Here are some stories that are deserving of more attention than 140 characters provides, but not interesting enough to get me to write a whole post about them:
- In what is reminiscent of the plot of an O’Henry short story or an article on snopes.com, a man robs a bank, asking for only $1, so he can be arrested and spend a few years in jail. His logic?
That’s right. James Verone says he has no medical insurance. He has a growth of some sort on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. He is 59 years old and with no job and a depleted bank account. He thought jail was the best place he could go for medical care and a roof over his head. Verone is hoping for a three-year sentence.
- Connecticut judges agreed to allow cameras in all Judicial District criminal courtrooms starting in January:
Beginning in January, cameras and recording devices will be allowed at criminal court hearings in the state’s 13 judicial districts. Whether a proceeding may be televised or recorded will be up to the discretion of the judge in the courtroom. Cameras will be prohibited from courtrooms in which the proceedings involve a sexual assault or a juvenile defendant.
Connecticut’s Commission on Child Protection – deep in the red – folds and its responsibilities will now be shouldered by the Public Defender’s Office:
The state agency that pays private lawyers to represent poor parents and children in child-protection cases has run up such a gaping deficit and owes the lawyers so much money that the agency has been abolished; its work will be folded into the public defenders’ office starting July 1.
Nearly 200 private lawyers are owed as much as $2.4 million by the Commission on Child Protection – which had overspent its budget by $3.8 million at one point late last year. That was the largest deficit, by percent of budget, of any agency of state government.
Most of the lawyers devote at least 80 percent of their practice to this work, which includes defending parents who face losing custody of their children in neglect cases brought by the Department of Children and Families. The lawyers, who also represent children in court, haven’t been paid since October or November in many cases.
Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California since it was reinstated in 1978, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then, according to a comprehensive analysis of the death penalty’s costs.
The study’s authors, U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell, also forecast that the tab for maintaining the death penalty will climb to $9 billion by 2030, when San Quentin’s death row will have swollen to well over 1,000.
Among their findings to be published next weekin the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review:
The state’s 714 death row prisoners cost $184 million more per year than those sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A death penalty prosecution costs up to 20 times as much as a life-without-parole case.
The least expensive death penalty trial costs $1.1 million more than the most expensive life-without-parole case.
Jury selection in a capital case runs three to four weeks longer and costs $200,000 more than in life-without-parole cases.
The state pays up to $300,000 for attorneys to represent each capital inmate on appeal.
- Police corruption has “forced” prosecutors in the Bay Area to dismiss over 800 criminal prosecutions in the last year:
Bay Area prosecutors have been forced to dismiss more than 800 criminal cases in the past year because of allegations of police corruption that include selling drug evidence, conducting unlawful searches and conspiring to get men drunk and then arrest them on drunk-driving charges.
In some cases, defense lawyers found that security-camera videos in residential hotels—showing police making drug arrests—apparently contradicted the officers’ sworn statements.
In one case, a suspect was seen in a video of his arrest wearing a different jacket from the one the officers entered into evidence.
Last year, the San Francisco district attorney dismissed about 700 criminal cases after a drug crime-lab worker was accused of stealing evidence. This year, since March, the district attorney has dismissed about 125 cases, mainly felony drug prosecutions.
- An interesting opinion from SCOTUS today, in Turner v. Rogers [pdf], holding that while the Constitution does not guarantee the provision of counsel in civil contempt cases where incarceration is a possibility, the Due Process clause mandates certain procedural safeguards before a person may be imprisoned after being held in contempt.
And you say I don’t post anymore.