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News Scan

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CA Prop 34 Radio Debate: KQED Radio's Michael Krasney hosted a live debate on whether CA should end the death penalty with Proposition 34. Debating was Death Penalty Focus Executive Director Jeanne Woodford and Criminal Justice Legal Foundation Legal Director Kent Scheidegger. The full audio is here.

Detroit Homicide Rates Rising: Huff Post Detroit headlines the murder rate in Detroit has increased by 5.2 percent since the beginning of the year, compared to last year. In a press release, the Detroit Police Department states there had been 263 homicides up to Sunday, with 250 in 2011.

FBI Begins Implementing Facial Recognition Program: Radell Smith of the Examiner reports the FBI launched a facial recognition program called the Next Generation Identification Program (NGI). Image identification was previously done through the FBI's Forensic, Audio, Video, and Image Analysis Unit (FAVIAU). The new $1B program will compare criminal images from a database to those of individuals being tracked in surveillance footage. NGI will be used in, but not limited to, cases of unknown child abductors or to locate suspects in large crowds. Only national criminal FBI database mug shots will be scanned by NGI. The FBI expects the program to be implemented nationwide by 2014.

9th Guantanamo Bay Detainee Dies:
The Associated Press reports Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died Saturday. He was the ninth detainee to die since GITMO opened. In 2010, a federal district court judge had ordered Latif freed, but he remained detained until the ruling was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals last year. Latif was one of the first to be detained after GITMO opened in January 2002. Latif was in disciplinary lockup for such acts as a hunger strike, throwing bodily fluids on guards, and his own blood on his volunteer lawyer in 2009. Latif was found Saturday in his cell, unresponsive. The military has performed an autopsy, but the findings have not been released.

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Detroit's murder rate has actually gone up? I don't understand it at all. I mean, Detroit is in Michigan, and Michigan doesn't have capital punishment. According to my trusty abolitionist handbook, the murder rate is always low in places without the death penalty and always through the roof in places with it, right?

By the way, in cities, such as Detroit, which have become increasingly depopulated and where so many young men have been murdered or are serving long prison sentences, does it ever get to the point where the murder rate just goes down naturally? That is, does the overall murder rate ever go down significantly because there ends up being so many less young men around, even if those remaining young men continue to commit murder at a disturbing rate?

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