Week ending Feb. 28, 2016

IN COURT

Federal grand jury indicts man shot by Salt Lake City policy by Michael McFall, The Salt Lake Tribune

“A man who was shot by Salt Lake City police has been indicted in federal court. On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted Palm Samiuela Lautaimi, 28, with two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.”

UTAH BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

Man who committed violent Arby’s robbery to stay in prison, but son will be released by Pat Reavy, Deseret News

“Richard D. Lawrimore will be released from prison. But his father, Richard L. Lawrimore, will not. In 1996, the Lawrimores were convicted of attempting to kill three employees of an East Millcreek Arby’s restaurant while robbing the store.”

SENTENCING REFORM

Opinion: Congress should follow Utah’s lead on sentencing reform by Nathan Crane, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Mass incarceration in this country has become an epidemic over the past 30 years. One of the major factors that have contributed to this widespread problem has been the war on drugs. Mandatory minimum statutes were created as part of the war on drugs and, as a result, prisons have been inundated with thousands of non-violent low-level drug offenders.”

UTAH LEGISLATURE

Advocate opposed to life without parole for youth asks legislators to give children a chance by McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

“Carried by testimony of reform from a juvenile justice advocate who was convicted of murder when he was just 13, legislative committee members unanimously advanced a bill that would prohibit sending youth offenders to prison without a possibility of parole.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

Prisoners in the Hands of an Angry God: A Conversation About Religion and Reform by Andrew Aghapour and Stephanie Gaskill, Religion Dispatches

“What does a religion have to do with prison reform? In a recent study, cited in Newsweek, researchers concluded that “belief in a vengeful God,” for example, makes people less likely to support the re-integration of former prisoners into society.”

Kansas senators adopt bill overhauling juvenile justice system by Tim Carpenter, The Topeka Capital-Journal

“A near-majority in the Kansas Senate voted Tuesday for legislation overhauling the state’s juvenile justice system to reduce incarceration of low-risk offenders and shift millions of dollars into community programs to counter recidivism.”

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Drain Judicial Discretion. What Are Judges to Do? by Matthew Van Meter, The Atlantic

“Judge John Coughenour is a rebel. It’s not because—or not only because—he rides a Harley or spends his free time in prisons. It’s that the Reagan-appointed U.S. District Court judge has rebelled against federal sentencing guidelines ever since they were established in the mid-1980s.”

Letters: For Inmates, a Step Up with College, The New York Times

Raising Age of Majority Doesn’t Affect Teen Crime Rates, Penn Research Shows, Penn News

“In the criminal justice world, there’s an ongoing debate about whether to increase the age of majority, the point at which an adolescent can no longer be tried in the juvenile legal system and instead must be tried as an adult.”

Enhancements Leave Thousands of California Inmates With Extraordinarily Long Sentences by Stephen Stock, Michael Bott and Mark Villareal, NBC Bay Area

“An investigation into California’s criminal sentencing structure by NBC Bay Area discovered tens of thousands of convicted criminals serving time in prison longer than the sentence for their original, underlying crime, all because of California’s system of sentence enhancements.”

Opinion: Louisiana gives former inmates little chance to start over by Cedric Richmond, NOLA.com

“Imagine you are playing basketball, and you commit a foul.  Instead of the other team taking the ball out, you are removed from the game. When you are finally allowed to come back into the game you now have to play with one hand tied behind your back.”

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