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News Scan

CA Senator Clarifies Realignment: California State Senator Jim Nielsen has this press release explaining the truth behind Governor Jerry Brown's AB 109.  Realignment reduced penalties for many felons who reoffend after November 1, 2011.  Many of the criminals being placed on county supervision are habitual assault and firearm offenders, commercial burglars, auto and identity thieves, and drug dealers. They are often released from overcrowded jails early on electronic monitoring, day reporting, or other non-custodial programs. Under Realignment parole terms were cut from three years to one, with most parolees passed off to counties for supervision.  On July 1, 2013, most parole revocation proceedings, will transfer from the state Board of Parole to county superior courts.  Violators will serve a maximum of 90 days in jail instead of a year in prison. Due to overcrowding most will spend less than week in jail before they are back on the street. 

CO Prison Staff Killer Could Face Death Penalty:  P. Solomon Banda of the Associated Press reports that prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Edward Montour Jr., accused of the 2002 killing of a prison worker in Colorado. Montour allegedly fatally struck Eric Autobee, 23, in the head with a kitchen ladle. At the time of the murder, he was serving a life term for his role in the 1997 death of his 11-month-old daughter. The case has been held up by legal wrangling.  Banda's previous death sentence, which was given by a judge, was overturned 2007 by state' Supreme Court ruling announcing that only a juries are able to give death sentences. 

LAPD Unit Follows Realigned Felons:  Patrick Healy of NBC News reports that the Los Angeles Police Department has put units of officers in place to keep watch on AB109 parolees. Detective Jim Hays cites the influx of parolees as a major contributing factor to crime in his Hollywood division.  Hollywood's Impact Team says their work is paying off. Despite statewide trends of rising property LAPD claims that the rate in Los Angeles has stayed flat. Still the officers are frustrated by the fact that many of those they arrest are released in a matter of days. Sgt. Chad Costello says efforts to keep criminals in custody are not successful. In Los Angeles County, 95 percent of those jailed have been sentenced to straight time, meaning early release without having to check in for probation, due to overcrowded jails.

MS Set To Make Terrorism a Capital Offense:  Emily Wagster Pettus of the Associated Press reports that Senate Bill 2223 is about to be signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant, making terrorism an aggravating circumstance in death penalty cases in Mississippi. The definition of terrorism under SB 2223 is an act committed to influence government by intimidation, coercion, mass destruction or assassination, or to intimidate or coerce civilians. Provisions in the bill are included to protect peaceful protests, boycotts and nonviolent actions. The bill passed the House, 113-1, and the Senate unanimously on April 3. It is set to become state law on July 1.

TX Executes Rapist, Killer: 
Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press reports that murderer and rapist Rickey Lynn Lewis was executed in Texas on Tuesday. In 1990 Lewis fatally shot George Newman and raped Newman's fiancee, Connie Hilton, during a home invasion in Smith County.  In recent weeks the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Lewis' most recent claims and   the U.S. Supreme Court declined review.   The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously refused to grant clemency.

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