August 2013 Archives
Admitted Serial Rapist set to be Released: California's Supreme Court has denied a Los Angeles County prosecutor's request to block the release of a serial rapist from a state mental hospital. Joshua Miller of Fox News reports that Christopher Hubbart, a serious sexual predator who has admitted to sexually assaulting over three dozen women, could be released within a few weeks. Hubbart, who has been in and out of the California criminal justice system since 1972, will be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor and submit to regular polygraph testing.
Teens Sentenced in School Bus Beating: Three Florida teenagers have been sentenced to indefinite probation after pleading guilty to beating one of their classmates while riding home on the school bus. Fox News reports that the teenage boys attacked their classmate after he told school officials that one of the boys tried to sell marijuana to him. As part of their probation, the boys will be required to complete community service hours, wear GPS ankle monitors, and attend anger management classes.
Looking around for hard data on the latter point, I found a question in the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities that seemed to fill the bill. They just asked the inmates who were in on drug charges which drug it was. (Question S5Q13a, variable V0884.) Great. We're golden. Here are the results from a sample of 3,686 questionnaires in the most recent survey available (2004):
Don't know: 2
Couple Charged with Kidnapping and Torture: A Seattle couple has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and assault after allegedly torturing the man's 13-year-old brother for the past three months. Melissa Gray of CNN reports that the boy, who is from Atlanta but was staying with his brother for the summer, escaped after chewing duct tape off of his hands and running away from the home. The boy was tortured on several occasions, and was frequently locked in a basement for days at a time without access to food or water.
Man Arrested After Shooting Marijuana-Arrow into Jail: A Washington state man has been arrested after shooting an arrow with a bag of marijuana attached to it over a fence and into the county jail's recreation area. The Associated Press reports that David Jordan told deputies he had been aiming at a squirrel, but had no explanation as to why the arrow he was using had a bag of marijuana attached to it.
Why the dramatic change? This time there is a schism on the left side of the aisle, and he actually needs the support of persons of sense.
Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics released its advance figures on prison populations. This is a census of prisoners in state and federal prisons, not county jails.* The total state prison population declined by 29,223 from year-end 2011 to year-end 2012. California alone accounted for 51% of the drop, while California and Texas together accounted for 71%.
In California, the drop is primarily due to the Realignment program shifting convicted felons to county jails. In theory, it was not supposed to reduce the total persons incarcerated, although the hydraulic pressure on overcrowded jails has done that.
So who is left in California's prisons? Let's compare the most serious offense of commitment of California prisoners versus the 50-state total:
|Offense Type||California||All States|
CA Governor Proposes Controversial $315 Million Plan to Reduce Prison Overcrowding: Jerry Brown's answer to a federal order requiring him to alleviate prison overcrowding involves a $315 million plan that will reduce prison capacity by leasing space from county jails and other prisons around the country. Dan Whitcomb of Reuters reports that his plan, which was met with immediate resistance by liberal advocacy groups, will comply with the original demand to reduce California's prison capacity to 137.5% without releasing thousands of inmates back into the community. In addition to the initial $315 million price-tag for this year, the plan will cost an additional $415 million for the next two years.
Woman Brutally Beaten in 'Racially Motivated' Attack: A Pittsburgh woman is recovering from injuries she sustained after being attacked by a group of black teenagers who allegedly beat her while calling her racial slurs. WPXI News reports that the victim, Ginger Slepski, was beaten after confronting a group of teenage girls who threw a bottle at her car. The group of teenagers allegedly involved have all been charged with robbery and ethnic intimidation.
Study Reveals no Correlation Between Gun Control and Fewer Violent Crimes: A study conducted by Harvard University has found that having stricter gun control laws doesn't necessarily result in lower death rates or fewer instances of violent crime. Awr Harkins of breitbart.com reports that the study, "Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?", compared European country's gun ownership numbers to the amount of gun-related homicides and found that less guns doesn't always mean less death. Norway, for example, had the highest household gun ownership rate (32%) in Western Europe while also holding the title of having the lowest murder rate.
Nidal Malik Hasan was sentenced to death Wednesday for killing 13 people and wounding 32 others in a 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Tex., the worst mass murder at a military installation in U.S. history.
Dressed in Army fatigues, Hasan, who turns 43 next month, listened impassively as the death penalty was handed down by a panel of 13 senior military officers in a unanimous decision. If even a single panel member had objected, Hasan would instead have been sentenced to life in prison.
The jury deliberated for a little more than two hours.
Two hours strikes me as rather short for a penalty phase deliberation, but folks who do capital trial work and are more knowledgeable about that are invited to comment.
Today is the golden anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Martin Luther King's famous speech. These are, by far, the most important words Dr. King ever spoke. They are the most important for the same reason that the Declaration of Independence is the most important document Thomas Jefferson ever wrote. These are words that transcend the individual author. They were embraced by the nation as the distillation of the idea that motivated a great movement, a leap forward in the cause of freedom.
If you visit the MLK memorial in Washington, don't bother looking for these words among the many engraved quotations. They aren't there. They have been banished by Political Correctness.
He isn't giving a lot of details, presumably we will get that later, but the plan evidently involves use of vacant capacity within the state as well as increased use of out-of-state, presumably private, prison facilities.
Involving Republican legislative leaders and law enforcement is a sharp contrast with his handling of the Realignment bill in 2011, rammed through the legislature in a single day with no attempt whatever at cooperation.
The Speaker of the Assembly and the Republican (minority) leaders of both houses are on board. The Senate President Pro Tem is absent.
Mexico City Experiences Increase in Violent Crime: Mexico City's violence and crime rate are now on the rise due in large part to an increase of local gangs seeking to control the drug market not only in Mexico, but in the United States as well. Nicholas Casey of The Wall Street Journal reports that recent high-profile murder cases have elevated fear levels in the city despite several attempts made by elected officials to reduce crime rates and increase the number of police officers. Just last week, authorities discovered a large grave in a Mexico City suburb containing 13 bodies, five of which belonged to a group of young people kidnapped from a night club last May.
Convicted Sex Offender Sent to Prison After Sneaking into Jail: Matthew Matagrano, a convicted sex offender who was out on probation, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after authorities discovered he had been sneaking into a New York jail. Rick Couri of KRMG News reports that Matagrano used a fake corrections department badge to sneak into the jail in order to spend time with the inmates, who he viewed as nice people who made him feel important. Authorities believe he handed out cigarettes to the inmates, and during one visit in February, he assaulted an inmate and stole a $2,500 walkie talkie.
