Recently in News Scan Category

News Scan

| No Comments
Congressman Appointed CA Attorney General:  In a surprise announcement today, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Congressman Xavier Becerra to replace Senator-Elect Kamala Harris as the state Attorney General.  Sara Wire and John Myers of the Los Angeles Times report that Becerra served in the California Assembly and spent three years as a Deputy Attorney General before his election to represent the state's 34th Congressional District in 1992.  During his twelve terms in Congress, Becerra rose to become the current Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.  While Becerra has not announced plans for run for the job in 2018, the possibility would be a setback for Democrat  Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who had already declared his intention to run. In a statement, Governor Brown praised Becerra's public service and said that as AG he will  "help our state aggressively combat climate change."  

News Scan

| No Comments
Death Penalty Possible for 1 of 4 AL Killers:  Alabama prosecutors are still deciding whether they will seek the death penalty against a 22-year-old man who, along with three teens, killed two men during a 2015 crime spree.  Ashley Remkus of AL reports that if Joseph Conwan is convicted of killing Joshua Davis and Antonio Hernandez-Lopez, he will either be sentenced to death, if capital punishment in sought, or face life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Conwan was 20 in 2015 when he and his brother Cedric Conwan, then 16, along with Cortez Mitchell and Amani Goodwin, 16 and 17 at the time, respectively, engaged in a crime spree that included several armed robberies, shootings into homes and the two fatal shootings.  This week, the three teens were denied youthful offender status, which would have guaranteed they not be sentenced to more than three years.  They are ineligible for the death penalty because they were juveniles at the time the crimes were committed.  All four are charged with three counts of capital murder, six counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling.

MI Officer in Critical Condition After Shooting:  A Wayne State University police officer was shot in the head Tuesday night while patrolling off the Detroit, Mich., campus.  J.J. Gallagher, Tom Liddy and Morgan Winsor of ABC News report that Officer Collin Rose, 29, a five-year veteran of the force, was conducting a traffic stop when he sustained his injury. The nature of the stop and the events leading up to the shooting are still being investigated.  Rose underwent surgery and remains in critical condition, with doctors stating that it is still too early to say if he will recover.  The shooting comes just days after a violent weekend, in which four officers in three states were shot in a 24-hour period, one of them fatally.  Rose is the first Wayne State University officer to be shot in 36 years.

Chattanooga School Bus Driver was in Another Crash 2 Months Ago:  The man who crashed a school bus earlier this week, killing five children and injuring several more, was reportedly involved in another school bus crash two months ago.  Holly Yan, Natisha Lance, Madison Park and Martin Savidge of CNN report that in September, Johnthony Walker, who received his commercial driver's license in April, was driving around a blind curve when he sideswiped another vehicle after failing to yield, though there were no injuries and only minor damage to both vehicles.  Walker was driving with 37 children on board his school bus on Monday afternoon when he swerved off the road and plowed into a tree.  The crash killed five children and a dozen others remain hospitalized, some with serious head and spinal injuries.  Walker was allegedly driving well above the posted speed limit, and his blood sample has been sent to the state lab for testing.  He faces five counts of vehicular homicide and charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving.  The bus company that hired him, Durham School Services, is under intense scrutiny.

News Scan

| No Comments
Driver in TN School Bus Crash Charged:  The driver of a school bus that crashed in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Monday, killing five young children, has been arrested and charged.  Michael Edison Hayden, J.J. Gallagher, Tom Liddy and Jeffrey Cook of ABC News report that Johnthony Walker, 24, was driving the bus carrying 37 children Monday afternoon "well above the posted speed limit of 30 mph" when he lost control and crashed into a tree.  Among the five children who died, three were in fourth grade, one was in first grade and the other was a kindergartner.  Six other children remain in intensive care.  Walker faces charges of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

Gunman who Killed San Antonio Cop Arrested:  The suspected gunman who killed a San Antonio, Tex., police detective in cold blood on Sunday has been taken into custody.  Julia Jacobo and Michael Edison Hayden of ABC News report that Otis Tyrone McKane, 31, was arrested without incident on Monday afternoon and said he wished to apologize to the family of the slain officer, 20-year veteran Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50.  Marconi was shot to death on Sunday afternoon while sitting in his patrol car writing a ticket.  The gunman, identified as McKane, pulled up in a car behind Marconi, stepped out and shot the officer in the head at close range before driving off.  After his arrest, McKane told police that he was upset over losing a custody battle and "lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it."  Charges against him are pending.

