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KS High Court Upholds Capital Murder Conviction:  In a unanimous decision announced last Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man found guilty of the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl.  Justin Wingerter of the Topeka Capital Journal reports that on March 20, 2012, Billy Davis Jr. kidnapped the child from a sleepover at a friend's house, took her to the basement of his house, and then brutally raped, beat, and choked her to death.  Police later found the little girl's body in the basement stuffed in a dryer.  After his arrest, Davis admitted kidnapping and raping the girl but said he never intended to kill her.  He also admitted to burglarizing several apartments that night.  After Davis was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to LWOP, he appealed, arguing that he was too drunk and high on cocaine to have premeditated the murder.  The court rejected that claim.  

Typical Weekday in ChiTown--8 Shootings:  Four teenage boys were shot between 9:20 p.m. Wednesday night and 1:15 a.m. Thursday morning in Chicago, leaving one dead.  The Chicago Tribune reports that there were six other shootings Wednesday in the city's urban neighborhoods, but none of the victims have died so far.  The fatality was a 16-year-old boy shot in the head around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday on the city's South Side.
 

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WA Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence:  In an 8-1 decision announced Friday, the Washington Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Cecil Davis for the 1997 murder of Yoshiko Couch.  The Tacoma Weekly reports that after he was convicted and sentenced for rape, robbery, and murder of the 65-year-old woman, his death sentence was set aside for a trial error in 2004, and reinstated after a new sentencing trial in 2007.  Friday's decision rejected Davis's claim that the Washington's death penalty is unconstitutional because it does not require a jury to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a defendant facing the death penalty does not have an intellectual disability. 

Illegal Meth Traffickers Arrested:  Two illegal immigrants were arrested in an Ohio drug bust last week, which recovered cash and enough methamphetamine for 3,600 doses.  NBC4 Columbus reports that 33-year-old Francisco Torres-Davilla [sic] and 27-year-old Ramon Sanchez-Reyes admitted to sheriff's deputies that they were in the U.S. illegally to sell drugs.  Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones told reporters "that wall can't go up fast enough."  In March, the Washington Post reported that there were so many fatal drug overdoses in Ohio that one county coroner was using a cold-storage trailer as a temporary morgue.  According to the Ohio Department of Health, the number of opioid-related deaths skyrocketed from 296 in 2003 to 2,590 in 2015 -- a 775% jump over a 13-year period.

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The Worst Kind of Racism:  A piece by Heather MacDonald in yesterday's City Journal calls out the "Black Lives Matter" movement and the mainstream media for the racist hypocrites that they are.  Citing the example of a black habitual felon who beat another black man to death with a liquor bottle last November, which did not make the news even though the murder was caught on video, she correctly notes that "if a white man had beaten a black man to death it would have been international news.. But the routine taking of black lives by other blacks generates no interest in the mainstream media."  Last year 4,300 mostly black people were shot in Chicago.  The overwhelming majority of the shooters were black habitual criminals.  Apparently these black lives don't matter.

Three Teens Face Capital Murder Charges:  Two 17-year-old males and a third, whose age was not reported, will be arraigned Monday for the murder of a 6-year-old boy in Mississippi.  Fox News reports that the three males were caught on security cameras stealing a woman's car from a supermarket parking lot on Thursday.  The woman's 6-year-old son was in the car, which had been left running and unlocked while she was in the store.  Hours later the car was found abandoned with the little boy's body in the back seat.  He apparently died from a gunshot wound to the head.  Witnesses and the video helped police identify the suspects.  In Mississippi a-17-year old charged with capital murder is tried as an adult.  Although the crime is designated "capital" under state law, U.S. Supreme Court precedent precludes the death penalty for murderers under 18 at the time of the crime.
    

Morning News Notes

Several news items on crime and more-or-less related issues in the WSJ this morning:

Felicia Schwartz reports, "The Trump administration accused the Syrian government of operating a crematorium to cover up what U.S. officials called 'mass murders' at the notorious Saydnaya prison outside Damascus."

Paul Vigna reports that the WannaCry ransomware extortionists got $66,000 in Bitcoin, but actually cashing it in may expose them. 

