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Convicted Child Predator Flees After Cutting GPS Monitor: A convicted child rapist serving his parole sentence at a Colorado group home has fled after authorities believe he cut off his GPS ankle monitoring device.  Alan Duke of CNN reports that 51-year-old Eric Hartwell was ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised parole after being convicted of raping a child in 1991 and attempted indecent liberties in 1996.  This is the second time Hartwell has fled after being ordered to wear a GPS device, he cut off his leg device and fled to Texas in 2009 only a week after being placed in a court-ordered halfway house.

New System Allows Judges to Weigh Inmate Risk Prior to Release: Judges in Santa Cruz County, California will soon be able to use a new 'risk tool' in order to have a better understanding of whether or not a defendant is likely to commit a violent act and should then be required to stay in jail prior to their case going to court.  Stephen Baxter of the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that the criteria listed in the risk tool will give the judge a better sense of the person's chances of reoffending and will be used when deciding if the individual should be held with or without bail.  The program is already being used in Kentucky, and will be piloted in counties in Arizona, California, North Carolina and Colorado. 

Convicted Murderer's Sentence Reduced to Life Without Parole: 51-year-old William Weaver, who was convicted of murder in 1987 and sentenced to death, has been re-sentenced and ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole after a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned his original sentence.  Tim O'Neil of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Weaver was convicted of shooting a man six times in the head who authorities believe may have been a potential witness in an upcoming narcotics case.  Weaver's original sentence was over turned by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds after the prosecuting attorney urged jurors to use their sentencing decision as part of society's war on drugs.  The St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office said they accepted the reduction "because we were not in a position to retry everything again."

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This may very we'll be the same risk tool that found the following facts to constitute a "low risk of re-offense" (I practice in a neighboring county to Santa Cruz).

Defendant, an active gang member, was on probation for being a felon in possession of a gun. He was a felon because he previously was convicted of possession of an illegal concealed knife. He had not one, but two, violations of his probation, including drug use. He had been released from his latest probation violation and within 36 hours was arrested in his own gang territory with a loaded gun in his waistband at a park claimed by his gang. To top it off, he had been visited by his PO 24 hours before because he was considered a high risk offender. These risk tools are garbage.

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