NJ Lawmakers' Bill would Reinstate Death Penalty in Extreme Cases:  Two New Jersey senators have introduced a bill that would restore capital punishment in certain cases classified as "extreme."  S.P. Sullivan of NJ Advance Media reports that the bill, authored by Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), who cited recent terror attacks and ambushes on law enforcement officers, would restore the death penalty in cases involving the murder of a police officer, the murder of a child in commission of a sex crime, deaths caused by an act of terror, killings committed by persons previously convicted of murder and for serial killers.  The state eliminated the death penalty nearly 10 years ago.  In order to pass, the bill have have to be approved by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature.  In the same vein, responding the recent ambush attacks on police officers, Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens has proposed making the killing of a police officer a federal crime punishable by death.

News Scan

| No Comments
Four Cops Shot in Three States on Sunday:  Four police officers were shot, one of them fatally, in three states on Sunday, three incidents of which appeared to be targeted attacks.  Fox News reports that by Monday, police in San Antonio, Tex., still had not apprehended the suspect who fatally gunned down 20-year veteran Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50, while he sat inside his patrol vehicle writing a ticket on Sunday afternoon.  He was shot twice in the head at close range, the final shot fired as the gunman reached inside Marconi's passenger window.  The gunman was not the person Marconi had stopped and was administering a ticket to.  By Sunday evening, a St. Louis police sergeant, also a 20-year veteran, was shot twice in the face while driving down the street, but is expected to survive.  The gunman, who shot at the officer from another car, was later killed after exchanging gunfire with others officers, none of whom were injured.  Then, an officer in Senibel, Fla., was shot and wounded as he sat in his patrol car after a traffic stop.  The suspect was eventually taken into custody.  The final incident occurred in Gladstone, Mo., when and officer was non-fatally shot by a man in his teens who had fled from a traffic stop.  When the officer caught up to him, the teen pulled out a handgun, shots were fired and the teen was killed.  So far this year, 56 state, county and local officers have been shot while on duty.

OH Gang member gets Death for Triple Homicide: 
A jury recommended the death penalty on Saturday in the case against an Ohio gang member, who killed three people and wounded three others last year in a gang-related dispute at a Cleveland barbershop.  The AP reports that Douglas Shine Jr., 21, was convicted earlier this month of aggravated murder and dozens of other charges in the barbershop shootings as well as his role in arranging the killing of an eyewitness.  After his arrest for the February 2015 murders, which was allegedly because one of the victims, rival gang member Walter Lee Barfield, had stolen a gun from one of Shine's fellow gang members, Shine conspired with his brother from jail to kill Barfield's brother because he had identified him as the shooter.  The eyewitness was killed in April 2015, and Shine's brother is awaiting trial on aggravated murder charges.  Shine's formal sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5, during which  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg will decide whether to impose a death sentence or give Shine life in prison without parole.

Immigration Law Could Dramatically Change if Sessions is AG:  Sen. Jeff Sessions, the "Senate's leading crackdown proponent" on immigration, may have the chance to prosecute sanctuary cities and turn around immigration laws if confirmed as the next attorney general.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports that if confirmed as AG, Sessions will have the power to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities, which protects illegal immigrants, due to last year's ruling by the Justice Department's inspector general stipulating that it is required under federal law that localities cooperate with immigration agents.  Some sanctuary cities have already fired back, saying they'll resist changes.  Meanwhile, democrats are gearing up to fight Sessions' confirmation.

