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News Scan

Convicted Killer Awarded Nearly $500,000: An Illinois man convicted of murdering seven people and sentenced to life in prison has been awarded nearly $500,000 after filing a lawsuit in which he alleged that he was punched in the face by a jail guard.  Michael Tarm of the Associated Press reports that 41-year-old James Degorski was sentenced to life in prison after authorities say he and an accomplice shot and stabbed two restaurant owners and five employees during a robbery attempt at a Chicago restaurant in 1993.  Degroski filed a civil lawsuit with the court claiming that a jail guard punched him the face after his arrest, leaving him with a broken cheekbone and eye socket.  Prison officials may potentially seize the money awarded to Degroski in order to cover his incarceration costs.  

FL High Court to Hear Case Involving Juvenile Life Sentences: A Florida woman convicted of murder when she was 15-years-old and sentenced to life in prison is asking the Florida Supreme Court to be re-sentenced under the US Supreme Court's 2012 ruling in Miller v. Alabama which prohibits mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles.  Kareem Copeland of the South Florida Times reports that attorneys for Rebecca Falcon are asking that Miller be applied retroactively to juveniles sentenced prior to the ruling. A lower court has rejected that request.  Legislation providing for sentencing review for juveniles convicted of serious crimes is currently moving through the Florida legislature. 

Felon That Inspired Three Strikes Law Arrested Again: The California man who inspired adoption of the state's Three Strikes and You're Out law, law was arrested for beating his wife on February 26, three months after being released from prison.  The Associated Press reports that 49-year-old Douglass Walker was convicted of being an accessory to murder in the 1992 killing of 18 year-old Kimber Reynolds, but was released after serving only half of his nine-year prison sentence.  He continued to commit crimes and has been in and out of prison ever since.  He was released from prison last November and placed on light supervision as a low-level offender under the state's Realignment law. 

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