News Roundup

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It was a short week, but not a slow week.

Here in North Carolina, the News and Observer has this story describing the increase in post-release supervision resulting from the Justice Reinvestment Act, and noting the lack of any additional supervising officers to handle the influx. Officers’ caseloads are way up, and the Division of Community Corrections plans to ask the General Assembly for money to hire new personnel. Of course, at least in theory, the JRA is supposed to pay for itself and then some by reducing prison expenditures. In other news:

  1. Reviled former Illinois police officer Drew Peterson has been convicted of killing the third of his four wives. (The fourth has “disappeared.”) According to news reports, “prosecutors [built] their case largely on hearsay thanks to a new law, dubbed ‘Drew’s Law,’ tailored to Peterson’s case. That hearsay, prosecutors had said, would let his third and fourth wives ‘speak from their graves’ through family and friends to convict Peterson.” As far as I can tell, the Illinois legislature literally changed the state’s evidence rules in anticipation of this particular prosecution, loosening the hearsay rules to allow the wives’ statements to be admitted.
  2. The New York Times ran this interesting piece about how the United States Supreme Court prepares for last-minute litigation in capital cases. The work is coordinated by the Court’s “death clerk,” who does not wait passively for motions to be filed, but rather, actively tracks every late-stage capital case in the country and actively reaches out to both sides in such cases to get up to speed as an execution date approaches. Talk about a tough job.
  3. The Wall Street Journal recently posted an item that begins as follows: “In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a federal judge in Boston has ordered Massachusetts authorities to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-change operation for a transgender prisoner.” The full opinion is available here. It’s over 120 pages, but the introduction and summary is just 20 and is worth reading. The state contended that it could not guarantee the security of the inmate after surgery, but the inmate, who is already taking female hormones prescribed by physicians, has spent the last several years in the general population of an all-male prison, with female characteristics such as breasts and long hair, without being sexually assaulted or engaging in sexual activity.
  4. Today is the last day to nominate your favorite legal blog for the ABA’s Blawg 100. If you’re so inclined, you can fill out the very short nomination form here.
  5. Finally, I guarantee that you will not regret spending 40 seconds of your life watching this promotional (?) video by Austin, Texas, criminal defense attorney Adam “Bulletproof” Reposa. (I think it’s better than any of the lawyer advertisements I noted in this prior post; the guy makes Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley” look shy and retiring.) Also worth checking out is Reposa’s website, which features an impressive list of recent acquittals. My favorite is the case that begins, “[t]his client was pulled over after partying with me the night before I was to go to jail for contempt of court. . . .” It’s pretty clear that Reposa lives a different lifestyle than I do.
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