News Scan

| No Comments
AR Man Sentenced to Death for Killing Son:  An Arkansas man was sentenced to death this week for his son's murder, an outcome prosecutors said was not only justice for the little boy, but for the killer's other children who suffered physical and sexual abuse at his hands.  Zuzanna Sitek of KFSM reports that a jury on Tuesday recommended the death penalty for Mauricio Torres, who was convicted a day before for capital murder in the 2015 death of his son Maurice Isaiah Torres, 6.  He also received an additional 20 years for first-degree battery.  Five of Torres' children and stepchildren testified against him, all of whom detailed years of physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by him.  Torres' wife, Cathy, is scheduled to go to trial next year on the same charges.

GA Carries out 8th Execution of the Year:  A Georgia death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, marking the state's eighth execution of the year.  Kate Brumback of the AP reports that Steven Frederick Spears, 54, died by lethal injection after refusing to initiate any post-conviction appeals.  Spears was convicted in 2001 for murdering his ex-girlfriend, who he choked to death after suspecting she was romantically involved with someone else.  Eight is a record number of executions in a calendar year for Georgia, and the most carried out this year by any state.  A total of 18 inmates have been executed in 2016.

POTUS Encourages Violent Protesters:  President Obama shared some words of encouragement this week with the groups of Anti-Trump protesters that have been gathering all over the nation since the election and carrying out violent demonstrations.  Debra Heine of PJ media reports that President Obama stated, "I would not advise them to be silent," citing the supposed regularity with which presidential nominees are faced with mob protests.  He failed to address the widespread occurrence of rioting and destruction that has followed these demonstrations as they moved their way through several major U.S. cities.  It is anticipated that these demonstrations will continue and that protestors plan to interrupt Donald Trump's coming inauguration.

Racist Cop Claim Debunked in Study:
  John R. Lott, Jr and Carlisle E. Moody have released a study report on officer-involved shootings in the United States, concluding that there is "no statistically significant difference between killings of black suspects by black and white officers," debunking the claim that racist white renegade cops are targeting minorities.

News Scan

| No Comments
Trial Begins for CA Sex Offender who Killed Four Women:  One of two convicted sex offenders charged with raping and killing four Southern California women while wearing an electronic monitor began his trial on Wednesday.  The AP reports that Steven Dean Gordon, 47, and Franc Cano, 30, who will be tried separately at a later date, have pleaded not guilty to rape and murder with special circumstances.  Both men are registered sex offenders with convictions in separate cases of lewd and lascivious acts on a child.  The men are believed to have known each other since 2010, when they cut off their GPS devices and fled to Alabama, where they were arrested.  Two years later, they cut off their devices again and fled to Las Vegas and were apprehended after two weeks on the run.  In 2013 and 2014, Gordon and Cano randomly targeted, raped and murdered four women, three of whom have never been found.  Gordon confessed to the murders during grand jury proceedings but the judge has excluded it from his trial because Gordon had told police prior to divulging the details of the killings that he didn't want to talk.  Both Gordon and Cano could face the death penalty if convicted.

Cellphones a Continuing Problem in CA Prisons:  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has confiscated over 8,000 cellphones from inmates across the state so far this year, highlighting the ongoing problem facing corrections officials in keeping cellphones out of prisons.  Andria Borba and Leslie Donaldson of KPIX 5 report that state inmates have used contraband cellphones to coordinate at least one prison escape, and there are at least 79 documented cases of victim intimidation over Facebook by inmates on cellphones.  To combat the problem, CDCR installed a blocking system called Managed Access in 18 of the 33 state prisons, but it has proven to block and interrupt an average of 150,000 calls and texts of other people in close proximity to the prison, causing concern over its potential to interfere with emergency calls.  Another device about to be installed in every California prison, Cell Sense, consists of a portable tower that has the ability to detect cell phones even if the battery is removed.

Defending Prop 66:  The ACLU has filed suit to halt resumption of executions in California, despite Californians voting in favor of expediting the death penalty process.  Listen to CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger defend Proposition 66 on KFI's John and Ken show.

