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News Scan

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CA AB109ers Eligible for Death Penalty:  Keith Carls of KCOY News reports the some of the eight killers charged with the March 17 murder of Anthony Ibarra in Santa Maria were released prison under Realignment. Ibarra's murder is believed to be gang related. Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin says his department is seeing a rise in burglaries, robberies and assaults since AB 109 was implemented. In this article, also by Keith Carls, six of the suspects are charged with the special allegations of lying in wait, kidnapping, torture, and committing murder for a street gang and eligible for the death penalty.

CO Death Penalty Repeal Rejected:  Kurtis Lee and Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post report HB 1264, seeking to repeal Colorado's death penalty, was rejected by a House committee on Tuesday, 6-4. The rejection of the bill came a week after Gov. John Hickenlooper voiced that he may veto it if it arrived on his desk. Sponsors of the bill say the governor's statement swayed legislators that initially may have supported it away from passing the bill. Two Democrats voted against the measure with their Republican counterparts. Representatives voting against the measure cited the interest of their districts and the will of the people. Gov. Hickenlooper similarly expressed that a "significant majority" still support the death penalty. Continued from this News Scan.

CA Argues for Control of Prison Mental Health System:  Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton will hear arguments Wednesday from California's lawyers that the state's prisoner mental health system complies with U.S. Constitutional standards. Arguments from inmates' attorneys will also be heard. California has invested over $1 billion in mental health care for prisoners. In addition to criticism from state psychiatrists, court-appointed experts have called the state's provisions for mentally and physically impaired inmates substandard. Judge Karlton will issue his decision by early April. Continued from this News Scan.

TN Bill Would Let DNA Stand for Suspect's Name:  Adam Tamburin of the Tennessean reports Tennessee prosecutors are hoping to pass a bill which would allow the use of a DNA profile to stop the eight year statute of limitations  for rapes from applying when law enforcement has identified a suspect through DNA but have not been able to make an arrest. In cases of aggravated rape, the state's current statute of limitations may be extended to 15 years. This process helped convict Robert Jason Burdick of a rape committed 14 years prior. In 2012, the state Supreme Court had upheld his conviction. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Mark Green, would make the Court's ruling official state law.

TX Denies Murderer's Conviction Reversal:  The Associated Press reports the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated the capital murder conviction of Cynthia Hudson Wednesday. Hudson, 50, was convicted of killing her son Samuel, 13, whom she starved, bound with plastic ties, and beat with wooden handles and a bat over the course of several days. She is serving a life sentence.

Inmate Operates Second Drug Ring in IN Prison:  The Associated Press reports inmate Wesley "FeFe" Hammond, 42, was arrested Tuesday for running a drug ring from a second Indiana state prison while incarcerated. Using an illegally obtained cellphone, Hammond ran the methamphetamine and cocaine ring out of his prison cell, a federal offense. Hammond is charged with operating a drug ring from the Indiana State Prison. He was serving a life without parole sentence at the time for committing the same offense in the Newcastle Correctional Facility.  He was one of 15 suspects arrested.

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