The email I received this morning says, "Florida taxpayers will end up footing the bill for George Zimmerman's legal fees after his recent acquittal in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin." Really? Florida provides attorneys' fees to acquitted criminal defendants? That would be highly unusual, if true.
8-Year-Old Boy Shoots and Kills Elderly Caregiver: Authorities in Louisiana believe an 8-year-old boy intentionally shot and killed his 87-year-old caregiver after playing a violent video game. Lauren Russell of CNN reports that the victim, Marie Smothers, was shot in the back of the head while watching television in her living room Sunday night. The boy won't face any charges due to a Louisiana law that prohibits children younger than age 10 from being held criminally responsible.
Florida Man Beats Young Girl in Public Restroom Stall: A Florida man was arrested after allegedly luring and attacking a 9-year-old girl in a Best Buy restroom in what authorities believe to be a random attack. USA Today reports that 29-year-old James Tadros lured the girl away from her mother and into a restroom stall where he allegedly assaulted her repeatedly before putting a plastic bag over her head and sticking her head inside a toilet. Tadros has been charged with attempted murder, false imprisonment, and criminal mischief.
Little Interest in Those Murdered by Illegal Immigrants: A Texas mother is seeking to gain attention on the American victims of illegal immigrants by telling the traumatic story of her son's murder in 2010. Tony Lee of breitbart.com reports that Laura Wilkerson's 18-year-old son was beaten and strangled to death then doused with gasoline and lit on fire after offering a ride to an illegal immigrant. The man, who would have been eligible for citizenship under the DREAM Act, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder earlier this year. Maria Espizona, director of the Remembrance Project that honors Americans killed by illegal immigrants, believes that crimes such as this one would be 100% preventable if our country's immigration laws were strictly enforced.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Mayor Bob Filner agreed Friday to resign on Aug. 30, bowing to enormous pressure after lurid sexual harassment allegations brought by at least 17 women eroded his support after just nine months on the job.
Filner was regretful and defiant during a City Council meeting as he explained the "the toughest decision of my life." He apologized to his accusers but insisted he was innocent of sexual harassment and said he was the victim of a "lynch mob."
False accusations are made sometimes. That is why we have the presumption of innocence. So if it's an accusation by one person or two, we should definitely reserve judgment until a full case can be presented. When seventeen women come forward, though, the protest of innocence is pretty incredible. That would take one helluva conspiracy.
Filner apologized to the city but demanded the city pay his legal bills in return for his resignation. How about that, an apologetic blackmailer.
And finally we get to the part I have wanted to know all along, and why it is on-topic for this blog:
Filner's troubles may also not be over. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has interviewed the mayor's former communications director and opened a hotline to field any complaints about Filner. Investigators will deliver their findings to California attorney general's office to consider any possible criminal prosecution.
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- The U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians last year in one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was sentenced Friday to life in prison with no chance of parole -- the most severe sentence possible, but one that left surviving victims and relatives of the dead deeply unsatisfied.
"We wanted this murderer to be executed," said Hajji Mohammad Wazir, who lost 11 family members in the attack by Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. "We were brought all the way from Afghanistan to see if justice would be served. Not our way -- justice was served the American way."
Teenagers Beat WWII Vet to Death: One juvenile has been arrested while police continue to search for another teen suspect in the beating death of a WWII veteran earlier this week in Spokane, Washington. Ed Payne of CNN reports that 88-year-old Delbert Belton was beaten and left for dead by two teenagers in what police believe to have been a random attack. The male suspect in custody has been charged with first-degree murder and robbery.
"Why the Manning Verdict Was a Mistake": UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo provided insight on a video interview seen here about the recent sentencing of Bradley Manning, convicted of leaking thousands of classified files to foreign countries. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, a punishment Yoo believes was not harsh enough to fit the serious nature of the crime he committed. Rather, Yoo believes Manning should have been convicted of aiding the enemy, a charge that is death penalty eligible, in order to send a message to other people and hopefully deter future harmful acts against our national security.
Defense attorneys acknowledged that Blanco Garcia was the killer. But they said he had not intended to harm Pham. In his closing argument, attorney David Bernhard reiterated a phrase the defense used again and again to describe the crime: a "perfect storm of tragedy."
Defense attorneys said Blanco Garcia had smoked PCP that Sunday and planned to steal TVs from stores. But as he set out with his daughter, he became sick from the drug and got off the bus at Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center. They said he was in distress, and asked Pham to take him to the hospital.
As they were driving, defense attorneys said, Pham made a wrong turn, and Blanco Garcia became paranoid. He pulled a butcher knife from his backpack and stabbed Pham as his daughter sat nearby, they said.
Today, the Ninth Circuit decided Montana Shooting Sports Assn. v. Holder, No. 10-36094.
The Montana Legislature passed the Montana Firearms Freedom Act ("MFFA" or "the Act"), which declares that a firearm or ammunition "manufactured . . . in Montana and that remains within the borders of Montana is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress [sic] to regulate interstate commerce." Mont. Code Ann. § 30-20-104. It purports to authorize the manufacture and sale of firearms within the state, but imposes certain requirements for a firearm to qualify under the Act, notably that the words "Made in Montana" be "clearly stamped on a central metallic part." Id. § 30-20-106.Will that dog hunt? No.
Last year, a federal district court in Massachusetts held that the Eighth Amendment required that state to provide not only hormone treatment but also surgery. See Kosilek v. Spencer, 889 F.Supp.2d 190. The appeal was argued in the First Circuit on April 2 and is presently pending, No. 12-2194.
Update: David Dishneau has this story for AP.
We used to think that a convicted criminal owed a debt to society. Well you can forget that! Society, you see, owes the debt to him. Get your mind right, people! And the debt, in particular, is to shell out God knows how much so he can be a woman!!!
The guy/girl gets convicted of espionage, is lucky not to have been convicted of aiding the enemy, tells us he's not really responsible because he had, ya know, sex problems (without any very detailed explanation of why sex problems would make a person want to become the intelligence arm for al Qaeda), and now wants to transmogrify taxpayers into his field hands, to labor on the plantation of his misfit psyche.