Question:  How would we punish the extortionists if we catch them?  This is, after all, a "nonviolent" offense despite the fact that it caused many very sick people in Britain to miss medical treatments.  We are constantly assured by The People Who Are Soooooo Much Smarter Than The Rest Of Us that "nonviolent offenders" are per se harmless and of low culpability, so we should let them off with little more than a finger wag.  That is the enlightened and "smart" thing to do, the all-wise and all-good tell us.

Carol Lee and Shane Harris reports on the controversy over President Trump sharing intelligence information with the Russians during a White House meeting last week.

Brett Kendall reports on the oral argument in the Ninth Circuit on the travel ban case.

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9th Circuit Reviews Travel Ban Ruling:  A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit will hear the government's appeal of a ruling by a district judge in Hawaii who held that the government's temporary halt on immigrants from seven primarily Muslim countries was intended to discriminate against adherents of that religion.  Lee Ross of FoxNews reports that a panel in Seattle will hear argument today supporting the judge's finding that the President's statements during the campaign, rather than the actual language of the executive order, were sufficient to determine that the order is unconstitutional. Update:  Video of the oral argument is available here.

Sex Offender Arrested for Rape of 11-Year-Old:  A habitual sex offender has been arrested for rape of an 11-year-old girl, after eluding Minneapolis police for three weeks.  Nick Ferraro of the Pioneer Press reports that Christopher Blair, 35, was arrested Sunday at a motel in South Minneapolis.  He has been charged with repeatedly raping the girl last September in St. Paul.  In February, a doctor reported that the girl was pregnant.  One of the rapes was in what the victim described as a "parole house."   Blair was released from prison in April 2015 and has a history of attempts to kidnap women while armed.

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CA Parole Board to Release Cop Killer:  State corrections officials have announced that a man convicted of conspiring in the 1985 murder of a Los Angeles police detective will be released from prison in a few days.  James Queally and Matt Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times report that Voltaire Williams has been serving a 25-to-life sentence for his part in a plot to assassinate Detective Thomas Williams in front of his six-year-old son in order to keep the detective from testifying at a robbery trial.  The decision by the state Parole Board to release Voltaire Williams was made after Governor Jerry Brown requested they reconsider an October, 2016 grant of parole.  According to the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys this reinforces the fact that the Parole Board is determined to release life sentenced inmates regardless of their dangerousness to society.

Sanctuary City Bill on TX Governor's Desk:  Texas Senate Bill 4 reached Governor Greg Abbott's desk Thursday after clearing the state senate 20-11.  Fox News reports that the bill would impose stiff fines and even jail time to state officials, including mayors and police chiefs who refuse to follow federal immigration laws.  The Governor has promised to sign the bill which has been criticized by several big city police chiefs who claim it will keep illegals from cooperating with the police for fear of deportation.  But the Lt. Governor said, "There is no excuse for endangering our communities by allowing criminal aliens who have committed a crime to go free.  SB4 will ensure that no liberal local official can flaunt the law."

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Crackdown on Drug Cartels Underway:  The recent arrests of 23 cartel operatives along the New Mexico and Texas border with Mexico is an indication of things to come regarding border enforcement.  Joseph J. Kolb of Fox News reports that members of the Sinaloa Cartel, once headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, were caught with 64 kilos of meth, 30 kilos of heroin, 20 kilos of pot, and 17 kilos of coke, along with firearms, vehicles, and over $100,000 in cash.  At a press conference announcing the bust, Doña Ana County Sheriff Enrique Vigil said to cartel leaders, "We're going to make sure that you're always looking over your shoulder.  We're going to be knocking on your doors soon--it's just a matter of time."  Vigil reflects the new attitude of border state law enforcement and ICE officers who now believe that the new administration has their back.

Celebrating the LA Riots:  Twenty-five years ago, after a trial jury acquitted four officers of using excessive force on Rodney King, angry blacks set fire to several blocks of Los Angeles, looting and burning businesses and attacking non-blacks.  The Rodney King riots resulted in 50 deaths and destroyed $1 billion in property.  Heather MacDonald has this piece in the City Journal reviewing how academia, the media, and some of the former rioters are marking the anniversary.  One thing we did not know is that UCLA has a Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion making over $350,000 a year.

