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News Scan

Race-Baiting Hypocrisy: Last week, Illinois Senator Dick Durban criticized Republicans for forcing Loretta Lynch, President Obama's African-American nominee to replace Eric Holder, to "sit in the back of the bus" until a decision is reached on a heated human trafficking bill.  Investors Business Daily reports that Republicans made a counter-argument against Sen. Durban's accusations, because he once opposed and filibustered the GOP nominations of black and Latino appeals court judges for not being the "right kind" of minority candidate.  Republicans insist that their opposition to Loretta Lynch has nothing to do with her race, and everything to do with her policies.

Three Bay Area Police Shootings in Eight Hours: Three police-involved shootings occurred in the Bay Area in an eight hour period over the weekend, resulting in fatalities of the suspects in two of the three incidents.  Henry K. Lee of SF Gate reports that the first incident involved a suspect pointing and firing a gun at a convenience store employee, the second involved an agitated man wielding a hunting knife and replica gun, and the third suspect led officers on a high speed chase before exchanging gunfire with them.  The suspect in the third incident, Daniel Tolosa, is being hospitalized for a gunshot wound, but is expected to survive.  The other two suspects were fatally wounded by police officers.  Officers in all three incidents were unharmed.

Renewed Attention for Reformed Legislation of ABC: Legislation to remove the Alcohol Beverage Control's law enforcement powers, a bill previously proposed by Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, is coming under review again in the wake of the arrest of UVA college student Martese Johnson last Wednesday, which sparked the excessive force debate.  Hannah Hall and Juliana Radovanovich of the Cavalier Daily report that Deeds suggests that such law enforcement powers should be the sole responsibility of the state police, and would prevent questionable actions such as those displayed by ABC recently.  Both the investigation into ABC's actions during Johnson's arrest last Wednesday, as well as the passage of any legislation to remove their powers, will take considerable time.

Neighborhood Opposes Sex Offenders in Group Home: Residents of a Danby, New York neighborhood are outraged and "blindsided" after learning that a group home housing level 3 sex offenders is opening soon in their vicinity.  Kelsey O'Connor of the Ithaca Journal reports that Unity House, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and services to the mentally ill, chemically dependent, and physically disabled, were not required to notify the community of the home due to its small size.  Town officials were aware of Unity House moving into the neighborhood, but were also not informed of the two level 3 sex offenders that would be residing there.  Fearful residents have begun signing an online petition to restrict where these individuals can live.

Mass High Court Grants Counsel In Juvenile Parole Hearings: In a 5-2 decision, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that inmates serving life sentences for murders they committed as juveniles are entitled to counsel and expert witnesses at their parole hearings, because it is a constitutional right.  Bob Salsberg of the AP for the Daily Journal reports that this ruling includes the requirement of the state to pay for a lawyer and any expert witnesses if the inmate is unable to afford private counsel. 

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