The whole thing is parody. Or more worrisome, as Kent noted recently, maybe it isn't.
With Filner's political position eroding faster than a beach in Superstorm Sandy, he has thrown in the towel. NBC 7 in San Diego has this story. It's good that Filner is gone, and it's good that his therapy dodge failed so miserably.
BTW, the law firm representing Filner is named Payne & Fears.
Murder Charges Dropped Against Elderly Woman: The murder charges against an elderly New Jersey woman were dropped after multiple doctors and experts determined she was not fit to stand trial due to her dementia. Laura Ly of CNN reports that 78-year-old Fredricka Rosa was charged with first-degree murder after allegedly shooting her husband in July of last year. An additional charge of unlawful possession of a weapon was also dismissed.
Florida man Found Guilty of Brutal Murder: A Florida man faces a possible death sentence after being convicted on Tuesday in a vicious murder of a 15-year-old boy. Barbara Liston of Reuters reports that 21-year-old Michael was convicted of first-degree murder along with four co-defendants after being found guilty of shooting and dismembering their victim after luring him to home via text message. The four co-defendants previously accepted plea deals and were given life sentences for their roles in the murder.
Nov. 5: Bond v. United States, on the authority of Congress to make a federal case out of poisoning in order to implement a treaty, back for a second look.
Nov 12: Rosemond v. United States, yet another case on sentencing for gun use in the course of a drug crime.
Also Nov. 12: Burrage v. United States, a case on mens rea and causation when a drug dealer's product kills the consumer.
Nov. 13: Fernandez v. California, the latest episode in the continuing saga of police being allowed in by one occupant over the objection of another.
Hollywood has been criticized for making too many sequels lately, but it seems SCOTUS has caught the bug as well.
California's 'Alphabet Killer' Convicted of Four Murders: Joseph Naso, a 79-year-old Northern California man, was convicted yesterday in the murders of four young women many years ago. Paul Elias of the Associated Press reports that prosecutors referred to Naso as a serial killer, noting that he selected his victims based on the alliteration of their first and last names. The jury that found him guilty will also decide his fate at a sentencing hearing next month. Jurors will have the option of sentencing Naso to either death or life in prison.
Hostage Shoots and Kills Escaped Inmate: Authorities say Rodney Long, a man who escaped from an Iowa prison on Sunday, was shot and killed by a homeowner after the man broke into his home and tried to take him and his wife hostage. The Associated Press reports that Long broke into the home and cut the couple's phone line after shooting an Iowa state sheriff earlier that day. Long was serving a prison sentence for a burglary and was expected to be released next year.
Convicted Killer Murders Cellmate: A Minnesota man convicted of murdering a fellow inmate in 1997 has been accused of murdering his cellmate, this time at a state penitentiary in Oregon. Evan Sernoffsky of KGW News reports that Craig Bjork was serving three consecutive life sentences in Minnesota for the 1982 murders of his children and girlfriend when he murdered a fellow inmate and threatened to kill several more. Bjork was sent to the Oregon State Penitentiary in January of this year on an interstate transfer from Minnesota.
Stop-and-Frisk Decision "Poorly Reasoned": Professor Eric Posner of U. Chi. Law critiques Judge Shira Scheindlin's opinion on the New York stop-and-frisk policies in this article at Slate.
In the murder of Australian exchange student Christopher Lane in Oklahoma, in contrast, there is solid reason to believe that gang culture is a strong influence contributing to this senseless killing. Carmel Melouney has this article for the Herald Sun of Melbourne, Australia. James Johnson believes that his son was the intended next target:
The Herald Sun also has this article on the social media posts of the alleged killers.
"They threatened to kill my son because they are in a gang, the Crips, and were trying to get my son in it and I wouldn't let him do it.
"I told him he couldn't run with those boys. He's a little terrified."
Mr Johnson said the Crips, a predominantly African American street gang that began in Los Angeles in 1969 and had been in Duncan for the past few years.
Culture rot, the worst aspect of which is the glorification of gangs and crime, is a major contributing factor in too many young people's disastrous choices to take the wrong path and end up in prison or dead. It does not get nearly enough attention.
Update, 9/22: The WSJ has this editorial, making a similar point.
I think this story is notable and significant not only because a notable NYC politician is making a public case for marijuana legalization, but also because it seems likely to get this mayoral candidate a lot more media attention in the weeks and months ahead. And if this pot legalization advocacy not only improves Liu's media hits, but also his overall standing in the mayoral [polls], lots of other politician are sure to take note.
OK, that's cool. So let's take a look at Mr. Liu's polling these days.
Surprisingly, there isn't one available to the public.
James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, were charged with murder. A third teenager, Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and with firing a weapon. All were charged as adults, according to the Stephens County District Attorney's Office.
The charges were unveiled at a hearing in Duncan, Okla. The ballplayer, Christopher Lane, was visiting the town, where his girlfriend lives, the police chief told The Associated Press. He passed a home where the teens were staying and was gunned down at random, the chief said....
They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: 'There's our target,'" the chief, Danny Ford, told the AP. "The boy who has talked to us said, 'We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.'"
Yes, Justice Kennedy, I'm sure these guys, being juvenile, had no clue that murdering a person chosen at random, and out of boredom, is wrong. Brain development, dontcha know.
Realignment Increases Workload for LAPD Officers: California's prison Realignment bill, aimed at reducing prison overcrowding, has forced dozens of Los Angeles police officers to leave their regular patrol duties in order to monitor newly paroled ex-cons. Joel Ruben of the LA Times reports that, since the implementation of Realignment, the LAPD has had as many as 170 officers assigned to units responsible for monitoring felons after their release from state prison--a shift that has cost the city an additional $18 million in payroll. The LAPD has arrested roughly 3,100 of the 5,400 ex-cons brought to the Los Angeles area through Realignment.
Detroit Looks Into Utilizing Stop-And-Frisk Policy: With violent crimes on the rise in Detroit, police are looking to implement a policy generating a lot of controversy in New York: stop-and-frisk searches. Maurielle Lue of Fox 2 reports that the policy allows for officers to stop and search citizens behaving in a suspicious manner without requiring probable cause. Last week, a federal judge ruled that New York's stop-and-frisk policy was unconstitutional based on her belief that the stops were the result of racial profiling.
