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News Scan

North Carolina Legislature Overrides Racial Justice Act Veto: Jake Seaton of NBC17.com reports the North Carolina state Legislature on Monday voted in favor of overriding Governor Perdue's veto of changes to the Racial Justice Act. The new law limits how statistics can be used by death penalty defendants trying to prove racial bias was a factor in their case. "The House override vote was 72-48 - exactly [the required] 60 percent majority."

Death Row Inmate Reveals Failed Oyster Suicide Plan: Christina Ng of ABC reports Connecticut death row inmate Steven Hayes revealed in a recent interview his failed plan to commit suicide by eating a dozen oysters. He is deathly allergic to oysters. Hayes, who was sentenced to death for the 2007 home invasion murders of a woman and her two daughters, said he wrote a series of letters in which he bragged about killing 17 other women, hoping that the letters would be intercepted and turned over to law enforcement authorities. Hayes hoped that once authorities believed he was a serial killer, they would offer him pizza, soda, and a dozen oysters with hot sauce in exchange for information on the killings. "I planned to eat them and have them find me dead in my cell the next morning," Hayes said. Hayes has attempted suicide several times before, but says he will not give up his appeal because he promised his lawyer he wouldn't do that.

LAPD Embraces "Predictive Policing": Greg Risling of the Associated Press reports a new "predictive policing" program being used by the Los Angeles Police Department and police in Santa Cruz uses the same model for predicting aftershocks after an earthquake to determine where to send police officers to intercept crimes in progress and deter would-be criminals. The program has been implemented in five LAPD divisions that cover roughly 1.3 million people. There are plans to implement the program citywide by next summer.

Jerry Brown Shifts More Crimes: Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports California Governor Jerry Brown last week signed legislation that shifts ten crimes back to state prisons that had been shifted to county jails under realignment. The new law also shifts additional crimes to county jails, including possession of certain dangerous items such as certain explosives, various knives, and weapons like guns or swords hidden in other objects. Check fraud and defrauding the state's food stamp program are also now punishable by stays in jail instead of prison. Senator Doug La Malfa said he was "mystified about how this is going to help public safety in California." Another new law will allow sheriffs to release inmates up to 30 days early, up from five days, to comply with jail population caps. Inmates can also be released on electronic monitoring immediately instead of having to first serve at least 30 days in jail for a misdemeanor or 60 days for a felony. Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R, Gerber) said the changes mean "more un-rehabilitated criminals on the streets, serving only a tiny fraction of their sentences in jail."

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