Sometimes prosecutors demonstrate a somewhat over-abundance of vigilance when making the decision to prosecute an alleged sex crime. Unfortunately, that sometimes means attempting to put someone behind bars for perfectly ordinary behavior. Luckily, a San Francisco Superior Court jury acted just as one might hope -- as an appropriate check on prosecutorial excess.
This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is holding a rare re-hearing on the constitutionality of collecting the DNA profiles of arrestees into databases intended to solve future crimes. The appellate court has heard the case before but decided to rehear it in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a similar Maryland law this June.
According to the latest data collected through the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, or UCR, the nationwide downward trend in both violent and property crimes continued last year. The UCR collects information on crimes and arrests from 18,290 municipal, state, federal, tribal and college and university law enforcement agencies, so it gives us an accurate look at the true level of crime in the U.S.
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.
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.
Police and prosecutors in California have begun to take a more understanding approach in cases of juvenile prostitution, treating the young people as victims rather than criminals. When a young person is accused of prostitution, it may be possible to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of charges. In any case, a juvenile charged with a crime will need a strong criminal defense to protect his or her future.
It's been about 17 years since California voters passed Proposition 215 and legalized medical marijuana. Other states have since loosened up their marijuana laws, but the federal justice system still regards marijuana as illegal.