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News Scan

Realignment Causing More Violence in California Jails: The rate of violent attacks against Ventura County jail guards has doubled since 2012, and authorities believe Realignment is to blame.  Cindy Von Quednow of the Ventura County Star reports that county jail guards have been forced to deal with more hardened and serious offenders that, prior to Realignment, would have been housed in state prisons- a situation that resulted in 16 deputies being attacked last year. Guards have also noticed an increase in inmates assaulting each other in order to be moved to state prison, where there are more amenities and better living conditions.

Federal Prosecutors Oppose Holder's Sentence Reductions: Attorney General Eric Holder's Smarter Sentencing Act, which would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for most drug crimes, has is created a rift between the Attorney General and federal prosecutors.  Claudia Cowan of Fox News reports  that Holder believes eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes would save tax payers billions of dollars while keeping citizens safe, but federal prosecutors are concerned that reducing sentences would result in an increase in drug crime.  The bill has already passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will now move to the Senate floor.

Convicted Killer Wants New Parole Rights: A Massachusetts man convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison as a teenager in 1981 is expected to make several demands today, including a request that would give convicted felons the chance to cross-examine anyone who testifies against their release at parole hearings.  Laurel J. Sweet of the Boston Herald reports that Gregory Diatchenko won an appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court allowing juveniles convicted of murder to be considered for parole after serving as little as 15 years behind bars.  In addition to asking for the chance to cross-examine witnesses, Diatchenko is also asking the judge to allow for appointed counsel and defense experts at parole hearings.

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