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News Scan

Gov. Brown Wants Shorter Sentences:  Paige St. John of the Los Angeles Times reports that California Governor Jerry Brown's proposed budget includes increasing "good time" credits for second strikers from the maximum of 20%, mandated by the voters through the "Three Strikes" initiative, to 30%.  Second strikers are criminals who have been convicted of two violent or serious crimes.  Brown's proposal would limit the sentence reduction to inmates whose most recent conviction was not for a violent crime, which includes crimes such as arson, residential burglary, attempted murder, and child molesting among others.  Brown also wants to require California judges to use split sentencing for convicted car thieves, drug dealers and wife beaters who are no longer eligible for state prison under Realignment.  The mandate would prevent judges from making habitual felons spend their full sentence in county jail, requiring instead that they be released to community rehabilitation programs. 

Death Sentence Upheld for Cop Killer:  The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence Jerry Lard who murdered a police officer during a 2011 traffic stop.  Jill Bleed of the Associated Press reports that the court denied Lard's request for a new trial because, among other things, Lard claims it was unfair for the prosecutor to show dash-cam footage of the murder.  The footage shows Lard sitting in the back seat of the stopped car and when the door was opened he shoots officer Jonathan Schmidt in the face, then exits the car and continues to shoot the officer as he pleads for his life. 

DNA Solves Arizona Cold Case:  An Arizona prison inmate serving time for a drug offense has been indicted in Maricopa County for first degree murder based upon a match of his DNA with evidence found at the scene.  The Associated Press reports that Jose Manuel Muros Nevares is facing charges for beating 75-year-old Patricia Staggs to death at her home during a 2006 burglary.  If convicted of felony-murder Nevares could be sentenced to death.

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