Oklahoma College Student Murdered for the "fun of it": A 22-year-old Australian exchange-student studying at an Oklahoma university on a baseball scholarship was gunned down by a group of three teenagers who allegedly shot the man because they were "bored" and "decided to kill somebody". Fox News reports that the three boys in custody, ages 15, 16, and 17, will appear in court later today where they will most likely face first-degree murder charges. The teens can be tried as adults, and if convicted, face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
California Bill Would Give Juvenile Offenders A Second Chance: Inmates who were convicted of serious crimes prior to turning 18 will have a chance to be released from prison early if California bill SB260 is passed by the Legislature. Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports that the bill would allow inmates convicted of serious crimes to be eligible for parole after serving 15 years of their sentence unless they are believed to be a threat to public safety. Roughly 5,700 of California's 133,000 adult inmates are currently incarcerated for crimes they committed as juveniles.
NY Mayor Defends Stop and Frisk Policy: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends his city's police department and claims to have the safest big city in the country in an opinion article written in today's Washington Post. Bloomberg stands by his city's police officers and explains that out of the several million stops conducted by the NYPD over the last decade, only 19 of them were found to be unjustified. Last week, a federal judge ordered the NYPD to implement changes in their stop and frisk policy based on her belief that stops were being conducted as a result of racial profiling.
Georgetown Law Professor Nicholas Rosenkranz has this op-ed in the WSJ contrasting President Obama's suspension of the Obamacare's employer mandate with President Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in the Civil War.
Article I, section 9, second clause of the Constitution says, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
This is a prohibition, not an authorization. Who does have the power to suspend the writ when the substantive requirement is met (as it surely was in 1861)? There was a great constitutional controversy during the first two years of the Civil War as to whether the President could suspend the writ by executive order or whether it required an act of Congress. Congress finally got around to it in 1863 and mooted that controversy.
There was a constitutional showdown over this between President Lincoln and his old nemesis, Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision. A Confederate sympathizer named Merryman was charged with treason and held by the military in Fort McHenry, the defense of which had moved lawyer Francis Scott Key to poetry a half century earlier.
In a case that has drawn the attention of critics of AB109, California's prison realignment law, the son and daughter of an elderly Stockton woman who was allegedly raped and murdered by her grandson are suing the state and San Joaquin County, saying he should have not have been released from county jail.
According to the lawsuit filed Aug. 8, parole employees supervising Jerome Sidney DeAvila knew he was a danger and "were aware that on numerous occasions, he had stated his intent to harm, kill, and/or rape his grandmother," Racheal Renee Russell.
The body of the 76-year-old woman was discovered late February inside a wheelbarrow in the backyard of her South Golden Gate Avenue home.
DeAvila's case drew the attention of critics of AB109, which has parolees serve their revocation sentences at county jails instead of state prison.
Parole violators are routinely released and are usually the first to go early in San Joaquin County, because the jail has to meet a court-ordered population cap to avoid overcrowding.
And some overcrowded jails in the state are not booking them at all.
I doubt that a suit for damages has much chance. However, the state's criminal justice system certainly did fail Mrs. Russell. All the preening pseudosophisticates congratulating themselves on how "smart" they are on crime can go home to their safe, leafy neighborhoods, while the consequences fall on people like Rachael Russell.
Five of the six new members work for some of the country's largest law firms and regularly represent some of this country's biggest corporations. The sixth represents businesses defending against claims for which they have liability insurance -- "insurance defense" cases. On the committee, they will join four other lawyers who work at large corporate firms, four who represent businesses in smaller law firms and one who specializes in defending lawyers sued for malpractice.
Not one of the lawyers on the committee for 2013-14 regularly represents individuals who bring lawsuits alleging they were harmed by the actions of corporations or other business entities, and not one represents individuals charged with anything other than white-collar crimes.
Okay, so there are criminal defense lawyers on the committee, and Yelnosky is all upset that they are all white-collar defense lawyers as opposed to lawyers who defend murderers, etc. (red-collar?).
Why is the good professor not upset that all of the criminal law practitioners are defense lawyers and not prosecutors?
Ohio to Decide how to Carry out Future Executions: The state of Ohio's supply of pentobarbital, the drug used in lethal injections, will run out by the end of September leaving the Ohio Department of Corrections to decide which method they will utilize to carry out future executions. Ryan Gorman of The Daily Mail reports that other states are dealing with pentobarbital shortages as well. Missouri is considering returning to lethal gas for executions since it is still legal in that state. A judge has ordered the state of Ohio to present their new execution procedure by October 4.
Feds Arrest 263 Gang Members: A nationwide sweep focused on MS-13, one of the most dangerous street gangs in the country, has resulted in hundreds of arrests. CNN reports that some of the gang members were facing charges such as murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping. The FBI describes MS-13, which operates in 42 states across the country, as being one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the world.
Texas murderers to be released from prison due to loophole: Hundreds of convicted murderers and other violent criminals are set to be released from Texas prisons due to a loophole in the law. Geetika of ABC News reports that inmates convicted between 1977 and 1987 will be released after the number of days they have spent incarcerated and the number of days they have displayed "good behavior" equals out to one-third of their original sentence. The law was changed in 1987 to only apply to offenders convicted of non-violent crimes, but the new rule only applies to those inmates convicted after 1987.
Realignment creates a revolving door for sex offenders: California governor Jerry Brown's prison realignment plan has resulted in a revolving door of sorts for parolees who have come to realize that the punishment for violating parole is only a night spent in county jail before getting released the next day. Anderson Cooper of CNN reports that the prison realignment program has left county jails overwhelmed with inmates, forcing them to release for criminals, including registered sex offenders, who violate parole a few hours after their arrest. This new policy has sent the message to parolees that their are no real consequences for breaking the rules.
CJLF did some work in this area 20 years ago. We filed an amicus brief in International Society of Krishna Consciousness v. Lee (1992). The Supreme Court allowed the New York airports to forbid solicitation by the Hare Krishnas, although in a parallel case the Court struck down a prohibition against handing out literature. The latter didn't matter, of course, as it was all really about the money.
The opinion of the Court in that case was based on a conclusion that the airport was not a public forum. Justice Kennedy thought it was, but he thought that in-person solicitation for the immediate payment of money was not protected speech. That was also the position of our brief. To date, however, there still is no Supreme Court precedent on point.
