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News Scan

CA Administrative Office of the Courts Criticized in New Report: Howard Mintz of San Jose Mercury News reports a 298-page report by an 11-judge committee released over the weekend criticizes California's Administrative Office of the Courts, and says the "dysfunctional" statewide court bureaucracy headquarters should be relocated to a less expensive, smaller offices in Sacramento. The committee took particular interest in the size of the AOC staff and the number of employees earning more than $100,000 a year. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye had appointed the committee in March 2011 to examine the agency's operation and costs in response to increasing criticism of the AOC recently. She says the state Judicial Council will now consider the recommendations. The article includes a link to the report. 

Child Molester on CA Death Row Found Hanged: Mike Reicher and Chris Megerian of the Los Angeles Times report James Lee Crummel hanged himself at San Quentin State Prison on Sunday, authorities announced Tuesday. He was on death row for killing a 13-year-old boy who was on his way to school in 1979. Authorities say Crummel kidnapped, sexually abused, and then murdered him. The boy's body wasn't found until several years later, and Crummel wasn't sentenced to death for the crime until 2004. He was in prison for other crimes at that time. Crummel had also been convicted of sex crimes in four states dating to the 1960s. "He was the most evil person I had ever had contact with," said Randy Lawton, a Newport Beach police officer who investigated the case. "May all his victims, known and unknown, now have peace."

Another Case for DNA Collection Upon Arrest: Marlene Naanes of NorthJersey.com reports Derrick Chestnut was arrested on May 23 on charges of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, and criminal restraint for a rape that occurred almost 12 years ago after he was arrested recently on a charged that requires a DNA sample from offenders. The rape occurred in 2000, when a woman walking home from the bus was approached from behind by a man, dragged to a secluded area, and sexually assaulted. Evidence collected from the rape did not yield any results until DNA taken from Chestnut during his most recent arrest was matched to evidence from the rape that had been submitted to the state police's Combined DNA Index System. "The CODIS system really worked in this case. It's a testament to this system," said Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken. Chestnut who had served three years in prison on theft by deception and bad checks charges, was released in 2005.

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