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Next AR Execution Set for Tonight:  The next Arkansas murderer facing execution this month is scheduled to received lethal injection this evening.  Mark Berman of the Washington Post reports that Kenneth Williams, 38, has filed petitions claiming he is mentally retarded and thereby ineligible for execution, and that one of the executions performed earlier this week was "botched."  The claim of a botched execution was based upon the defense attorneys assertion that when rapist/murderer Jack Jones received his injections Monday night, his lips were moving and he was "gulping for air."  Witnesses to the execution confirmed that Jones lips moved "very briefly" but there was no gulping.  Williams was serving a life sentence for an earlier murder, when in 1999 he escaped in a garbage truck.  He got off the truck in the nearby town of Grady and came upon Cecil Boren, who was working on his car.  Williams killed Boren, dragged his body into a bayou, and stole his car.  He was arrested after leading police on a high speed chase which killed a truck driver.   

ICE Arrests 76 Alien Criminals:  In a sweep conducted last week the Federal Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reports that 76 criminal aliens were arrested in Florida and Puerto Rico.  Of those arrested during the enforcement action,  57 had criminal records that included felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as lewd & lascivious behavior, sexual battery, child sex crimes, sex offenses, aggravated assault with deadly weapon, weapons charges and drug violations. Additionally, 19 had less serious or violent violations to include; larceny, petty theft, trespass, driving under the influence, fraud, driving with no driver's license.  13 of the offenders had been previously deported.  Among them was a Bahamian citizen in Miami.  The subject has convictions from 1995 for sexual assault, burglary, robbery, kidnapping and was registered as a sex offender. The subject is currently pending removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

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Mob Swarms Rapid Transit Train:  A mob of roughly 60 juveniles swarmed Oakland Colliseum Station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), jumped the fare gates, and took over at least one train car, robbing and beating passengers.  Demian Bulwa and Michael Cabantuan of the SF Chronicle report that the incident occurred at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, as passengers were boarding the Dublin-bound train.  As members of the mob held the doors open other streamed inside, attacking and robbing passengers of purses, cell phones, and other valuables.  A BART spokesperson said that passengers being robbed by small groups at stations are not uncommon, but that this was the first time a large mob had swarmed a train. 

Illegal Sought For Oregon Sexual Assault:  A Mexican national who had been deported is the prime suspect for the February 26 sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl.  Fox News reports that police are looking for Santiago Martinez-Flores who re-entered the U.S. following his 2001 deportation after serving two years in prison for assault.  The victim awoke in her parents Portland apartment as the man she identified as Martinez-Flores was assaulting her.  She managed to break free and run to her parents' room, but Martinez-Flores had fled before they returned.  In addition to the victim's description, physical evidence linking Martinez-Flores to the crime was found at the scene.  

More Bureaucratic Delay of CA Death Penalty:  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has won approval from a state regulatory agency to further delay the implementation of the single-drug execution protocol it announced last November.   Don Thompson of the Associated Press reports that corrections officials asked for another four months to develop lethal injection regulations after some of them were rejected by the the regulatory agency five months ago.  This is kind of like one hog asking another hog if he'd like some more slop. The announced protocol is similar to those which have been used for several years in other death penalty states, including Texas.  While the California public voted twice last November to retain and speed enforcement of the death penalty, when the Governor, Attorney General, and Legislature oppose the law, they use the bureaucracy to prevent its enforcement.   

 

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Shooting Suspect Yells "Ali Akbar":  A man arrested for the murders of three men in Fresno yesterday is also the prime suspect for the murder of a motel security guard last week.  Jim Guy of the Sacramento Bee reports that Kori Ali Muhammad was arrested uninjured after killing three men near downtown Fresno.  He faces four counts of murder, including for the April 13 killing at Motel 6.  The Fresno Chief of Police told reporters that the four men he targeted were white, and although Muhammad tweeted, "Allahu Akbar" (which translates to "Allah is greatest") prior to his arrest, he was not prepared to define the shootings as terrorist acts.