Some of our friends on the other side of the aisle think it is really important to let people confront others on the street and ask for money. They also think it is awful when people don't want to go downtown and instead go to suburban shopping malls which, as private property, can kick the bums out. They don't seem to see any connection.
Jesse Jackson Jr. Sentenced to Prison: Former Illinois Democratic congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr., has been sentenced to spend 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to spending $750,000 worth of campaign funds on personal items. The Associated Press reports that both Jackson and his wife have admitted to spending thousands of campaign dollars on items such as fur coats, expensive restaurant tabs, and a Rolex watch. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Jackson Jr. faced up to 57 months in federal prison.
Convicted Murderer Accused of Killing Again: Scottie Thompson, an Illinois man convicted of murder and released from prison 20 years early, has been arrested and charged in the brutal murder of a 20-year-old man. Lauren Trager of News 4 reports that Thompson was on parole and wearing an ankle monitor when he beat 20-year-old Dakota Jones to death and dumped his body in a lake over the weekend. Recently, Illinois has adopted a "truth in sentencing" law which will require murderers to fulfill their entire sentence prior to being released.
Stop and Frisk Ruling May Jeopardize Safety: A ruling made by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ordering the New York Police Department to alter its stop and frisk policy based on allegations of racial profiling could put pubilc safety at risk in many of the state's high-crime neighborhoods. Heather Macdonald of the City Journal writes that Judge Scheindlin made the ruling based on her belief that the number of individuals stopped should reflect racial population ratios. In the high-crime New York neighborhood of Fort Greene Blacks and Hispanics were responsible for 99 percent of all violent crime and over 93 percent of all crime in general. This suggests that the majority of people stopped would be Black or Hispanic, a factor that Judge Scheindlin neglected to consider when handing down her ruling on Tuesday.
Because of an obscure, difficult to understand ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2012, poor defendants in Delaware now have a new right to a taxpayer-funded attorney to appeal their convictions, a change that seems poised to cause legal gridlock in state courts and cost Delaware taxpayers millions.* * *Rep. Melanie George Smith, D-Bear, co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, described the ruling as an unfunded mandate from Washington.
"I'm not one to second-guess the U.S. Supreme Court, but I do have a philosophical disagreement with the decision in this case," she said, in that the court in the Martinez case ends up "telling the state how to allocate the state's resources."
The decision is Martinez v. Ryan, and the "appeal" is postconviction review. I do not dispute that Martinez is difficult to understand in some aspects. Compare Justice Breyer's majority opinion with Chief Justice Roberts's dissent in Trevino v. Thaler. On this aspect, though, there is no difficulty. Prior cases held explicitly that there is no constitutional right to counsel on collateral review, and Martinez did not alter that rule. Instead, it decided a much narrower question about which claims will be considered by federal courts in federal habeas corpus. There is no mandate on the states.
Even so, the Delaware Supreme Court went ahead and amended Superior Court Criminal Rule 61(e)(1) to provide state-paid counsel in every case for the initial collateral review, and Martinez is getting the blame.
Whether the state wants to fund these appointments in every case is a judgment call for the legislature to make. Ironically, Arizona, where the Martinez case is from, does provide counsel in every case. Let no good deed go unpunished. If the Delaware legislature decides it is a bad policy, it should go ahead and abrogate the rule change. Nothing in Martinez prevents it from doing so.
Michigan Ends Life Without Parole Sentences for Juveniles: Juveniles convicted of murder in Michigan will now get the chance of being paroled after the state's previous mandatory life sentence for convicted murderers, regardless of their age, was overruled by a federal judge. The Associated Press reports that the issue now, is whether or not Michigan will apply the law retroactively or limit the ruling to future cases. Last year, in Miller v. Alabama the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life terms murderers under 18 was cruel and unusual punishment.
Florida Death Row Inmate Declared Sane for Execution: Despite an attempt to avoid death by lethal injection due to insanity, the Florida State Supreme Court has approved the execution of Marshall Lee Gore. Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida reports that the court found Gore, who was convicted of murdering two women in 1988, was pretending to believe he was being executed so that the state could harvest his organs. Gore's attorneys filed a brief last month claiming that his execution would be unconstitutional based on the Eighth Amendment.
Tough on Crime Policies Beginning to Fade Away: Two developments yesterday, one involving the Attorney General's announcement on mandatory federal drug sentencing laws and the other a federal judge's decision to block New York's stop-and-frisk policy, may be an indication that tough on crime policies in the U.S. are beginning to dissipate. Charlie Savage and Erica Goode of The New York Times report that while the timing of both announcements yesterday was a coincidence, it is a sign that legislators are seeking several different avenues in order to alleviate prison overcrowding throughout our country. CJLF President Michael Rushford, and law professor and former federal prosecutor William Otis were guests on KQED Radio this morning, and can be heard here giving their opinion on the Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement yesterday to avoid enforcement of federal mandatory drug sentencing laws.
The court decided that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can no longer drag its feet on this controversial question, as it has been doing for years. Kind of like DoJ has been doing on the AEDPA fast track. This is illegal. An administrative agency cannot nullify an Act of Congress just by sitting on its rump, and a court should issue a writ of mandamus when necessary to move it.
The court distinguishes prosecutorial discretion:
One of the greatest unilateral powers a President possesses under the Constitution, at least in the domestic sphere, is the power to protect individual liberty by essentially under-enforcing federal statutes regulating private behavior - more precisely, the power either not to seek charges against violators of a federal law or to pardon violators of a federal law.When this authority is abused, the remedies are political and not judicial.
Judge Kavanaugh wrote the opinion of the court. Judge Randolph concurred. Judge Garland dissented.
Arizona's initial application went to the U.S. Attorney General, as the statute requires, but the Attorney General is the one who has been intentionally stalling a process that Congress passed for the specific purpose of speeding things up.
The USAG's response was predictable dithering, so Arizona has begun the process of taking the issue to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Congress provided that the court's review would be de novo (i.e., from scratch without any deference to what the AG said), so it really does not matter that there is no AG decision to review.
Update: The petition is now available here. The case is Arizona v. Holder, No. 13-1237.
[Editor's update: KQED audio is now available -- KS]
This is an original proceeding in mandamus. The issue presented is whether the state or federal constitution requires that a hearing to determine the admissibility of a rape victim's past sexual conduct be open to the public, notwithstanding that a statute mandates that that hearing be held outside the presence of the public.