News Scan

| No Comments
Gun Recovered in Officer Shooting tied to 5 AK Murders:  A gun used in the shooting of an Alaska police officer over the weekend has been linked to at least five homicides in Anchorage this year.  Ben Anderson and Michelle Theriault Boots of the Alaska Dispatch News report that on Saturday morning, while responding to a report of a theft suspect, Anchorage police Officer Arn Salao was shot four times in what was described as an "ambush" by James Dale Ritchie, 40.  Two other officers arrived during the shootout and returned fire, killing Ritchie.  The gun used by Ritchie, a Colt Python .357, was confirmed Tuesday to be linked to five murders, including a double homicide in July, another July homicide and a double homicide in August.  Investigators are still working to determine Ritchie's ties to the crimes.  Salao is expected to survive.

Army Appeals Court Upholds Death Sentence:  A United States Army court of appeals has upheld the death sentence of a former Fort Bragg soldier who murdered a mother and her two children over three decades ago.  Drew Brooks of the Fay Observer reports that a four-judge panel in the Army Court of Criminal Appeals issued its recent decision in the case of Timothy Hennis, following a review of 49 alleged errors made in Hennis' 2010 court-martial, marking the third time Hennis stood trial in the case.  The court concluded that Hennis' claims were without merit and that the death sentence that had been issued prior was appropriate.  Hennis killed Kathryn Eastburn in 1985, along with her two daughters, 5 and 3.  A third child, 22-months, was found alive.

Parolee Arrested in Connection with Fairfield Murder:  A California parolee was arrested in Sacramento on Monday in connection with a Fairfield murder committed last month.  Elk Grove News reports that on Oct. 28, Fairfield police received a call about repeated gunshots. When they arrived on the scene, they found a 26-year-old man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and he later died in the hospital.  VaShawn Davis, 24, a parolee, was identified as the suspect by Fairfield detectives and was arrested for murder as well as for an outstanding for violating his parole.

News Scan

| No Comments
Passerby Shoots, Kills Man Beating Deputy:  A man who physically attacked a Florida sheriff's deputy Monday morning was shot and killed by an intervening bystander.  Fox News reports that the incident began after Lee County Deputy Dean Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the department, attempted to make a traffic stop, prompting the driver to take off at unsafe speeds.  The car chase ended on an exit ramp, where the suspect got out of his car, pulled Bardes out of his car and repeatedly beat him.  Another driver then got out of his car and intervened, telling the suspect that he'd shoot him if he refused to stop beating the deputy.  When the suspect refused to comply, the bystander shot three times.  Bardes was not hit and sustained only minor injuries from the attack.  The unidentified suspect, who was unarmed, later died.  The bystander, whose identity also remains anonymous at this time, possessed a concealed weapons license.  It is not known if any charges will be sought.

CA Serial Killer Denied Parole:  A California serial killer who murdered and mutilated more than two dozen farm workers over four decades ago was denied parole for the eighth time last week.  The AP reports that Juan Vallejo Corona, 82, was denied parole on Thursday for another five years for the murders of 25 men, whose bodies were discovered buried on two Yuba City ranches in 1971.  Corona was convicted in 1973 of 25 counts of first-degree murder, and again in 1981 after it was overturned on appeal.  He skirted the death penalty because it had been ruled unconstitutional in the state during his first trial.  At the time the men's remains were discovered, the murders represented the deadliest rampage in the nation.

Psychologists Testify TX Child Killer is Unfit for Execution:  A Texas man who murdered his two children over a decade ago is not mentally competent for his upcoming execution, psychologists testify.  Ed Adamczyk of UPI reports that John Battaglia, 60, is scheduled to die on Dec. 7 for fatally shooting his daughters, 6 and 9, in 2001 while on the phone with his estranged ex-wife, who was pleading with him not to hurt their children.  Battaglia's wife had reported a parole violation to the authorities that was going to put him back in jail.  Prosecutors argue that Battaglia has sufficient understanding of his crime, while the defense states that he suffers from delusional disorder, marked by a strong belief in untrue things.  Battaglia was initially scheduled to die in March 2016 but it was postponed for further psychological evaluation.  More testimony will be heard on Tuesday.  Battaglia's competency will then be at the determination of the judge.