The Other Case SCOTUS is Hearing Today:  While the national media has focused on the Supreme Court's review of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer reported here by CNN, another case before the Court, Weaver v. Massachusetts, is also worthy of mention.  As reported here by the Cornell's Legal Information Institute, the case raises the question of presumed prejudice for a structural error which arguably had zero impact on the defendant's trial or sentencing.  The answer to this question is fairly important.  The CJLF brief in the case is here, our press release is hereUpdate:  Transcript of the argument is hereUpdate 2:  Rory Little has this analysis at SCOTUSblog.

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More MS-13 Victims in New Jersey:  Police suspect that the butchered bodies of four young men found last Thursday in a New Jersey RV park were more victims of the brutal MS-13 gang.   The New York Daily News reports that the victims ranging in age from 16 to 20 were killed with a sharp edged instrument.  Because of the brutality of the killings, the gang, which uses machetes and baseball bats to kill its victims, is the prime suspect.  Gang members are already in custody for the recent murders of several other New Jersey teens including two girls aged 15 and 16.  MS-13 is a Salvadorian street gang known for its brutality, which was formed in Los Angeles and has spread throughout the country.  Also, Joseph De Avila has this story in the WSJ.

Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Executions:  A Federal District Judge issued a preliminary injunction Saturday to block the executions of two Arkansas murderers scheduled to be carried out Monday.   Alan Blinder of the New York Times reports that Judge Kristine Baker ruled that the drug midazolam, an anesthetic used to render the murderer unconscious, may not guarantee a painless execution.  The drug is one of the world's most popular sedatives, and has been used by at least six states for executions. The state had scheduled executions for seven murderers in April.  The Arkansas Attorney General has appealed the judge's ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Eight Teens Shot at Bay Area Party:  A car pulled up to a house in Vallejo, CA early Sunday morning and opened fire on a group of roughly 50 teenagers, injuring eight.  Michael Bodley of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that a party at the house was breaking up when the brown sedan stopped and two shooters began firing randomly into the crowd.  At least two of the eight victims suffered critical injuries.  The youngest victim was 13-years old.  Police are still searching for the suspects.    

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Inmates Build Computers, Hack Prison Network:  Inmates an Ohio prison were caught with two hidden computers they had built and used to hack into the state corrections department network.  Gisela Crespo of CNN reports that lax security at the Marion County prison allowed inmates to use parts from electronic equipment disassembled as part of a recycling program to build the computers and hide them behind ceiling panels.  The computers were connected to the state corrections network, giving inmates  access to credit cards, identity credentials,  tax forms and recipes for homemade drugs.   Inmates were also able to issue passes and gain access to restricted areas within the prison.  The Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued a statement assuring the public that they were taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

Suspect in Border Agent's Murder Arrested:  A drug cartel member, suspected of killing a U.S. Border Patrol agent with a gun made available by the Obama administration's Fast and Furious program was arrested in Mexico Wednesday.  William Lajeunesse and Laura Prabucki of Fox News report that Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes was captured by Mexican and U.S. agents at ranch on the Chihuahua/Sinaloa border.  Under Fast and Furious, gang members and other criminals were allowed to buy guns at Phoenix-area gun stores which the government intended to track back to Mexico.  The government was unable to track over 60% of the weapons, two of which were found at the scene of the 2010 murder of agent Brian Terry.  After refusing to turn over information on the botched program to a congressional investigation, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress.     

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Texas Deputy Killed in Shooting: A Texas state deputy lost his life Monday morning after being shot outside of a courthouse. Fox News reports that Assistant Chief Deputy Constable Clint Greenwood, a 30-year veteran of the police force, was shot and killed outside of a Baytown courthouse Monday morning. The officer was administered aid at the scene and lifeflighted to the nearest hospital, but unfortunately the officer succumbed to his injuries. The shooter remains at large.

