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News Scan

TX Bill Would Require DNA Evidence for Death Penalty:  Chris Tomlinson of the Associated Press reports that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot and Sen. Rodney Ellis (D) introduced SB 1292 Tuesday. The bill would require the testing of all biological evidence for DNA prior to a prosecutor being able to seek the death penalty. They argue the legislation would protect innocents while, at the same time, removing prolonged appeals in the face of definitive evidence.

CA County Sued After AB 109 Overcrowds Jails:  The Associated Press reports that  inmates' rights advocates are suing Riverside County over jail conditions due to Realignment. The lawsuits cite overcrowding, poor medical care, and inadequate mental health resources for inmates. Don Specter, director of the Prison Law Office says realignment has exacerbated problems by putting too much burden on the counties. The City News Service reports that Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff is making a proposal to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday for approval of a Secured Electronic Confinement Program. The plan would release about 100 inmates from county jail to ease overcrowding. Those released would be fitted with GPS tracking devices and require weekly checks for compliance. Additionally, they would have to abide by 46 terms and conditions, making the program more stringent than regular GPS monitoring.

KS Recidivism Costs Prompt Look at Probation:  
Tony Rizzo of the Kansas City Star reports on a proposal introduced to reform parole methods in Kansas. The proposal would implement a series of "graduated sanctions" of increasing severity based on repeat violations. Law enforcement officials fear it would reward bad behavior and keep dangerous criminals on the streets. The rate of probation and parole violators being re-arrested has increased 25 percent from 2009, according to KS Secretary of Corrections Ray Roberts. With costs averaging $24,000 per inmate annually, the growing recidivism rates are increasing the burden on the state's tax payers. The bill has passed the House and awaits the Senate's vote.

CA Sex Offender's Confession to Therapist Doesn't Count as Evidence: 
Maura Dolan of the Los Angeles Times reports that the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that confessions by sex offenders to a therapist cannot be used as evidence for commission to a mental institution. In the case of sex offender and state parolee Ramiro Gonzales, a psychotherapist testified that he should remain in a state mental facility indefinitely. Her statement that Gonzales admitted  raping 16 children was not admissible as evidence. The decision cited that the original trial judge erroneously ordered the therapist to testify what was discussed in the state-mandated therapy sessions. Despite the ruling, Gonzales will remain incarcerated.

CA Crime Rises in Porterville After Realignment: 
Denise Madrid of the Porterville Recorder reports that crime rates for 2012 have risen sharply in Porterville under AB 109. From 2011 to 2012, robberies increased from 58 to 70, and burglaries rose from 518 to 594. Homicides and rapes showed slight increases. Porterville Police Chief Chuck McMillan believes the increase comes as a direct result of Realignment. He says his department is re-arresting criminals released early under AB 109 for the same type of crimes they committed before.

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