News Scan

| No Comments
CA Officer Killed, Suspect in Custody:  A California sheriff's deputy was fatally shot in the head "execution style" over the weekend, and the suspect was captured and taken into custody.  Devon Armijo of KCRA reports that Stanislaus County Deputy Dennis Wallace, 53, a 20-year veteran of the department, arrived at a fishing access on Sunday morning to investigate a report of a suspicious vehicle and person.  After finding that the vehicle was reported stolen, he requested backup.  When backup arrived they discovered Deputy Wallace dead from two gunshot wounds to the back of the head.  The suspected gunman, David Machado, had a felony warrant at the time of the stop and was apprehended by police later in the day after attempting to steal a woman's purse.  The charges Machado will face have yet to be released.

CA Cop Killer Faces Capital Murder Charges:  A California parolee is facing capital a murder charge for fatally shooting a sheriff's sergeant last month, and could face a possible death sentence.  Debbie L. Skylar of My News LA reports that Trenton Trevon Lovell, 27, is charged with the early October killing of Lancaster Sheriff's Sergeant Steve Owen, 53, a 29-year veteran of the department, who was responding to a burglary call.  Lovell was on parole at the time of the shooting and had been convicted of robbery as a juvenile in 2006 and again in 2009 as an adult.  Lovell faces a murder charge with special circumstance allegations of murdering a peace officer in performance of their duties and committing a murder to avoid a lawful arrest.  Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

Border Apprehensions Surge at Start of FY:  Border apprehensions are already record high in the first month of FY2017, says Customs and Border Protection.  Brittany M. Hughes of MRCTV reports that in October, the first month of the new fiscal year, 46,197 illegal immigrants were apprehended at the southwest U.S. border, including 13,124 members of family units -- 118% higher compared to October 2015 -- and 6,754 unaccompanied minors.  Last month's apprehensions exceeded the heaviest month in FY2016, May, when 40,337 illegal immigrants were caught.  Many of the illegal immigrants who are apprehended will be released into U.S. communities with an order to appear before an immigration judge, though more than half will fail to show up and disappear into the shadows.

News Scan

| No Comments
PA Gunman Kills Officer, Pregnant Woman and Self:  A Pennsylvania man who opened fire on two police officers early Thursday, killing one and injuring the other, was found inside his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Fox News reports that the gunman, Michael Cwiklinski, was found dead in the home along with a six-months pregnant woman who had a Protection From Abuse order against him.  The two officers had responded to a call around 3:15 a.m. and were immediately "ambushed upon their arrival."  The deceased officer was identified as Scott Leslie Boshium, 52.  The deadly shootout comes just one week after a New York City police sergeant was fatally shot and another wounded by a man who had broken into his estranged wife's home.  It also comes amid a particularly deadly year for law enforcement.  Heather Mac Donald addresses the subject in the City Journal, emphasizing the contrasting views between the two presidential candidates on the rampant violence against law enforcement, noting that Hillary Clinton embraced Black Lives Matter and their volatile message and accusations of racist police, while Donald Trump condemned the movement and stated a desire to restore law and order. 

CA Couple Charged with Murder of Sheriff's Volunteer:  A California couple has been charged in the brutal death of a volunteer with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, whose body was discovered in an Oakland park last week bludgeoned, stabbed and burned beyond recognition.  Kimberly Veklerov and Michael Bodley of SF Gate report that Laura Rodgers and Curtys Taylor, both 23, have been charged with murder in the death of Karla Ramirez-Segoviano, 21.  Rodgers was a friend of Ramirez-Segoviano and allegedly lured her to a park where she was repeatedly stabbed, beaten, doused with gasoline and set on fire.  Her body was found in a creek bed last Thursday, but it is unclear when she was killed.  Also uncertain is why she was targeted.  Rodgers, who admitted to the murder the same day the body was discovered, faces an additional charge of use of a deadly weapon.