Relator is the defendant in a criminal action in which he has been charged with various sex crimes. Defendant claims that the alleged victim made false allegations against him so that she can later bring a civil action against him for money damages. He seeks to offer evidence at his criminal trial that the alleged victim falsely accused men of raping her on two previous occasions and that she did so for the purpose of financial or other gain....
For the reasons set forth below, we hold that the exclusion of the public from hearings under OEC 412(4) to determine the admissibility of evidence of a sex crime victim's past sexual behavior under OEC 412(2) does not violate Article I, section 10 or 11, of the Oregon Constitution or the First or Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Judge Finds Stop-And-Frisk Policy to be a Violation of Rights: A federal judge has determined that the stop-and-frisk policy adopted by the New York Police Department violated the rights of minorities. Joseph Goldstein of the New York Times reports that Judge Scheindlin ruled that officers were often times stopping innocent people without any probable cause to believe they were guilty of any wrongdoing, and has ordered a number of remedies aimed at addressing the issues with the policy. City officials have not yet commented on the ruling or discussed plans of a possible appeal.
Verdict Reached in Boston Mob Boss Trial: After hearing testimony from 72 witnesses and seeing over 800 exhibits, a jury has found onetime Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger guilty of federal racketeering and conspiracy. Fox News reports that Bulger's 32-count indictment included 19 murders, extortion, money laundering, and weapons violations. Bulger, who is 83-years-old, faces a possible sentence of life in prison.
Homeless Sex Offenders no Longer Being Tracked in Colorado: Law enforcement is worried that a new law that no longer requires them to track homeless sex offenders may result in more offenders flying under the radar. The Associated Press reports that the law was originally intended to prevent police from spending their time trying to locate offenders who frequently move or no longer have a home. As of last week, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reported that there were 722 homeless adult and juvenile sex offenders.
At our next meeting [of a group consisting mostly of academics], which will also be in Washington...we will focus on the 'lead hypothesis,' that the removal of lead from paint and gasoline resulted in crime declines some years later and may largely explain the crime drop.
During his trial, Ashker conceived a plan to cause a mistrial by having another inmate called as a witness smuggle a shank in his rectum and stab someone. The prosecutor was the target of choice, but when he proved out of reach the defense lawyer would do. Cozens survived but still has the scars.
More than a month into the action, almost 200 inmates are refusing meals, and lately have gained succor from Jay Leno, Susan Sarandon, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, Jesse Jackson and 60 other celebrities and civil libertarians and prisoner-rights attorneys who declared in a letter:
"We stand together against these shameful practices and consider them extensions of the same inhumanity practiced at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. In defense of the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we, the undersigned, call on Governor Jerry Brown to end this torture at Pelican Bay and all California prisons immediately."
What blinders they wear in their rarefied world. Ashker, 50, went to prison at age 19 for burglary, after many crimes committed as a juvenile. On the inside, he has killed one inmate, assaulted other prisoners and guards, has been caught with weapons and drugs, and tried to escape four times. He and other gang leaders fomenting the hunger strike want out of security housing because their isolation limits their ability to conduct gang business, prison officials say.
"They have no idea how dangerous this guy is," [Defense attorney Philip] Cozens said of Ashker's outside supporters.
On Thursday, Medina's Web-based persona took a nefarious turn: First he apparently posted a message on his page in which he confessed to killing his 26-year-old wife, Jennifer Alfonso. Moments later, a gruesome photo appeared on the page: a woman wearing black leotards slumped over on the floor with blood on her face and arm, her knees bent and her legs bent back behind her.
Several hours later, Facebook officials had taken down the page and Medina had turned himself in to police. In a police video released late Friday, Medina is shown walking into the police station Thursday at 11:31 a.m. with another man. Medina, wearing jeans and tank top, walks up to the counter, then seconds later sits in a chair to wait.
The political equivalent for scandal-nailed politicians seeking refuge is the "I am sick and need therapy" dodge. Tony Perry reports for the L.A. Times that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has completed his therapy earlier than expected. How wonderful. Except there never was a need for therapy in the first place. Being an overbearing, arrogant jerk who exploits his position of authority over women for sexual purposes is evil, not sick, and there is no "treatment."
The good news is that it doesn't seem to be working. Filner's political allies are tossing him overboard. The last two members of the City Council and Senator Barbara Boxer have joined the call for him to resign.
Will Filner be criminally prosecuted for his misdeeds? The DA is in an awkward position, as she ran against Filner for the mayor's slot in an early round of the process. If the DA recuses, it's up to the AG.
Remember the good old days when the Obama administration promised "smart diplomacy?" Hillary Clinton mocked the Bush administration for not cozying up sufficiently to Vladimir Putin's Russia, and presented the Russians with a "reset" button to demonstrate that from now on, things would be better. Right.
Now the administration is feuding with Putin over Edward Snowden. It is a bad sort of feud, because the Russians hold all the cards, in the person of Snowden. Whatever Snowden knows they can easily learn, and at this point there is nothing we can do about it.
I bring this up not to stick my tongue out at Mr. Obama (well, OK, I confess), but because it presents a serious criminal law issue. Russia is harboring a fugitive from grave charges -- specifically charges that he stole and published extremely sensitive national security secrets.
My purpose here is not to attempt to try Snowden in a media entry instead of a court.* My purpose is to wonder just what Obama plans to do to get him to court. A country that commands power and respect would have a chance of doing that, Russian intransigence notwithstanding. Instead, it seems like it will take us longer to get Snowden into court than it took to litigate the length of Maj. Hasan's beard. Could the reason that justice for Snowden will be so long in coming, if it comes at all, be related to the President's enthusiastic world apology tour?
Ain't nostalgia grand? The humbly bowed Presidential head seemed like such a good idea before we roused ourselves to the unpleasant if persistent reality that what advances America's interests in the world -- including its interests in justice -- is not the downcast "America-as-contrite-bully" stance so popular in the faculty lounge, but big-time power and no crippling hesitation to use it.
Against growing odds, Gov. Jerry Brown formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court late Friday to intervene once again in California's yearslong battle with federal judges over control of the state's prison system.
The Democratic governor filed his formal appeal asking the justices to overturn a lower court decision requiring the state to reduce its prison population by nearly 10,000 inmates by the end of the year to improve conditions.
