federal oversight of prison medical care. They asked U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who seized control of the state's prison healthcare system nearly a decade ago, to relinquish control in 30 days. The press release from the CDCR, which includes a link to a copy of the report, is here.

San Bernardino County DA Speaks Out Against Death Penalty Initiative: Mike Cruz of the San Bernardino Sun reports
San Bernardino County, CA  District Attorney Michael Ramos says fighting a ballot initiative that would end the death penalty in California is his priority right now. Ramos said the title of the SAFE California Act is misleading and proponents are taking advantage of the tough economic times California is experiencing. He pointed out that the nonprofit RAND Corp. found no objective data regarding the true cost of the death penalty. Ramos said statewide, 41 death row inmates killed police officers, 141 killed children and 135 sexually assaulted and raped their victims. He does think the death penalty system needs to be fixed to prevent appeals just for the purpose of delay, and believes a single injection method should be used. "It's a humane way," he said. "It basically puts them to sleep. I will tell you this, our victims didn't have that choice. They didn't get to say goodbye to family members."

Litigating for Terrorists: John Yoo had an opinion piece last week in The Wall Street Journal with the same title about being sued by a convicted American al Qaeda operative. A San Francisco trial judge had ruled José Padilla, who was convicted and sentenced in 2007 for running U.S. terrorist cells, had the right to sue Yoo for his legal advice that the Constitution allows Americans who join al Qaeda to be detained. When Yoo decided to go forward with an appeal, the Justice Department withdrew as his legal counsel. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed last week that Padilla could not sue Yoo, who discusses the nation's future of fighting against enemies in a post-9/11 world.  "If we are to prevail in this unprecedented war, those elected and appointed to office must show that they will protect those who fight. Worrying about future lawsuits will distort official decision-making, which should balance the costs and benefits to the national interest and not worry about personal liability. No one will ever sue a government official for doing nothing, even as dangers loom," he wrote. The case is Padilla v. Yoo.   

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