Prop 57 Passes, Allowing Early Paroles:  Following the approval of Proposition 57 this week by California voters, at least 30,000 of the state's 130,000 state inmates could be considered for early release.  Don Thompson of the AP reports that the widely criticized measure will allow inmates convicted of domestic violence, human trafficking, assault with a deadly weapon and rape of an unconscious person -- to name a few -- eligible for early paroles.  Gov. Jerry Brown says the goal of the measure is to promote rehabilitation, but opponents believe it gives corrections officials too much power to overrule the sentencing decisions of judges and is ultimately dangerous, putting the safety of Californians and their communities at risk.  The state Legislative Analyst's Office projects that almost a quarter of inmates could seek parole under the measure.  Brown's administration predicts approximately 7,000 inmates will be immediately eligible for parole consideration once the law take effect.

News Scan

| No Comments
Grieving Father Sues BLM over Fallen Son:  The grieving father of a Dallas police officer killed in the ambush shooting in July that claimed the lives of five officers is bringing charges against the Black Lives Matter movement and associated groups.  Claire Z. Cardona of the Dallas Morning News reports that Enrique Zamarripa has filed a 43-page lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas naming the Black Lives Matter movement as well as 13 additional defendants, including the Nation of Islam, Reverend Al Sharpton, the New Black Panthers Party and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, as those responsible for the anti-police rhetoric that incited Micah Johnson to shoot at police officers during a demonstration, which claimed the life of his son, Patrick Zamarripa.  Zamarripa is seeking damages of up to $550 million.  

AL Murderer Challenges Death Sentence: 
An Alabama man convicted of murder eight years ago is challenging his conviction and hoping to overturn his death sentence.  Lance Griffin of the Dothan Eagle reports that a hearing was held Tuesday in the case of David Phillip Wilson, a man who was convicted in 2008 for the murder of Dewey Walker, a 64-year-old cancer patient.  Wilson argues that there were arguments that may have been made by his previous defense counsel that could have spared him the death penalty, and intends to make those arguments now in hopes of having his death sentence overturned.

News Scan

| No Comments
Illegal Immigrant Charged with Killing TX Girl:  A previously deported Mexican immigrant in the country illegally has been charged with capital murder in the death of his 10-year-old cousin whose body was discovered in an east Texas well over the weekend.  Fox News Latino reports that Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, was charged Monday with murdering Kayla Gomez-Orozco, his cousin through marriage.  Gomez-Orozco was reported missing on Nov. 1 and her body was found Nov. 5 down the well of a rented house.  Zavala-Garcia was deported in 2014 for a violent crime, and has been booked on a federal immigration detainer.

Officer Sues BLM Activist over Protest Injuries:  A Baton Rouge police officer has filed a lawsuit against a prominent Black Lives Matter activist for injuries he sustained during a July protest that turned violent.  The AP reports that the unnamed officer's federal lawsuit, filed against DeRay Mckesson and BLM, states that he was struck in the face with a piece of concrete that was hurled at police during the July 9 protest over the death of Alton Sterling, resulting in lost teeth and injuries to his jaw and brain.  While the suit doesn't directly accuse Mckesson of throwing the projectile, it claims he "incited the violence" and "was in charge of the protest," giving orders to other BLM members.  Mckesson, a Baltimore resident, was one of 200 protestors arrested during the protest and has sued the city of Baton Rouge over their arrests, claiming police used excessive force and violated their constitutional rights.

