Two bills sent up for Governor Brown’s signature on Friday could have important effects on how California investigates and prosecutes juvenile crimes. SB 260 was passed to comply with last year’s California Supreme Court holding that decades-long prison sentences for non-homicide crimes committed by juveniles are unconstitutional unless they offer a meaningful opportunity of release. It would require parole hearings for all such offenders, including in homicide cases.
A former physician at San Jose's Valley Medical Center is accused of embezzling nearly $50,000 from a federal grant awarded for cancer research. According to a MercuryNews.com report, the physician (who is no longer associated with the medical facility), allegedly deposited $46,000 in reimbursement checks from the American College of Radiology into his personal account.
A seven-year study of juvenile arrest data from the Oakland Police Department and the Oakland School Police Department has revealed a clear and troubling pattern: African-American boys are far more likely to be arrested than girls and ethnic peers. And, once they’ve endured one juvenile arrest, they are yet again more likely to be re-arrested and enter a spiral of negative contact with police that can result in school suspensions, jail time and lost employment opportunity.
Police and prosecutors make a habit of publicly accusing people of crimes long before they’ve had their day in court. Sometimes, apparently, they slip into making public accusations before people have even been charged with crimes. It seems to be good public relations, but often enough it turns out they were wrong. Names have been named in a flurry of excitement after an arrest, but seldom does the press hail the news when the arrested person is acquitted or even exonerated.
Lately it has been hard to find a positive story about California’s prisons, but there is a great one coming out of the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility. Sacramento’s juvenile hall houses around 200 juvenile offenders as they await trial in either adult or juvenile court.
While there are plenty of Spanish speakers in California and across the U.S., speaking a foreign language is not necessarily the same as being qualified to translate legal materials. The difference became clear recently when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated one man’s federal drug manufacturing conviction because the officers who interrogated him mistranslated his Miranda warnings in a way that essentially denied him his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel -- in particular, the government’s obligation to provide a criminal defense lawyer at public expense if he could not afford one.
When the furs are from a Sumatran tiger and a jaguar. If you sell pelts or other parts of such animals, you could be charged with illegal killing of or trade in endangered animals. Six Californians were recently arrested for federal offenses involving endangered animals this week after undercover agents ran a two-week sting operation called “Operation Wild Web” to crack down on the illegal trafficking of wildlife on Internet sites such as Craigslist.