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On 25th Anniversary, Advocate Says 3,000 Drug Courts Treated 1.3 Million

On the 25th anniversary of the first U.S. drug court, in Miami, West Huddleston of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals tells NPR that the nation's 3,000 drug courts have treated 1.3 million drug-addicted offenders. Research says drug courts can cut crime by as much as half compared to any other sentencing option, he says, saving the criminal justice system about $2.21 for every dollar invested.

Huddleston acknowledges who types of drug court critics: "really hard-core law enforcement types that believe that we should just keep punishing addicts," and others who contend that legalizing drugs would bypass the criminal justice system. Huddleston contends that the latter group is "not hinking through that argument very well. Drug courts are filled today - about 142,000 people a year who are there because of crimes related to their drug use, but not there because of a drug possession charge." He argues that "legalization would unfortunately enhance or increase the number of those types of crimes."

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Fox: Media Should Focus On Terror Recovery, Not "Gratuitous" Victim Images

Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, writing in USA Today, sympathizes with Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who refused to appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" when the program said the names of the alleged bombers might be mentioned during the broadcast. Fox contends that "patently gratuitous are the countless photographs and videos of the two explosions and their immediate aftermath, highlighting mutilated limbs and terror-filled faces of stunned spectators" one year ago today.

Fox argues that television interviews asking Marathon viewers how they felt last April 15 "emphasize the wrong story, that of injury rather than recovery." It's much easier for media covering terrorism to show images like the collapse of the World Trade Center or students fleeing the rampage shooting at Colorado's Columbine High School, Fox says, rather than "complex tales of recovery and resilience [that] are more difficult to tell, particularly when audiences are easily distracted and drawn to negative news."

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Philadelphia To Limit Police Immigration "Holds" To Violent Felony Cases

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is expected to sign an executive order significantly limiting collaboration between the  police department and federal immigration authorities, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. The order would preclude police from honoring detainer requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement except in cases where a person is convicted of a first- or second-degree felony involving violence, and only when ICE secures a warrant to support the detainer.

ICE detainers or "holds" are requests by federal immigration authorities for police to hold a person who was detained for an alleged crime for up to an additional 48 hours. That would allow ICE to take the person - if suspected of being an undocumented immigrant or a noncitizen - into custody for possible deportation. Immigrant-rights advocates, who have worked for years to end ICE holds, hailed the expected order.

is expected to sign an executive order tomorrow that will significantly limit collaboration between Philadelphia police and federal immigration authorities.

The order is expected to preclude police from honoring detainer requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement except in cases where a person is convicted of a first- or second-degree felony involving violence, and only when ICE secures a warrant to support the detainer.

Michael Resnick, the city's director of public safety, had testified about that pending change at a City Council hearing last month. He did not return a call for comment late yesterday afternoon.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald would not comment yesterday on whether the mayor is going to sign the order tomorrow.

ICE detainers or "holds" are requests by federal immigration authorities for police to hold a person who was detained for an alleged crime for up to an additional 48 hours. That would allow ICE to take the person - if suspected of being an undocumented immigrant or a noncitizen - into their custody for possible deportation.

Immigrant-rights advocates, who have worked for years to end ICE holds, hailed the expected signing as a victory. "Historic Signing Ceremony to End ICE Holds!" exclaimed a headline yesterday in an email by the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia announcing tomorrow's signing event.


Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20140415_Mayor_expected_to_sign_order_curtailing_police-ICE_collaboration.html#BtXZzvJSi5X438lf.99

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Will Tsarnaev Use Mental Illness Defense In Marathon Bombing Case?

Nearly a year since police officers found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a suburban Boston backyard, hiding in a boat there, wounded by gunfire, he awaits a November trial on charges of taking part in the Boston Marathon bombing. He get many cards and letters in prison from backers who believe he is innocent, reports the New York Times. A federal court has given the two sides 19 months to prepare for a trial that the prosecution says could last three months.

Prosecutors argue that Tsarnaev poses a terrorist because he conspired to kill Americans, used Al Qaeda’s bomb-making instructions as a blueprint, shows no remorse and could have still-unknown conspirators awaiting a coded call to action. Ater his capture, “Tsarnaev reaffirmed his commitment to jihad and expressed hope that his actions would inspire others to engage in violent jihad,” the Justice Department stated in a court filing in August. Defense lawyers assert that prosecutors have offered no evidence that Tsarnaev is part of a foreign jihad network. The defense’s hiring of a mental health consultant may hint at an argument that he was mentally ill — and perhaps that he fell under the sway of his aggressive older brother, Tamerlan. Prosecutors have asked the defense to disclose whether it plans to present evidence at the trial that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had a mental ailment.

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Ohio Settles Federal Lawsuit, Will Cut Youth Isolation In State Prisons

The U.S. Justice Department and Ohio officials have reached an agreement that will reduce the amount of time spent in isolation by young people in state juvenile correctional facilities, reports the Sandusky Register. Last month, federal officials filed a lawsuit asserting that youths are being held in seclusion for significant periods of time at four locations. “Numerous national studies have established that seclusion of youth with mental health disorders even for short periods of time can severely harm youth,” said the lawsuit. One youth was in seclusion for 19 days, and another for 21 days.

The suit asked a court to end the practice of putting youths in seclusion for long periods of time and to provide better mental health treatment. Erie County Juvenile Court Judge Robert DeLamatre said the number of youth in state juvenile correctional facilities had declined dramatically, from about 2,300 in 2001 to 500 today. Ongoing litigation over the state system probably made some judges more reluctant to send youth into the state system, he said. “Certainly the lawsuit brought a spotlight on conditions, and things in the department that may be a little invisible to [judges.] We don’t know on a day to day business how that youth is being treated,” he said.

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Two CA Sex Offenders Wore GPS Bracelets When They Started Serial Killings

Two sex offenders charged with raping and murdering four Los Angeles-area women were wearing GPS monitoring bracelets for having assaulted children when they allegedly committed the serial killings that began last fall, says USA Today. Steven Dean Gordon, 45, and Franc Cano, 27, are registered sex offenders on parole for sexual acts with children younger than 14. The two transients were arrested Friday near an Anaheim, Ca., trash-sorting facility where the naked body of 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp was found on a conveyor belt last month.

They were charged with raping and killing her and three other women living in Orange County, all of whom had been involved in prostitution. Police said they were "confident" there is a fifth victim and possibly more. Police said location data from the electronic monitors and the women's cellphone records have helped the investigation.

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