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News Scan

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Kern County DA Credits Realignment For 2012 Crime Rise: Angela Chen of Eyewitness News reports the Kern County Sheriff's office released statistics showing crimes increased in the county in 2012.  Total crime spiked almost 21 percent from about 8,500 in 2011 to 10,270 in 2012. Almost all categories of crime increased in 2012, with grand theft auto with the greatest surge. Of the individuals released from prison into the county, 44 percent have reoffended. According to officials and Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green, realignment is to blame. Green says the rise is no coincidence. Realignment is, in her words, "the proverbial revolving door." Offenders are going to prison, serving part of their sentence, being released into the county, and so on in a vicious cycle. The District Attorney's office had gotten about 1,000 more cases in 2012 than it did in 2011, to 8,000 cases from 7,000 respectively.   Our analysis of preliminary 2012 statistics released last week by the FBI support this conclusion.  

SCOTUS Rejects AZ Death Row Inmate's Plea: Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services reports that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Arizona death row inmate Scott Nordstrom's plea for a new sentencing Tuesday. Nordstrom argued that the judge erred in denying him the ability to introduce supposed innocence-establishing evidence from his original trial. This argument was previously rejected by the Arizona Supreme Court.  In 1996, Nordstrom and his accomplice shot and killed two men during a robbery. They killed four more people during another robbery two weeks later. Both men received the death penalty. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in another case that if a defendant objects to a death sentence imposed by a judge, the defendant is entitled to argue against the sentence in front of a jury. Nordstrom got such a hearing, and in 2009 the jury resentenced him to death.

NYPD Gets Scan-and-Frisk Technology: Rocco Parascandola of the New York Daily News reports the New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced Wednesday that the New York Police Department will begin utilizing a device that can scan for concealed weapons soon. The machine is small and is able to be fitted in police vehicles and on street corners where gun crimes have occurred. The device is expected to evolve traditional stop-and-frisks into scan-and-frisks. 

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