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Men Charged With Recruiting Prostitutes at FL Prison

An elderly man and two other suspects were charged Thursday in an unusual human-trafficking scheme — recruiting felons from a Florida prison for women for a prostitution operation in Orlando, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Charged with human trafficking were Richard Rawles, 75, James Bernard King, 50, and Wilbert Shaver, 61. Rawles, the alleged kingpin, was described as a violent career criminal who has faced 47 felony charges over the years for robbery, sexual battery, child abuse and narcotics.

Police say he recruited prisoners from Lowell Correctional Institution, a women's prison in Ocala, and transported the women to Orlando after they were released from prison. "The defendants advertised the females on prostitution websites and transported them to locations in Central Florida to commit acts of prostitution," police said in a statement. Rawles gave the women drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and wouldn't allow them to leave without an "escort," the agency said.

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Report Blames Police, Students in Amherst 'Barney Blowout'

A report commissioned after a violent St. Patrick’s Day melee near UMass Amherst blames a “collective failure” for the drunken gathering, and recommends the Massachusetts town ban the event, that the university crack down on visitors and booze inside dorms, and that police act less aggressively, says the Boston Globe. The recommendations are detailed in a 65-page report by Edward Davis, former Boston police commissioner, who was hired by UMass to lead a review after an unruly gathering last March led to dozens of arrests and clashes with police.

The town said it would take steps to end the gathering, known as the Blarney Blowout. The report apportions blame all around, saying the event “was a collective failure by the town, the university, and the students.” It said police were unprepared, overwhelmed, and unnecessarily forceful. Some party-goers damaged property, fought one another, and threw filled beer cans and bottles, snowballs, and rocks at police, who shot an estimated 600 pepper-spray and sting balls to scatter the crowd. Fifty-eight were arrested, including 21 UMass Amherst students.

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Media Coalition Joins AZ Execution Lawsuit

In the wake of a botched execution, a coalition of Arizona TV, print and radio outlets has joined a lawsuit to compel the Arizona Department of Corrections to fully disclose information about how it executes death row prisoners and to allow the media to witness all stages of the execution, reports the Arizona Republic. Attorneys from the Federal Public Defender's office initially filed the lawsuit on behalf of Joseph Wood and other death row inmates before Wood's botched execution on July 23.

The lawsuit continued after Wood's death, on behalf of five other death row plaintiffs. On Thursday, the Federal Defender filed an amended lawsuit, adding as a plaintiff the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, which is based in Phoenix and comprises the Arizona Broadcasters Association, The Arizona Newspapers Association, the Arizona-New Mexico Cable Telecommunication Association, the Arizona Press Club, and the Society of Professional Journalists-Valley of the Sun Chapter.

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After Ferguson, Major Police Leaders Pledge More Transparency

Dozens of police chiefs meeting in Chicago this week said the fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., last month had been a defining moment for law enforcement and pledged greater transparency over such incidents. Speaking to Reuters in a group interview, the heads of police of Dallas, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Elk Grove, Ca., Boston, and Toronto said that every police shooting since Ferguson has been followed by protests. They said they had agreed to quickly release details of such shootings, including names of officers involved, in jurisdictions where it is legal to do so.

The Chicago gathering was the first since Ferguson of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). "Information is moving so quickly that the void will be filled in with rumor if you are not willing or able to put out as much fact as you know about the incident," said Dallas Police Chief David Brown. PERF meetings do not result in binding policy on local police departments. There are risks in giving out information quickly, the chiefs said, such as tainting a grand jury, and police must be careful to note they are offering preliminary findings that may change as new details emerge.

 

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Apple To Lock Out Police from IPhone, iPad Data Even With Warrant

Apple will make it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police even when they have a search warrant, taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information, the Washington Post reports. The move, announced with a new privacy policy tied to the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, amounts to an engineering solution to a legal quandary: Rather than comply with court orders, Apple has reworked encryption in a way that prevents the company or anyone but the device’s owner from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers.

The key is the encryption that Apple mobile devices automatically put in place when a user selects a passcode, making it difficult for anyone who lacks that passcode to access the information within, including photos, e-mails and recordings. Apple once maintained the ability to unlock some content on devices for legally binding police requests but will no longer do so for iOS 8. "Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple said on its website. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.” “This is a great move,” said Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Particularly after the Snowden disclosures, Apple seems to understand that consumers want companies to put their privacy first. However, I suspect there are going to be a lot of unhappy law enforcement officials.”

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L.A. Hopes Mental Illness Program Will Change Justice System Dramatically

Los Angeles officials are launching an alternative sentencing program aimed at diverting mentally ill, low-level offenders from jail into treatment, a project they hope will signal a dramatic shift for the county's criminal justice system, the Los Angeles Times reports. The $756,000 initiative marks one of the county's most significant attempts to find a better way to treat people who have mental illness and wind up in the criminal justice system by offering them transitional housing, medical treatment and job-hunting help.

Officials say the pilot program will initially help 50 people at a time, but it is expected to spread throughout the county and could accommodate up to 1,000 people at once. The program is designed to reduce jail overcrowding and end a revolving door for offenders with mental illness who find themselves incarcerated for relatively minor crimes. "It is time to stop bouncing people who are mentally ill and genuinely sick between the streets and our jails," said District Attorney Jackie Lacey. "This is an unconscionable waste of human life and money." Lacey and other officials, including county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and City Attorney Mike Feuer, announced the plan to give nonviolent felony defendants arrested for crimes like marijuana possession, resisting police and car theft the chance to complete an 18-month program. Those who complete the treatment and any court-imposed probation will have their pending criminal charges cleared from their records.

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TCR at a Glance

Is GIS Effective in Policing?

new & notable September 19, 2014

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Examining "Collateral Consequence Laws"

new & notable September 15, 2014

Laws that restrict access to public services for former inmates may relate to lower rates of return to prison, but there's incomplete dat...