Nevada — Prisoners who state officials call “the most disruptive and the most dangerous” are being transferred to Saguaro Correctional Center, a private prison operated by CoreCivic in Arizona, Civic Beat reports. The Nevada prisoners will join about 1,600 Hawaii prisoners housed there. A two-year contract for moving 200 prisoners totals $9.2 million.
Bremerton, Wash.— The state’s highest court has ruled that Tarra Simmons, who was convicted of theft and drug crimes in 2011, should be allowed to take the state bar exam after she graduated from Seattle University Law School, The Associated Press reports.
Seattle, Wash. — The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last March on behalf of a mother whose son was repeatedly placed in solitary for minor infractions, The Associated Press reports. Grays Harbor County has agreed to pay the mother $45,000 and to make policy changes to settle the lawsuit. The judge overseeing the county’s juvenile detention policies says the new policies are not any stricter than the old ones.
Sacramento — Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that was introduced by Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, upgrading some prosecutorial misconduct from a misdemeanor to a felony, Criminal Legal News reports. Under the law, signed in 2016, a prosecutor can be sentenced to up to three years in prison for altering or intentionally withholding evidence that could help exonerate a defendant.
San Jose — Danielle Burfine won a settlement of $6.7 million for a federal civil rights lawsuit from the city of Santa Clara, Criminal Legal News reports. Police body cam footage dated April 12, 2016, shows police, without a warrant, kicking open her locked front door and throwing her to the ground, breaking her ankle. Police were attempting to arrest Burfine’s teenage daughter, who was suspected of arson at her high school.
Las Vegas — State officials are going to a combination of drugs for executions, “including a powerful painkiller that is fueling much of the nation’s opioid epidemic and a paralyzing drug that could mask any signs of trouble,” The Associated Press reports. “It’s an experiment,” said Deborah Denno, a law professor and lethal injection expert at Fordham University in New York. “It sounds like a high-risk venture.” None of the drugs—the sedative diazepam, the painkiller fentanyl and the paralytic cisatracurium—has been used in executions before, AP reports.
Texas— The cities of Hurst, Euless and Bedford, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region have created Behavioral Intervention Units. They deploy teams of clinicians and cops, who patrol each weekday seeking out those with mental illness to intervene before there is a crisis, according to The Crime Report.
Harris County, Tex. —Since the nation’s highest court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County has sentenced 126 people to death. The county accounts for 23 percent of the 545 people sentenced to execution in the state, NBC News reports. In 2017, however, the county known as the “death penalty capital of the world” and the “buckle of the American death belt” sentenced no one to death.
Indiana—The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit vacated a death sentence, finding that requiring the defendant to wear a stun belt at trial contaminated the penalty phase, Criminal Legal News reports. Stephenson v. Neal, 865 F.3d 956 (7th Cir. 2017).
Ohio— Alva Campbell Jr. received a rare reprieve from his scheduled execution when medical personnel were unable to locate a vein for the three-drug cocktail used as part of the lethal injection process, Cox Media Group reports. His new execution date was scheduled for June 15, 2019.
Wisconsin—The state’s prison population has more than tripled since 1990, according to corrections officials. A new set of bills aims to reduce the state’s prison population by changing parole violation restrictions, expanding the state’s earned release program and re-purposing a youth prison, Wisconsin Public Radio reports.
Pennsylvania—The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that when the prosecution knowingly presents or fails to correct perjured testimony, the defendant is entitled to relief upon establishing a reasonable likelihood the false testimony could have affected the jury’s judgment and does not have to show “actual prejudice,” Criminal Legal News reports. Haskell v. Superintendent Greene SCI, 866 F.3d 139, (3d Cir. 2017).