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News Scan

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CA Gov. Grants 65 New Pardons:  David Siders of the Sacramento Bee reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 65 convicted criminals on the day before Easter. Those pardoned had not reoffended since their release from prison ten years ago. Most were convicted for drug or property crimes. However, one of the pardoned was a convicted murderer; two were convicted of manslaughter. The 65 are in addition to 128 pardons the governor granted last year. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had pardoned only 16 people and commuted 10 sentences while in office. Schwarzenegger's predecessor, Gray Davis, pardoned no one. KCRA News reports the pardoned can serve on a jury and purchase firearms. Governor Brown had also signed 79 pardons on Christmas Eve. Advocates for Public Safety Founder Lynne Brown said, "Now, we're pardoning murderers as well? ...When does justice for victim's take priority?"

Suspected CA Kidnapper Was Released Under Realignment:  Jason Kandel, Samantha Tata, and Christina Cocca of NBC News report that Tobias Dustin Summers, 30, is being sought by the LAPD as a suspect in the kidnapping of a 10 year old girl in the Northridge, CA area. Summers is a long time criminal who, despite a criminal record including kidnapping and assault and battery, was released from prison in July 2012 under Realignment. Jonathan Lloyd and Toni Guinyard of NBC News report that a suspected accomplice in the kidnapping, Daniel Martinez, 29, was arrested Monday. The search for Summers has expanded to the San Diego area. The kidnapped girl, who is now safe but not being named, was abducted from her bedroom at 3:00 a.m. on March 27. She was dropped off at a hospital and walked to a Starbucks where she was recognized.  Police found her barefoot with bruises and cuts on her face about 12 hours after she was kidnapped. In this Press Release, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said:

"The Governor's FAILED realignment program is a proven threat to public safety which has overwhelmed probation departments and local law enforcement agencies statewide. The Governor needs to take the proper steps and call a special session of the legislature to repeal this reckless program."

Critics Cite AB 109 Failures, Call for Repeal:  Mike Luery of KCRA News reports victim's rights advocates from across the country gathered in Rancho Cordova Friday to protest AB 109, Governor Brown's Realignment law. The law has shifted 24,000 inmates from state prisons to county jails. Local jails are often filled beyond capacity which forces the early release of criminals. Marc Klaas, president and founder of Klaas Kids Foundation, says the program would more appropriately be called "felon dump" instead of realignment. Kathleen Moore, of Army of Angels, says the program should be repealed completely. Advocates maintain that, if they cannot get a repeal, they will begin gathering signatures to take the issue directly to voters.

Los Angeles Shootings May Be Connected to AB 109 Releases:  The Huffington Post reports that local police are concerned the recent upsurge in shootings in Los Angeles County may be due to Realignment. Covina Police Chief Kim Raney told reporters that the past 16 months have shown an increase in property crimes and that crimes are turning violent. In the three days before March 20, 11 shootings were reported in southern California. Raney believes the uptick in violent crime is directly connected to dangerous criminals who are no longer serving their sentences and are being released with minimal supervision under AB 109. There have been 13 bills put forward by Republicans aimed at fixing some of the problems with AB109. These measures would send some offenders back to prisons, increase parolee supervision, and strengthen penalties for sex offenders and illegal arms dealers. Bills discussed in this News Scan.

AZ Campaign Seeks to Give Free Shotguns to High Crime Areas:  The Associated Press reports a campaign has been launched in Tucson, Arizona by the Armed Citizen Project to introduce free shotguns to high crime neighborhoods. The group began a similar campaign in Texas earlier this year, where some residents have said the program has given them a renewed sense of security. Conflicting statistics and studies over whether or not gun ownership reduces crime have proved inconclusive. Continued from this News Scan.

CA Trafficking Case 1st Under Prop. 35:  Mike Landa of KNX 1070 reports that a prostitution case in Orange County will be the first under the state's recently implemented Prop 35. Chuncey Tarae Garcia, 33, has been charged with felony counts for human trafficking and forcible rape. Cierra Melissa Robinson, 27, is charged with human trafficking in the same case. The pair forced a 14-year-old out of state runaway into prostitution. Under the new human trafficking law, Garcia faces a possible maximum of 28 years to life in prison. Robinson faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

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