LAX Gunman Sentence to Life for 2013 Attack:
  The man accused of carrying out a deadly rampage at the Los Angeles International Airport three years ago was sentenced Monday to a mandatory term of life in prison plus 60 years.  Brian Melley of the AP reports that Paul Ciancia, 26, said before his sentencing that what began as a suicide plan turned into a mission to die in a blaze of glory by "[taking] up arms against my own government."  He "wanted to make a statement" by killing government workers, and carried out the Nov. 1, 2013 attack at the airport after his research indicated that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was the most hated agency in the country.  The attack claimed the life of TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez and wounded two other officers and a teacher.  Prosecutors had sought the death penalty against Ciancia, but it was taken off the table after he pleaded guilty to murder and 10 other charges.  But Paula M. Mitchell, professor at Loyola Law School and a co-author of the California initiative to abolish the death penalty, recently told a reporter that there is no data supporting the notion that guilty pleas have dropped where the death penalty has been taken off the table.  Really, Professor Mitchell?  Here's the data.

News Scan

| No Comments
UT Officer Killed in Hit and Run, Three Suspects in Custody:  A Utah police officer died early Sunday after being struck by a fleeing vehicle that had been stolen by three suspects, who have been taken into custody.  Matt Canham of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Officer Cody Brotherson, 25, a three-year veteran of the West Valley City police department, was struck and killed by the vehicle as he was attempting to lay down a set of tire spikes during a police chase that began when officers observed three individuals steal the car.  The chase lasted less than three minutes, ending when the stolen car was eventually run off the road and disabled.  The suspects, all of whom are under the age of 18, fled the scene but were later arrested.  It is not clear at this time whether the suspects intentionally hit Brotherson.  Brotherson is the first West Valley City officer killed in the line of duty since the city was established in 1980, and the second in Utah this year.

GA Officer Fatally Shot, Suspect Arrested:  A Georgia deputy was fatally shot and his partner critically wounded over the weekend after responding to a dispute between neighbors.  Fox News reports that Peach County Sgt. Patrick Sondron, 41, and his partner, Del Smallwood, responded to a call Sunday evening placed by the neighbors of Ralph Elrod.  Elrod had allegedly confronted his neighbors and threatened them with a gun because they were riding four-wheelers in the area.  When the deputies arrived, they made it just 10 to 15 yards from their patrol vehicles when Elrod opened fire.  The officer returned fire, shooting Elrod in the abdomen and injuring him.  He is currently in custody and will face charges of murder and three counts of aggravated assault.

Obama Shortens Sentences for 72 More Inmates:  President Obama last week granted clemency to an additional 72 federal inmates.  Josh Lederman of CNS News reports that Obama's final months in office have been marked by several rounds of commutations, including 98 two weeks ago.  Nearly all of the prisoners being granted clemency were convicted of drug-related offenses, some of them convicted of firearms charges in connection with drug crimes.  Obama has, in total, commuted the sentences of 944 people, 324 of whom were serving life sentences, which is more than the previous 11 presidents combined.  Many of the federal inmates will be freed in 2017 and 2018, after Obama has already left office.

News Scan

| 5 Comments
SCOTUS Halts AL Man's Execution:  The U.S. Supreme Court issued a last-minute stay Thursday evening, hours after the Alabama murderer was supposed to be executed, marking the seventh time he has avoided the death penalty.  Tracy Connor of NBC News reports that Tommy Arthur, 74, had argued that his sentencing violated the recent Supreme Court decision, Hurst v. Florida, and also challenged the Alabama's lethal injection protocol.  The stay was granted because four justices wanted additional time to consider Arthur's arguments.  Arthur was sentenced to death for the 1982 fatal shooting of a man whose wife he was having an affair with.  He committed the murder while out on work release from prison, where he was serving a life sentence for murdering his sister-in-law.

Soros Spends Millions to Defeat Arpaio:  A group working to defeat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona has received $2 million in contributions from George Soros.  Scott Bland of Politico reports that Maricopa Strong, the Soros-funded PAC, has spent a total of $2.9 million in the sheriff's race, funding mailers and TV ads attacking Arpaio and promoting Paul Penzone, the Democratic candidate.  Arpaio's campaign has criticized Soros, calling him a "far-left globalist" that has broken disclosure agreements and is attempting to buy an election.  Soros' efforts are just the latest of his major spending in local law enforcement campaigns over the past year, with his contributions against Arpaio his largest investment in a local race in 2016.  In 2015 and 2016, Soros also spent millions funding campaigns around the county to defeat local prosecutors that do not back his favored criminal justice reform measures.

