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WORLD
June 24, 2010 | From Reuters
A Pakistani court on Thursday sentenced five American students accused of contacting militants in Pakistan over the Internet and plotting terrorist attacks to 10 years each in prison, the deputy prosecutor said. The students, in their 20s, were detained in December in Pakistan's central city of Sargodha, 120 miles southeast of Islamabad. Deputy Prosecutor Rana Bakhtiar said the men were convicted on two counts each, with one carrying a 10-year sentence and the other carrying five years, to be served concurrently.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 2014 | By Sandy Banks
My column Tuesday on the courtroom tears of a gang member sentenced to 40 years in prison for a campus shooting resonated with readers - but not in the way I imagined it would. I considered the courtroom scene a cautionary message to other young men who glorify gangs and are enamored of guns: You could spend the rest of your life in prison over a stupid vendetta and a single violent act. But readers focused not just on the threat posed by hotheads with guns, but on the perceived injustice of such a long sentence for a young man who didn't kill anyone.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 2013 | By Abby Sewell
In a bid to ease jail crowding and increase time served by serious criminal offenders, Los Angeles County supervisors agreed Tuesday to spend millions to house more than 500 inmates at government firefighting camps in mountain and foothill areas. The $27-million, three-year deal will send 528 county inmates serving long-term sentences to five fire camps, jointly operated with the state prison system, that are scattered across the county. Supervisors acted after some complained about the increasing number of criminals -- including some serving time for violent offenses -- who are being released  after serving a fraction of their sentences.  As a result of budget cuts and so-called prison realignment, which shifted responsibility for some lower-level felons from state prison to county jails, inmates sentenced to county jail on some violent and sexual offenses currently serve 40% of their sentences.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A former partner with accounting giant KPMG was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for giving confidential information about his firm's clients to a golfing buddy, who used it to make more than $1 million in profits trading stocks. Scott London, 51, pleaded guilty to insider trading last year, admitting that he gave confidential information about KPMG clients, including Herbalife Ltd. and Skechers USA Inc., to his stock-trading friend several times from October 2010 to  May 2012.
NATIONAL
August 15, 2012 | By Amy Hubbard
An Alabama man has received a 624-year prison sentence for kidnapping, rape and sodomy.   It's not the first time an Alabama judge has handed down a sentence longer than a human's life expectancy.  The longest jail sentence in the U.S. for a single count was issued in Alabama in 1981 when Dudley Wayne Kyzer of Tuscaloosa received 10,000 years for killing his wife, according to the Alabama state website. He also killed his mother-in-law and a college student, for which he received two additional life sentences.
WORLD
December 7, 2013 | By Laura King
CAIRO -- An Egyptian appeals court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on Saturday reduced the 11-year jail sentences meted out to 14 female protesters after the case sparked a nationwide outcry. The women, who had been jailed since late October, were instead given suspended sentences of one year. In addition, seven underage girls who had been sentenced to a juvenile detention facility until they turned 18 were placed on probation. Human rights activists hailed the decision, but said the heavy jail terms should never have been handed down to begin with.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 1992
This column on crime statistics proved the meaninglessness of numbers. Bessette, a former federal bureaucrat, claimed that criminals do not serve long sentences in America. He should get out of the computer and into reality. Bessette attacks his opponents, presumably the liberals, with a theory that convicted felons just "pass through" prison. I work daily in the justice system. The truth is that acquittals on so-called technicalities are rare, and long sentences are common. The truth is that most often the convict's race and class determine the sentence, and determine whether or not a convicted murderer gets the death penalty.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Thursday commuted the prison terms of eight people sentenced to life in prison or other long sentences for drug crimes. The commutations are part of the administration's campaign to roll back inequities in connection with mandatory minimum sentencing, particularly for possession or sale of crack cocaine. Until recently, possession of crack was punished more severely than other forms of cocaine, disproportionately impacting African Americans. “Commuting the sentences of these eight Americans is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness.
WORLD
December 9, 2011 | By Simon Roughneen and Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
A U.S. citizen Thursday received a 30-month prison sentence in Thailand for insulting the king, the latest punishment handed down under a law critics see as archaic, prompting the U.S. government to denounce the ruling as excessive and a violation of free speech. The case, filed under Thailand's lese-majeste, or "injured majesty," laws, also involves issues of citizenship and jurisdiction. Thai-born Lerpong Wichaikhammat, 55, a U.S. resident for the last three decades, was convicted of posting online a Thai translation of "The King Never Smiles," an unofficial biography, several years ago while living in Colorado.
