National District Attorneys Association Newsclips Congressional by fionan


									         National District Attorneys Association Newsclips
                                    June 19, 2009

2009 NDAA Summer Conference
July 12-15, 2009
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                           Congressional Hearings
Thursday, June 25: Senate Judiciary, Hearing on “The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes
Prevention Act of 2009”
                           Today’s Clip Headlines
   •   BJA Opened The New Northern Border Prosecution Initiative
   •   Justices Reject Inmate Right to DNA Tests
   •   Man Accused Of Posing As An Assistant Genesee County Prosecutor
   •   Supreme Court Makes Age-Bias Suits Harder To Win
   •   Senator’s Plan: Hidden Guns, No Background Checks
   •   Bill To Ban Cell Phones Gains Support
   •   New Florida Law Takes Aim At Illegal Pill Trade
   •   Sex Offenders Calling State Office, Asking For Advice On New Law
   •   Limit On Cell-Phone Use Wanes In Committee
   •   Top Mass. Court To Review Gun Lock Law
   •   Report Calls For Overhaul Of Drug Crime Policies
   •   More Criminal Activity Common During Recession, Officials Say
   •   Michigan Troopers To Vote On Furloughs To Save Jobs
   •   Santa Fe Murders Prompt New Push For ‘Fetal Homicide’ Law
   •   Lawmaker: DA’s Office Used Intimidation
   •   New State Laws Target Gang Activity
   •   Assembly Bill Would Raise Penalties For Violence At Abortion Clinics
   •   Lobbying Intensifies, but Fate of Sex Abuse Bill Is Up in the Air
   •   Legislators Ask Universities To Lift Licensed Gun Ban
   •   Court Rejects 2 Phila. Gun Controls, Allows 3
   •   Sex Workers Testify At Senate Hearing On Prostitution Bill

                          Clip Synopses and Links
BJA Opened The New Northern Border Prosecution Initiative

Today, BJA opened the new Northern Border Prosecution Initiative (NBPI); which was
authorized under the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act to reimburse State, county,
parish, tribal, or municipal governments in Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota,
Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont,
Washington, and Wisconsin for costs associated with the prosecution of criminal cases
declined by local offices of the United States Attorneys.

To be eligible for NBPI funding, an applicant must have federally initiated and referred
criminal cases that were prosecuted at the state or county level and disposed of during the
eligibility period (October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008). Applicants that provide
pre-trial detention for defendants are also eligible for funds. In these situations, each
defendant represents a separate case. Federally referred cases that are declined and not
prosecuted by state or county prosecutors are ineligible.

Eligible applicants will be asked to submit an electronic application via the new NBPI
website ( by 8PM Eastern Daylight Time on July 30,
2009. The application will include a simple matrix, designed to help applicants quickly
quantify their eligible cases and requested level of reimbursement. One-time payments
will be made through electronic funds transfer once applications are reviewed and
approved by BJA.

For more detailed NBPI guidance, please refer to the newly created NBPI website:
( Applicants that have questions may contact technical
NBPI support staff at: 1-866-817-9274 or

From Jim Fox, San Mateo County, CA ( A word of caution
regarding this funding. There has been a similar program for the Southwest Boarder
Project. There were several counties in California that submitted claims for compensation
which were paid and subsequently disallowed. There has been a requirement that the
Federal Government be reimbursed the amount of disallowed claims, which in some
cases is over $1 Million. Please use caution to guarantee that the claims are proper, which
means the investigation was initiated by a Federal Law Enforcement Agency and there
was either an express declination by the US Attorney or there is a policy in effect which
results in declination. If a local prosecutor then assumes the case and prosecutes, there is
reimbursement, including cost of incarceration by local authorities.

New York Times
Justices Reject Inmate Right to DNA Tests

Prisoners have no constitutional right to DNA testing that might prove their innocence,
the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a 5-to-4 decision.

The court divided along familiar ideological lines, with the majority emphasizing that 46
states already have laws that allow at least some prisoners to gain access to DNA

“To suddenly constitutionalize this area,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the
majority, “would short-circuit what looks to be a prompt and considered legislative

In a dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the Constitution’s due process clause required
allowing Mr. Osborne to have access to DNA evidence in his case.
Man Accused Of Posing As An Assistant Genesee County Prosecutor

First, the ex-con got an official Flint police officer uniform from the city.
Then, he drove a pretend police car.
Then he tried to help his buddy beat a domestic violence rap by pretending to be an
assistant Genesee County prosecutor and trying to convince a witness to leave court.

Dustin D. McFadden is a con man who pretends to be people he isn’t, says Genesee
County Prosecutor David S. Leyton.

