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News Scan

Arkansas Supreme Court Hears Lethal Injection Case: The Associated Press reports lawyers for some death row inmates in Arkansas argued before the state's Supreme Court on Thursday that the amended state execution law should be struck down. Attorney Josh Lee said condemned inmates should be granted the same protections as animals in a euthanasia law, and said condemned inmates need to be ensured a quick and painless death. The case before the state's highest court comes from a lawsuit filed by death row inmate Jack Harold in 2010, challenging the power the Department of Correction Director has to choose which drugs go into the three-drug mixture used for lethal injection. Nine other death row inmates have joined the lawsuit since then. The court could issue an opinion in the next few weeks.

LA County Sends 41% Fewer to Prison Since Realignment: Rina Palta of 89.3 KPCC radio reports numbers compiled by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice show Los Angeles County is sending 41 percent fewer criminals to prison now than it did before realignment. 18 counties in California are now sending over 50 percent less criminals to prison. The biggest drops found in criminals going to prison have been for drug offenders (down 60 percent), property offenders (down 60 percent), and parole violators (down 47 percent). 

Berkeley Council Approves Vote on Banning Sidewalk Sitting: CBS San Francisco reports the Berkeley City Council voted Wednesday in favor of putting a measure on the November ballot that would prohibit sitting on sidewalks in commercial areas from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Berkeley currently has an ordinance in place prohibiting people from lying on sidewalks during the daytime, and the measure would amend the city code to include the ban on sitting. The city attorney will now draft a ballot measure and bring it back to the City Council next month to be formally placed on the ballot.

Texas Now Has Largest State Prison System: The Associated Press reports since California has reduced its prison population under realignment, Texas now has the country's largest state prison system with about 154,000 inmates. California's prison population has dropped by about 25,000 since realignment went into effect last fall. Jeffrey Callison, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation press secretary, noted that the nature of the inmate population is changing as prisons now have a higher concentration of violent, serious, and sexual offenders.

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