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Parole Board to Set Minimums for Life Inmates:   An appeal by a California inmate convicted of murder has resulted in a settlement that may result in earlier releases for parole-eligible inmates.  The Associated Press reports that 46-year-old  inmate, Roy Butler, argued  on appeal that his request for parole had been unjustifiably denied for the past 10 years.  Under the settlement, the state's parole board will be required to establish a minimum time that an inmate has to serve in prison before he/she is eligible for release.  For inmates kept behind bars longer than their established minimum sentence, the parole board will be required to explain why they are a danger to the public and should remain incarcerated. 

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Sentence in Terror Case: A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of an Iraqi man sentenced to life for conspiring to send money and weapons to al-Qaida in 2010 and 2011.  The Associated Press reports that 26-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammad challenged his sentence based on the claim of government misconduct after he discovered he had been working alongside an informant.  The presiding judge in the case ruled against Hammad, citing that the government presented Hammad with the opportunity to commit a crime and he elected to participate. 

Mississippi set to end Conjugal Visits: Beginning February 1, 2014, inmates in the Mississippi Department of Corrections will no longer be allowed to have conjugal visits.  George Brown of WREG Memphis reports that the Department of Corrections decided to put an end to the visits due to "budgetary reasons and the number of babies born as a possible result."  Mississippi was one of only six states allowing conjugal visits, and of the more than 22,000 inmates incarcerated, only 155 were eligible and participated in conjugal visits over the last fiscal year. 

Prosecution to Seek Death Penalty in Grandparents' Murder: 21-year-old Kyle Drattlo and two of his friends could be sentenced to death if found guilty in the murders of Drattlo's grandparents earlier this year.  Patrick McNamara of the Arizona Daily Star reports that the trio has been charged with first-degree murder for their role in stabbing the elderly couple and stealing their car.  In addition to the first-degree murder charges, Drattlo and his two accomplices have also been charged with burglary and armed robbery.


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