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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 5, 2011 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
After upholding nearly 50 death sentences in a row, the California Supreme Court on Monday broke its pattern by overturning the convictions of a reputed gang leader in Los Angeles and his alleged accomplice in two killings that sent both men to death row for 15 years. The state high court unanimously ruled that Cleamon Johnson and Michael Allen, convicted of killing rival gang members Peyton Beroit and Donald Loggins in 1991, were denied a fair trial when a judge removed a juror who appeared to be critical of the prosecution's case.
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NATIONAL
March 30, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
A bitterly divided Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed out a jury verdict won by a New Orleans man who spent 14 years on death row and came within weeks of execution because prosecutors had hidden a blood test and other evidence that would have proven his innocence. The 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas shielded the New Orleans district attorney's office from being held liable for the mistakes of its prosecutors. The evidence of their misconduct did not prove "deliberate indifference" on the part of then-Dist.
HEALTH
August 9, 2010 | Marc Siegel, The Unreal World
The Premise: Calvin Jenkins ( Robert Wisdom), an inspirational speaker and musician, is on death row for the murder of a pastor. He is brought to the ER at James River hospital after experiencing recurrent seizures in prison. A brain MRI reveals a Chiari malformation, an abnormality of the lower part of the brain that causes it to slip downward. Jenkins needs surgery, but this is not available in the prison. The hospital administrator feels that operating on Jenkins will financially benefit the hospital.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2009 | By Carol J. Williams and Jack Leonard
Los Angeles County sent more people to death row this year than Texas, Florida or any other state in the nation, condemning 13 convicted murderers -- the highest number in a decade, according to a Times review of justice statistics. The increase comes as a national report projects that the number of death sentences issued across the country this year will reach its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Los Angeles County helped California buck that trend, boosting the state's death sentences from 20 last year to 29 so far this year, more than a quarter of the nationwide total of 106, according to a report released Friday by the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.
NATIONAL
December 24, 2010 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
It's not that difficult to find the heart of this small east Texas city with wide-open spaces and lanky pine trees that breach the pale blue sky. Cruise past the 67-foot statue of Sam Houston (who's buried here), the town square and the plantation-style homes with the porches that wrap all the way around. Turn on to Avenue I, and there it stands: high, red brick walls the color of a schoolhouse. Inside are cramped cinderblock cells, inmates, guards and ? what put Huntsville on the map ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 13, 2001 | TRACY WILSON
Convicted killer Justin Merriman is set to become the 13th man sent to California's death row from Ventura County since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment. Here is a look at the other men and their crimes: * Kenneth McKinzie was convicted in 1999 for strangling 73-year-old Ruth Avril during a botched robbery at her Oxnard apartment building Dec. 21, 1995.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 12, 2000
The Innocence Project, which has used DNA testing to help free at least 65 wrongly convicted death row inmates in several states, is coming to California. Last week, California Western Law School in San Diego announced that it will house the California Innocence Project, which is slated to start work this fall. Justin Brooks, who will oversee the project, faces a rising tide of e-mails and letters from death row inmates, their parents and lawyers, all seeking help.
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