NY Cop-Killer Sentenced to Life: The man convicted of killing New York police officer, Randolph Holder, during a chase in October of 2015 has been sentenced.  Katherine Creag at NBC New York reports that career criminal, Tyrone Howard, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Holder and his partner were responding to reports of shots fired as Howard had been involved in a gunfight with rival drug dealers just before he was confronted by the two officers. He stood before a courtroom packed with 150 New York police officers Monday as he was sentenced for the murder of the 5-year veteran officer.

NYPD Upholds Immigration Enforcement: Reports from Fox News state that the New York Police Department has chosen to go against Mayor DeBlasio's vow to keep New York a sanctuary city. The NYPD reportedly informed ICE agents about upcoming court dates in which known illegal immigrants would be facing criminal charges which allowed ICE to be present for those dates and then take the coinciding criminals into custody. An NYPD administrative aide noted that ICE was contacted about the arrest of David Gonzalez, 51, on March 2 and Milton Chimborazo, 35, on March 15, the Daily News reported. Gonzalez, who had been previously deported, was facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly rubbing up against a woman on a subway train, while Chimborazo had a standing deportation order and was facing a burglary charge. New York City has vowed to only alert immigration officials if an illegal immigrant is accused of a violent crime.

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Texas Court Upholds Death Penalty:  The death sentence of a Texas ex-con who murdered his wife five years ago was upheld Wednesday in an 8-1 decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  Tommy Witherspoon of the Waco Tribune reports that Carnell Petetan Jr. had only been out of prison for a few months when he broke into his estranged wife's home and shot her dead in front of her daughter.  The victim had befriended Petetan and became his pen pal while he was serving a prison sentence for shooting two men and attacking a third with a chair when he was 16.  On appeal Petetan raised 30 claims of trial and sentencing error including that he was ineligible for execution because of a mental impairment.  While in prison for his previous crimes Petetan sexaully assaulted three other inmates and attacked guards.  

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9 Refugees Arrested In Austria Gang-Rape:  Nine asylum-seeking refugees have been arrested and charged in connection with the New-Years gang-rape of a 28-year-old teacher.  Jon Lockett at The Sun reports that the victim was visiting Vienna with a friend. They were indulging in a night of heavy drinking during which, four Arab-speaking men escorted her from a bar without her friend's knowledge. She was taken to a nearby apartment where five more men were waiting to assault her. All but one of the men denied the allegations of rape in spite of DNA evidence of six of the men recovered in and on the victim. They face up to 15 years each in prison.

It's PC to Let Them Riot: Heather Mac Donald at the City Journal has this piece on police complacency in the face of rioting and violence in the name of political correctness.  The recent rioting at UC Berkley to stop a scheduled lecture by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopolous, provided a clear example of police standing down to avoid confrontation, while masked rioters set fires, destroyed property, and attacked opponents. 

2 DC Officers Injured in Shooting: Two D.C. Police officers suffered gunshot injuries Thursday night during a shootout with an unnamed suspect.  According to Ellison Barber at USA Today, both officers sustained non life-threatening injuries during the shootout with the suspect, just 2 miles from the Nation's Capital. The suspect was killed in the exchange. The two officers are receiving treatment for their injuries. It is unclear who fired first, although the two officers are reportedly a part of a crime-suppression unit operating in D.C.

Refugee Murder Suspect Poorly Vetted:  An Afghan asylum-seeking immigrant is being tried as an adult for the rape and murder of a young German coed following the discovery that he had been lying about his age. Emily Chan at Daily Mail reports that "Hussein Khavari was arrested for the rape and murder of 19-year-old medical student Maria Ladenburger in Freiburg, south-west Germany" last December. The European Union's inability (or unwillingness) to thoroughly vet refugees admitted into Western Europe allowed Khavari to claim that he was 17 years old at the time of the murder, ensuring that he would be tried as a juvenile, facing a maximum sentence of 10 years. Fortunately, he didn't get away with this. A subsequent investigation revealed that Khavari was at least 22 years of age at the time of the rape and murder, and will now be tried as an adult for the crime.  The investigation also revealed that Khavari was sentenced to ten years in jail in Greece after he threw a 20-year-old coed off a cliff on the island of Corfu in May 2013.  Unfortunately he was placed in a youth detention center and released at least 7 years early.  Tough luck for the German girl.

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