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Chicago: Murders Increase as Detectives Decrease:  The city with up to 90 shootings a week and a murder rate on track to hit the highest level in nineteen years is losing detectives.  Since 2008, the number of detectives in the Chicago Police Department has dropped from 1,252 to 922 according to this story by Flona Ortiz and Justice Madden of Reuters.  The clearance rate seems to have suffered, with just 46% of last years 480 murders solved, while other large cities solve an average of 68%.  Contributing to the difficulty in clearing murder cases is the fact that 61% of homicides are gang related and witnesses are afraid to get involved for fear of retaliation.   This story from CBS Chicago indicates what police are dealing with.  Appearing in court on a charge of attempted murder of a police officer, Kentrell Pledger, a 29 year-old gang member, told the judge "I should have smoked his ass.  He shot at me first, so get your story straight, dog."  Then he told the African American judge, "You ain't black, you're white, bitch."    Also, ABC7 in Chicago has this video report of the defendant's Facebook posting just an hour before.

Divided Eleventh Circuit Rejects Murderer's Appeal:  In a 6-5 decision that some claim will reduce federal court review of death penalty cases, the Eleventh Circuit denied the claim of a man convicted of the shotgun murder of a prison guard who offered him a ride.  The Court's holding deferred to the summary denial of murderer's appeal by the Georgia Supreme Court.  Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the dissenters worry that precedent set by the court will deprive death-row inmates chance to get relief with filing appeals-writs of habeas corpus- in federal court that challenge their convcitions and sentences.  But the decision in Wilson v. Georgia does not break new ground.  On more than one occasion, the Supreme Court  has affirmed that a State Supreme Court's summary denial of a death penalty appeal is entitled to deference by the federal courts.

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