SC Sex Offender Arrested After Missing Woman Found on his Property:  The case of a vanished South Carolina couple who have been missing for nearly three months heated up on Thursday when investigators discovered the woman alive, "chained up like a dog" in a metal storage container on the property of a convicted sex offender and kidnapper.  Fox News reports that Kala Brown, 30, was freed and her captor, Todd Kohlhepp was arrested.  Kohlhepp is a real estate agent and Brown worked for him.  He is a convicted sex offender listed on the state's registry and was also convicted of a 1987 kidnapping in Arizona.  Brown and her boyfriend Charlie Carver, 32, vanished in late August, and Carver remains missing.  Kohlhepp's overgrown property could hold clues, however, as the sheriff cautioned that as many as four bodies could be on the property.

News Scan

| No Comments
OH Execution Law Upheld:  A Cincinnati appeals court dismissed challenges to an Ohio law Wednesday that shields the identities of individuals involved in the execution process as well as the pharmacies that manufacture lethal injection drugs.  Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade reports that the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, upheld a lower court's ruling which dismissed claims made by several death row inmates, who argued that being denied information regarding the execution process under House Bill 663 is harmful and violates their free-speech and public record rights.  The appeals court determined that "[w]hile a deficient execution is a very serious matter, the existence of deficiencies in this case is only conjectural or hypothetical and is therefore not imminent for [legal standing] purposes."  The state's last execution was of Dennis McGuire in January 2014, who was put to death using a two-drug process that caused him to make choking noises and struggle against his restraints for 26 minutes before he died, according to witnesses.  After that, an informal moratorium on executions was put in place and is set to expire at the end of the year.  Ohio's next scheduled execution is of Ronald R. Phillips on Jan. 12, who will be put to death using a three-drug process consisting of midazolam, recuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

Appeals Court Won't Stop AL Man's Execution:  An appellate court affirmed a federal judge's ruling on Wednesday, refusing to stop the execution of an Alabama murderer scheduled to die Thursday evening.  The AP reports that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split decision, dismissed the latest legal challenge made by Tommy Arthur, who argued that the state's death penalty procedure is unconstitutional.  Arthur, who has won reprieves on six prior occasions, claimed that a federal judge prematurely dismissed his lethal injection challenge when a U.S. Supreme Court requirement for inmates to offer an alternative execution method was misapplied.  Arthur suggested a firing squad and another lethal injection drug, but the federal judge dismissed the challenge, ruling that Arthur had not identified a drug source and a firing squad is not a permissible method under state law.  Arthur was convicted of the 1982 murder of Troy Wicker, whom Arthur shot as he slept in his home.  Arthur was having and affair of Wicker's wife and killed her husband when she paid him $10,000.  At the time of the murder, Arthur was in a prison-release program after being convicted of the 1977 murder of his sister-in-law.

Worst of the Worst Illegals Slipping Through the Cracks:  The worst of the worst illegal immigrants are slipping through immigration loopholes, proving that President Obama's Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) is a complete failure.  Jonathan Thompson and Leon Wilmot have this piece in the Washington Examiner, reporting that in 2013, over 36,000 illegal immigrants convicted of felonies were released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while their deportation proceedings were still pending.  Among those immigrants were 193 convicted murderers, 426 kidnappers and 426 individuals convicted of felony sexual assault.  Under the Obama administration's PEP, violent and dangerous illegal aliens scheduled for deportation are released from federal detention after serving their sentences without local law enforcement's knowledge.  What's more, the executive branch has ordered ICE to stand down, tying the hands of federal agents on the ground.  Thompson and Wilmot say that Americans of all stripes and political affiliations agree that there is a necessity to swiftly deport the worst of the worst criminals and should demand reform of the Priority Enforcement Program.

Monthly Archives