By "formal appeal" he presumably means the jurisdictional statement. The notice of appeal was filed in the district court some time ago. The docket for this case is not yet online at the Supreme Court, so I can't check it there yet.
For the small subset of cases that can be appealed directly to the Supreme Court, the procedure is to file a "jurisdictional statement" rather than a certiorari petition. Since the Court has no choice but to take the case if they have jurisdiction, in theory, the purpose of this document is nominally just to convince them they have jurisdiction.
In reality, though, the appellant must convince the Supreme Court to accept full briefing and argument rather than affirm summarily. For this reason, the jurisdictional statement is more like a certiorari petition in practice that it would appear to be on the face of the rules.
Well fuhgeddaboudit. The U.S. Supreme Court's denial of the stay of the crowding-reduction order issued by the three-judge court (erroneously, IMHO), forces California to either make use of such prisons or unleash a new horde of even more dangerous criminals on the public.
Paige St. John reports in the L.A. Times:
Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is discussing deals to lease more than 4,600 private and publicly owned prison beds in California, inching the state toward compliance with federal court orders to reduce crowding in its own lockups.
Proposals include a 2,400-bed prison operated by Corrections Corp. of America in the Mojave Desert, 1,200 beds at two low-security prisons owned by GEO Group, and room for some 1,000 more inmates in jails in Alameda County and a city-owned prison in Kern County.
Driving on Medical Pot a DUI in AZ: Medical Marijuana users stopped by police in Arizona risk a DUI prosecution according to this story in The Arizona Republic by J.J. Hensley. Prosecutors say that any trace of pot in a driver's blood is enough for a DUI under Arizona law. The state adopted a medical marijuana law in 2010 but did not establish the blood level at which a driver would be considered impaired. The story notes that a 10-year study in Sweden concluded that "Scientists have found it virtually impossible to agree upon the concentration of a psychoactive substance in blood that leads to impairment in the vast majority of people." Other medical marijuana states have set levels for legal impairment but they appear arbitrary. Michigan's blood level, for example, is twice the limit in Colorado.
On June 13 this year, the Supreme Court held in Maryland v. King that states may provide by law for the DNA testing of persons arrested on probable cause for a serious offense.
Recently, 23-year-old Ryan Douglas Roberts of Sacramento was arrested on charges not yet publicly released. His DNA was obtained and tested, and it matched the evidence from the murder of Jessica. He has been rearrested for murder.
CBS13, Sacramento, has this story.
This is why these cases are important.
NY Police Warn of "Sliders": CBS News reports on an outbreak of thefts from vehicles that occur while the owner is pumping gas. New York police are calling these thieves "sliders" because they move in quickly to snatch items from a car right under the victim's nose. Surveillance cameras have caught thieves snatching a purse from a car in 19 seconds, without the owner noticing. "A vehicle is not a secure location for your property," said one official.
So this story from AFP suggests a fruitful new basis of expanded trade with Vietnam that should make our friends delirious.
We will probably have some FDA issues to clear out first. But then let's start placing orders.
Vietnam executed its first prisoner by lethal injection on Tuesday, state media said, after a two-year hiatus in carrying out capital punishments due to problems procuring the chemicals.
The communist country stopped using firing squads in July 2011 in favour of "more humane" lethal injections but was unable to import the necessary drugs due to a European Union export ban.
In May this year, Vietnam amended the law to allow locally-produced chemicals to be used, a move which was widely expected to bring about a resumption of executions.
On Tuesday the first death row prisoner, convicted murderer Nguyen Anh Tuan, was administered three injections "for anaesthesia, paralysing the nervous and muscle system, and stopping the heart", according to an online report in the Thanh Nien newspaper.
Mandatory minimum sentencing has existed throughout the country's history, at one time used to punish mostly treason and murder. But in the1980s, Congress saw mandatory minimums as a way to tackle a different kind of crime--drug offenses. As part of the "war on drugs", there was bi-partisan support for tough sentences, rather than rehabilitation. Now, today, the pendulum might be swinging in the other direction. With a prison population soaring and budgets tightening, lawmakers from both parties are supporting ways to reform these sentences. And Attorney General Eric Holder is weighing in. Diane and her guests discuss the debate over mandatory minimum sentencing.
former federal prosecutor and former special White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush
reporter covering security and law enforcement, The Wall Street Journal
professor at Georgetown Law School.
A gang leader who helped organize a massive hunger strike in California state prisons has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in federal indictments aiming to disrupt the Mexican Mafia prison gang and a Mexican drug cartel.* * *
[Arturo] Castellanos is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole and has been housed in the notorious Security Housing Unit since 1990.
But he still controls the street gang, the indictment contends. He issued written "reglas," or rules for gang members, from his prison cell in 2004, and decided which senior gang members would become gang leaders on the streets, the indictment alleges.* * *Jeffrey Beard, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, claimed in an interview with The Associated Press this week that the hunger strike is couched as a human rights protest but is really an attempt by gang leaders including Castellanos to gain more control.
This proceeding is a state habeas corpus petition filed after the usual state postconviction review and the federal habeas corpus have been completed. In substance, then, it is like a successive habeas petition. Missouri law apparently follows the pre-AEDPA federal successive habeas petition law of McCleskey v. Zant (and current federal procedural default law). The petitioner must satisfy a "gateway" test of either "cause and prejudice" or actual innocence before the merits of the petition will be considered.
Clemons may win the case on a fairly routine basis -- a nondisclosure claim under Brady v. Maryland with passage through the gateway via "cause and prejudice." The special master recommended in his favor on that claim. (Page 102.)
The case is nationally notorious, though, because of Clemons's claim he is actually innocent. The master rejects this claim. A few excerpts follow the jump.
DOJ Files Charges in Benghazi Attack: Members of Congress are urging President Obama to arrest Benghazi suspects in order to hopefully prevent further attacks and protect American citizens. Fox News reports that the Obama administration is staying relatively quiet about the situation, and only said that their investigation is "ongoing." The September 11, 2012 attack (involving armed assaults on the U.S. Consulate and a nearby CIA annex) left four Americans dead and several others injured.
