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News Scan

Study: Plea Bargains May Increase Violent Crime: A study conducted by the University of California, Davis indicates that plea bargaining down felonies to misdemeanors is likely to increase violent crimes.  Sacramento Today reports that the study found nearly 25% of offenders who plead down a felony and subsequently purchased a gun were charged with a new firearm-related or violent crime within three years.  The law prohibits felons from purchasing guns but not for those convicted of misdemeanors.

Georgia Commutes Death Sentence for Convicted Killer: A Georgia man convicted of murder and sentenced to death more than 20 years ago was granted clemency and had his death sentence commuted just a day before he was scheduled to be executed.  David Beasley of Reuters reports that 68-year-old Tommy Lee Waldrip, who would have been the oldest person executed in Georgia since the death penalty was reinstated, lost an appeal earlier this week, but was ultimately granted clemency and given a life sentence instead.  This was the fifth death sentence commuted by the state's parole board since 2002.

Study: More Pot Related Fatal Accidents in Colorado: A study conducted by the University of Colorado has shown that more drivers involved in fatal car crashes are testing positive for marijuana.  John Ingold of the Denver Post reports that Colorado has a higher percentage of drivers testing positive for pot than other states.  When certain variables are controlled, however, the data is unable to specifically point to whether or not the drivers were impaired at the time of the crash or were at fault.  Another study also showed that perceptions of marijuana's risks have decreased across all age groups since the drug was legalized last year.  

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