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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2014 | By Abby Sewell and Jack Leonard
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is considering a new system for deciding which jail inmates get released early by making predictions about who is most likely to commit new crimes. The proposal calls for a significant shift for the nation's largest jail system, which currently determines when inmates get released by looking at the seriousness of their most recent offense and the percentage of their sentence they have already served. Officials say the current system has weaknesses because it does not take into account the inmate's full record, including serious crimes that occurred years ago. Supporters argue the change would help select inmates for early release who are less likely to commit new crimes.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Robert Faturechi
Former Sheriff Lee Baca and his top aide authorized the controversial handling of a Los Angeles County jail inmate who was found to be secretly working as a federal informant, according to a court filing by three of the deputies facing federal charges in connection with the incident. The allegations that the operation, dubbed "Pandora's Box" internally, was directed by Baca and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka are not new. But the claims, filed this week in federal court, give the first indication of the defense strategy that will be used by the jailers accused of helping to hinder a federal investigation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Robert Faturechi
Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies pleaded not guilty Thursday in connection with allegations that they assaulted a handcuffed inmate, according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office. Deputies Joey Aguiar and Mariano Ramirez were the latest in a string of 21 current and former sheriff's officials charged by federal authorities in connection with the FBI's three-year investigation into brutality and other misconduct in the Sheriff's Department. Last month, federal authorities alleged that Aguiar and Ramirez violated the civil rights of the inmate by assaulting him Feb. 11, 2009, inside Men's Central Jail.
NATIONAL
March 5, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
HOUSTON - Anthony Graves survived 18 years in prison for murders he did not commit, a dozen of those years on death row, where he was twice scheduled for execution. On Wednesday, Graves stood defiant outside a courthouse in a blue pinstripe suit with several state lawmakers and announced that the State Bar of Texas would be investigating his complaint against the prosecutor who convicted him, Charles Sebesta. “Give us justice,” said Graves, 48, of Houston. The announcement was the latest salvo in a legal battle that the two men have been fighting for two decades.
OPINION
February 28, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about a Florida man, Freddie Lee Hall, who faces execution for a 1978 murder. Hall is intellectually incapable of understanding the arguments, but the state of Florida says that it has the right to execute him nevertheless, in a case that spotlights both the barbarity and the absurdity of the death penalty. This page has a long history of opposing capital punishment on the grounds of morality, overwhelming evidence of its misapplication and public expense, among other things.
NATIONAL
February 27, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Condemned Oklahoma inmates filed a lawsuit this week seeking details about the drugs that will be used to execute them amid a growing national debate about how to deal with the shortage of lethal injection drugs. Oklahoma, Ohio, Missouri and other death penalty states have been scrambling for lethal injection drugs after major manufacturers - many based in Europe with longtime opposition to the death penalty - stopped selling to them. The issue sparked national controversy last month when relatives of an Ohio inmate who witnessed his execution complained that he took more than 15 minutes to die, appearing to gasp and snort.
NEWS
February 27, 2014 | By Melissa Rohlin
Jailed former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has been confined to isolation for 30 days after his physical altercation with another inmate at the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, Mass., according to NECN. The onetime New England Patriots tight end will reportedly spend 23 hours a day in his cell and eat his meals there. When he leaves, he has to wear handcuffs with a waist chain and leg irons. Hernandez and another inmate, whose name has not been released, got into a fight Tuesday in a common area outside of Hernandez's former cell, officials said.
NATIONAL
February 24, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - It's unusual for this Supreme Court to overturn a death penalty conviction, more so without dissents from conservatives Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. But Monday all nine justices found a double murder conviction so troubling that without hearing oral arguments they rebuked an Alabama appeals court and sent the case back to consider whether Anthony R. Hinton deserved a new trial. In three restaurant robberies in Birmingham 29 years ago, two restaurant managers were killed and one injured.
OPINION
February 19, 2014 | By Josh Fattal
On the morning of my appearance before an Iranian Revolutionary Court, where I was convicted on a fabricated charge of espionage, I heard the chant "Death to America!" from the world beyond my prison window. The chant, and the associated stereotype of Islamic Iran, was quite different from what I heard in Section 209, the grim area of Evin Prison where political detainees are beaten, tortured and held without charge. As Americans, my friend and cellmate Shane Bauer and I were denied contact with Iranian inmates during our imprisonment there.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2014 | By Robert Faturechi
An internal L.A. County Sheriff's Department email obtained by The Times raises new questions about the role former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka played in the handling of a jail inmate who was working as an FBI informant. Federal prosecutors allege that seven current and former deputies took part in a conspiracy to hinder the FBI by, in part, hiding Anthony Brown within the jail system after they learned he was an informant. Brown was secretly providing information to the FBI about deputies suspected of being corrupt or abusive.
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