McFadden’s case has prompted the city to review its policy on allowing film companies
to borrow items; background checks will likely be required in the future.
That’s because McFadden, 38, told police he was on his way to the set of “Minor League:
A Football Story” in late April when he was pulled over in his 2002 police-style Ford
Crown Victoria. Mt. Morris Township police pulled him over because they saw police-
style lights on his dashboard and had gotten reports about a possible fake police car in the
They were right: The car was tricked out with magnetic Flint police decals and red and
blue dashboard lights.
McFadden also was wearing a Flint police uniform complete with badge, handcuffs and a
plastic replica pistol in a holster.
He had apparently been picked as an extra for the “Minor League” movie that was being
filmed in Flint and the uniform was supposed to be his costume. The city supplied police
uniforms and other items for the film.

Los Angeles Times
Supreme Court Makes Age-Bias Suits Harder To Win

The justices, overturning a jury award won by a 54-year-old who was demoted, say
workers bear the full burden of proof.

With workplace age-discrimination claims rising rapidly, the Supreme Court made it
much harder Thursday for older workers to win in court.

The 5-4 decision reversed a long-standing rule. Many federal appellate courts had
decided that if a worker could show age was one of the factors in a layoff or demotion,
then the employer was required to prove it had a legitimate reason for its action apart
from age.

Arizona Daily Star
Senator’s Plan: Hidden Guns, No Background Checks
Goddard: ‘a radical and very dangerous change in state law’

If you’re 18 and have never been convicted of a crime, a law set for debate today would
let you carry a concealed weapon without having to get the background check, training
and proficiency test now required.

Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said she believes all Arizonans should have the right to
defend themselves. Allen, who does have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed gun,
said she does not believe the permit makes gun owners any safer.

Allen’s proposal, SB 1270, does not do away with the concealed weapon permits. In fact,
it actually would give those who do decide to get a permit the right to carry a gun into
places now off-limits, ranging from school campuses in certain circumstances to various
public events and buildings, including, as the measure is now worded, the public gallery
of the state Senate.

The News Journal (New Castle-Wilmington)
Bill To Ban Cell Phones Gains Support
Measure would ban drivers’ use even of hands-free devices

Last year, there were 258 crashes reported in Delaware involving cell phone use -- up
slightly from 2007, said Andrea Summers of the state Office of Highway Safety. Two
resulted in deaths, she said.

In Dover, debate has intensified about whether to ban cell phone use while driving.

California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Washington state and the District of
Columbia have made it illegal for motorists to use hand-held cell phones.

The Miami Herald
New Florida Law Takes Aim At Illegal Pill Trade

Florida will launch a new program to monitor prescription drug sales next year to crack
down on illegal pills under a bill signed by the governor.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday signed legislation aimed at curbing the growing black
market of illegal prescription drugs flowing from South Florida pain clinics across the
eastern United States.

The new law, passed nearly unanimously in the Legislature, will require doctors and

pharmacists to record patient prescriptions for most drugs in a state-controlled database.

This would allow healthcare professionals -- and police and regulators, in some
circumstances -- to detect patients who go to multiple doctors seeking pills, a practice
known as ``doctor shopping.’’

Radio Iowa
Sex Offenders Calling State Office, Asking For Advice On New Law

Staff in the Iowa Department of Public Safety are busy fielding phone calls from sex
offenders concerned about new restrictions on loitering that go into effect July 1st.

According to Jim Saunders of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, sex offenders
are asking whether they can attend their child’s baseball game, for example.

A new state law sets up “exclusionary zones” where registered sex offenders may not
loiter. The zones are in and around places where children gather -- like schools,
swimming pools, video arcades and parks. The new restrictions replace a law which
stipulated convicted sex offenders couldn’t live within two-thousand feet of a school.
That living restriction is still in place for the most dangerous offenders, but all others
listed on the state’s sex offender registry are now on notice that they cannot loiter in
places where children typically gather.

The Advocate (Baton Rouge)
Limit On Cell-Phone Use Wanes In Committee

A bill to ban use of hand-held cellular phones while driving died Thursday in a state
Senate committee.

Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans and sponsor of the bill, asked that his measure be
shelved in the Senate Transportation Committee.

The panel does not plan to meet again before adjournment on Thursday.

Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth and chairman of the committee, said data that the
committee asked for last week on hands-free versus hand-held cell phones would not be
McPherson said lawmakers needed that information before they acted on the proposal.

Boston Herald
Top Mass. Court To Review Gun Lock Law

Massachusetts’ highest court plans to review the constitutionality of state law that
requires gun owners to lock their weapons.

The Supreme Judicial Court decided to look at the law after a District Court judge cited a
U.S. Supreme Court decision in dismissing firearms charges against a Billerica man who
had been accused of keeping unlocked weapons.

That decision said the District of Columbia could not require gun owners to keep their
weapons disassembled and the Second Amendment gives people the right to keep and
bear arms.

The Middlesex district attorney’s office argues the Constitution allows states to make
their own gun laws. The Boston Globe reports that the Billerica man’s lawyer says the
Second Amendment applies to Massachusetts as much as the rest of the Constitution.