Ft. Hood Murder Trial Halted Amid Death Penalty Discussion: The military court-martial case for accused Ft. Hood mass murderer Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan was recessed earlier today after backup defense attorneys said Hassan was "encouraging" the death penalty. Elizabeth Chuck of NBC News reports that backup attorneys were set in place to ensure the case is handled properly after Hassan elected to represent himself. The trial was halted after a motion was made by the defense team seeking to reduce their role in the case after the courtroom behavior of Hassan led them to believe he is trying to get a death sentence.
Last year, our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman received no punishment whatsoever. That's in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of 'Stand Your Ground' law which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense.That is simply not true. As we have noted on this blog earlier, the "stand your ground" portion of Florida's self-defense law was rendered irrelevant by the testimony of the prosecution's witness that Martin had Zimmerman pinned on the ground. The verdict was based on the portion of Florida's self-defense law that deadly force is justifiable in response to a threat of great bodily harm, which is substantially the same as the law throughout the country.
[Editor's update: The story linked above has been updated and now indicates the judge denied the request. -- KS]
What's Really Behind the CA Prison Hunger Strike: The inmates leading the California prison hunger strike will have you believe that their living conditions and "solitary confinement" is a violation of their rights, but prison officials are telling a much different story. In an LA Times OpEd, Jeffrey Beard, head of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, reports that the prison gang leaders running the strike are doing so in an attempt to be put back into the general prison population to further their violent gang agenda. Inmates living in segregated housing units have daily access to television and radio, weekly access to law libraries, and are allowed visitors every weekend.
Amber Alert Issued for Two California Children: An Amber Alert has been issued for two California children taken by a man who police believe murdered their mother. Fox News reports that authorities were alerted to a house fire and found the bodies of the children's mother and another child in a detached garage on the man's property. The suspect, James DiMaggio, was in a "close platonic relationship" with the children's mother and may be traveling to Canada or Texas.
Does this portend any change in the WaPo's editorial policies regarding crime issues? The paper has generally leaned toward the defense, but it hasn't been nearly as bad as the NYT, noted earlier today.
I went to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission website to see what causes and candidates Bezos has contributed to. Yes on same-sex marriage. Yes on charter schools. No on a state income tax. He contributed to Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire for governor, both Democrats.
Not too much enlightenment there for our issues.
The New York Times editorial page, however, repeatedly does something quite different. In the process of expressing its monotonically Politically Correct opinions, the NYT regularly misleads its readers regarding the facts of the issue in question. Yesterday's editorial on the Ferguson execution, noted earlier in Bill's post and mine, is an exemplar of how not to write an editorial.
For the actual facts and history of the case, as distinguished from NYT fiction, see the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
NYT: "Once again, a state is attempting to put to death a man who is clearly ineligible for execution under the Constitution."
The ineligibility in question here is mental competency to be executed. Care to guess how many people have determined that Ferguson is competent, contrary to what the NYT thinks is "clear"?
Police Search for Motive After Deadly Hit-and-Run Attack: A Los Angeles man is being held in lieu of $1 million bail after he walked into the police station and admitted to being involved in a hit-and-run attack that left one woman dead and 11 others injured. Fox News reports that 38-year-old Nathan Campbell surveyed the Venice Beach boardwalk area prior to getting into his vehicle and intentionally driving around security barriers and into a crowd of hundreds of tourists. Police have yet to determine a motive, but have revealed that they don't believe it was an act of terrorism.
Inmate Murderer Leading California Prison Hunger Strike: A California prison hunger strike that started on July 8 with 33,000 inmates involved has dwindled down to 499 inmates as of Thursday. SF Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders notes that the hunger strike, which is aimed at protesting the use of "solitary confinement" in California prisons, is being led by Todd Ashker, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, convicted of stabbing another inmate to death in 1987. The California Department of Corrections stands by their policy of isolating roughly 3% of the prison population in order to keep the rest of the inmate population safe from potentially violent gang activity.
The high court's action would be incomprehensible if the NYT editorial's description of the case were accurate. However, it is a work of fiction. See also Bill's post earlier today.
Both Mr. Ferguson's and Mr. Hill's crimes were unquestionably horrific; the crimes of death-row inmates almost always are. But to focus on the crime obscures the central moral dilemma of capital punishment. As Sister Helen Prejean, the death-penalty opponent, has put it, the question is not whether someone deserves to die but whether we deserve to kill him.
Texas Running Out of Execution Drug: The most active death penalty state in the country is running out of its lethal injection drug, and the limited supply they do have expires next month. Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press reports that Texas has executed 11 inmates so far this year, and has plans to execute seven more in a few months. Texas switched to a one-drug sedative last year after one of the drugs in the popular three-drug execution method became difficult to acquire.
Rap Lyrics Lead to Arrest in 2007 Double Murder: Police in Virginia were able to crack a cold case after tips came in that the man responsible for a double homicide in May of 2007 included details of the crime in his rap lyrics. Andrew Rafferty of NBC News reports that Antwain Steward was arrested after several witnesses came to police about the song and offered clues about the killings being gang related. Steward is being held on two counts of felony murder, unlawfully discharging a firearm, and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Grandmother Admits to Killing and Dismembering her Granddaughter: The case of a 14-year-old Michigan girl who disappeared 15 years ago has finally been solved after her grandmother confessed to her murder. Gary Ridley of M Live News reports that 73-year-old Lois Janish has been charged with murder after admitting to detectives that she hit her granddaughter over the head with a hammer and then scattered her remains after dismembering her body. Janish has named her boyfriend, who has since died from alcoholism complications, as an accomplice to the crime.
Nevada Supreme Court won't Consider Death Penalty Challenge: The Nevada Supreme Court has decided not to hear an inmate's challenge asserting that the death penalty amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. The Associated Press reports that Antoine Williams was attempting to question the legality of untrained prison officials being allowed to administer the three-drugs used during lethal injections. Williams was sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder and robbery of an elderly Las Vegas couple.
Young Boy Beaten to Death for Wetting his Pants: An Alabama couple has been arrested and charged with capital murder after they allegedly murdered a five-year-old boy for wetting his pants. Fox News reports that the boy's mother and her boyfriend beat the young boy until he was unconscious last Friday, and he later died that evening at the hospital. The mother's boyfriend has also been accused of abusing his 7-year-old daughter and was already in jail when he was served with a warrant for the boy's death.
Mr. Castro apologized and told the court he's addicted to pornography, but he claimed that most of the sex with the women was consensual. "These people are trying to paint me as a monster," he said. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."