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News Scan

Obama Administration to Change Drug Sentencing Laws: The Justice Department is set to announce a policy change that will eliminate mandatory minimum prison sentencing laws for some drug offenders.  Fox News reports that the new policy will help to reduce prison overcrowding, and will apply to drug offenders with no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, and no history of violence.  Federal prisons are currently operating at almost 40 percent above capacity, with nearly half of the inmates serving a sentence for drug-related crimes.

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.

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