NATIONAL
March 12, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. is to endorse a proposal to reduce future drug sentences by an average of 11 months during a hearing by the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Thursday. Overly-tough drug sentences result in “too many Americans going to prison for far too long, and at times for no truly good public safety reason,” Holder said in prepared remarks released by the Justice Department. There are more than 216,000 inmates in federal prisons alone, Holder said, nearly half of them serving time for drug-related crimes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 23, 2014 | By Kate Mather
See correction to the headline below. Two former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies have been charged with planting guns at a medical marijuana dispensary that led to the arrest of two men, one of whom prosecutors said was sentenced to a year in jail before the bad evidence was discovered. Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, face two felony counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and altering evidence, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced Wednesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 23, 2014 | By Kate Mather
One of two men arrested in 2011 by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies now accused of planting guns as evidence pleaded no contest to a charge stemming from the false arrest and was sentenced to time in jail, officials said Wednesday. Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said Johnny Yang had already pleaded no contest to possessing ecstasy in the presence of a firearm before investigators determined the evidence was planted. Yang was sentenced to a year in jail as a result, Robison said, but it was unclear how much time he served.
NEWS
April 22, 2014 | By Paul Thornton
Brandon Spencer, the 21-year-old former gang member sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for attempted murder, may have sobbed like a toddler Friday after learning that the next several decades of his life will be spent behind bars, but he deserves little sympathy, wrote Times columnist Sandy Banks on Monday. But several of our readers had a much more charitable, even forgiving, attitude toward Spencer. The two sides don't dispute the facts: A gun-toting Spencer showed up at a Halloween party at USC in 2012 looking to exact revenge on a gang rival; several shots later, three innocent bystanders in addition to Spencer's target were injured.
NATIONAL
April 21, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - For decades the Republican Party prided itself for being tough on crime, often putting Democrats on the defensive by pushing for longer, mandatory sentences for convicts. In 1988, that hard-line stance helped sink the presidential dreams of then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who was blamed in Republican TV ads for having released convicted killer Willie Horton as part of a weekend furlough program. (Horton failed to return after a furlough and went on to commit robbery and rape.)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 21, 2014 | Sandy Banks
Brandon Spencer ought to be considered an object lesson by wannabe gangsters carrying guns. The 21-year-old was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in prison for shooting into a crowd waiting in line for a Halloween party on the USC campus in 2012. He wounded four people - including his target - but seems to think he ought to get leniency because nobody died. Spencer threw a tantrum in the courtroom when the judge announced his sentence, crying and banging his head on a table, like a 2-year-old sentenced to time-out.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 16, 2014 | By Jeff Gottlieb, Corina Knoll and Christopher Goffard
Four years after he became the face of municipal greed, Robert Rizzo broke his long silence Wednesday in a Los Angeles courtroom and asked a judge for mercy. The former Bell administrator was pale and baggy-eyed, and his thinning hair had turned gray. For many, there was hope that he would finally reveal how he engineered a brazen scheme to boost the salaries of top officials that left the working-class city tumbling toward bankruptcy. But in a small, halting, scratchy voice, Rizzo offered only the vaguest of apologies, and no details.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2013 | By Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times
A Los Angeles County judge responsible for reconsidering the life prison terms of more than 1,000 offenders sentenced under the state's three-strikes law began the process Monday at a hearing where he reduced the punishments for five inmates convicted of relatively minor crimes. Among those given shorter sentences was a 74-year-old who has served more than 15 years for possessing $10 worth of drugs and an 81-year-old behind bars for more than 17 years for stealing dozens of packs of cigarettes.
WORLD
April 15, 2014 | By Henry Chu
ROME -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered Tuesday to spend a year performing community service among the elderly as his sentence for committing tax fraud at his media conglomerate. The decision by a Milan judge spares Berlusconi, 77, a sentence of house arrest. But the former premier, who has dominated Italy's political scene for two decades, will see his movements restricted just as his center-right party gears up for elections to the European Parliament next month.
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