The Boston Globe
Report Calls For Overhaul Of Drug Crime Policies

The Massachusetts Bar Association, in a wide-ranging report released yesterday, called
for the overhaul and reexamination of law enforcement efforts to combat drug use and the
penalties nonviolent drug users face under current laws.

The report, titled “The Failure of the War on Drugs: Charting a New Course for the
Commonwealth,’’ says its recommendations could save the state $25 million annually
through reduced minimum sentencing and the parole of nonviolent drug offenders,
according to a statement from the bar association.

The report calls drug policies obsolete. “What appears to the task force as obsolete in
state drug policy is the idea of using the criminal justice system to control what people
consume,’’ it says.

The Gazette (Gaithersburg)
More Criminal Activity Common During Recession, Officials Say
Lawmaker cautions against cracking down on perceived problem

In the 18 months since the current economic recession started, law enforcement
departments across the state have reported increases in offenses commonly classified as
crimes of opportunity: vehicle thefts, smash-and-grabs from cars, home invasions and
scams that prey on the elderly.

Desperate times lead desperate people to do desperate things, one state legislator said.

The Detroit News
Michigan Troopers To Vote On Furloughs To Save Jobs

Michigan State Police troopers will vote over the next week on whether to sacrifice some
of their own pay in order to at least temporarily avoid the layoffs of 100 troopers.

The troopers’ union said Thursday it will send out ballots to its members to decide
whether they will accept unpaid furlough time in exchange for keeping the 100 troopers
on the road until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Each trooper would give up nearly 37 hours of pay over a six-week period, or about six
hours of pay each week.

New Mexico Independent
Santa Fe Murders Prompt New Push For ‘Fetal Homicide’ Law
Such laws are often used against pregnant women, advocates say

The brutal murder of a pregnant Santa Fe teenager has reopened a debate over how to
properly punish such crimes. It has also prompted supporters of a “fetal homicide” bill to
announce plans to introduce it again in the next session of the New Mexico Legislature.

Women’s rights groups say they’re hesitant to support such a law because it could be
used against pregnant women and discourage domestic violence victims from coming
forward and seeking help.

Most crimes of this nature are prosecuted under state law, and according to the National
Conference of State Legislatures, at least 36 states have fetal homicide laws (variously
known as the Fetal Protection Act, the Preborn Victims of Violence Act and the Unborn
Victim of Violence Act). Some laws apply to the killing of a fetus at any time after
conception, while others only apply to a fetus that is capable of surviving outside the

Las Vegas Sun
Lawmaker: DA’s Office Used Intimidation
State senator says it tried to head off his testimony

State Sen. Dennis Nolan has filed a sworn affidavit accusing the district attorney’s office
of intimidating him into tempering his testimony for a family friend accused of sexual

The three-page affidavit is the heart of a motion for a new trial for 27-year-old Gordon

Joseph Lawes, who was convicted in District Court in July despite Nolan’s testifying on
Lawes’ behalf.

“Sen. Nolan’s affidavit details how the state embarked on a course of outrageous conduct
that involved witness pressure and intimidation at its best, extortion at its worse,” Deputy
Public Defender Abel Yanez wrote in his motion.

In his affidavit, Nolan, a two-term Las Vegas Republican up for reelection in 2010, said
he felt threatened by an investigator with the district attorney’s office after he was listed
as a character witness a few days before the trial.

The Las Vegas Review Journal
New State Laws Target Gang Activity
Recruitment can result in felony conviction

During the 2009 legislative session, Nevada lawmakers cracked down on gang members
trying to recruit minors and required school districts to establish policies barring criminal
gang activity on school grounds.

Senate Bill 142, approved by legislators and signed by Gov. Jim Gibbons, criminalizes
recruitment of minors into gangs, making it a low-level felony. Convicted offenders
could be imprisoned for one to four years and face fines of up to $5,000.

The measure states that adult gang members who use or threaten violence against minors
to coerce them to join, remain in or rejoin a gang can be convicted under the new law, set
to take effect Oct. 1.

The Buffalo News
Assembly Bill Would Raise Penalties For Violence At Abortion Clinics

Three weeks after a Kansas abortion doctor was murdered, legislation has been
introduced at the state Capitol to increase penalties for acts of physical violence against
abortion clinic workers, volunteers and patients.

“By heightening the legal penalties for those who commit such destructive, violent acts,
this bill will serve to discourage anti-abortion radicals,” said Lynne Slepian, whose
husband, Dr. Barnett Slepian, was shot to death in 1998 in his Amherst home by an
abortion opponent.

The new legislation builds on a clinic-access law enacted after Slepian’s murder to
include new felony-level penalties for causing physical injuries to workers and patients at
abortion clinics. For the first time, it adds new penalties for injuring volunteers who often
serve as escorts for women through protest lines at clinics.

The New York Times
Lobbying Intensifies, but Fate of Sex Abuse Bill Is Up in the Air

The bill has been amended twice in recent weeks to mollify opponents, and one of those
amendments effectively cut Ms. McCabe out by setting an age limit of 53 for those who
could file suits. She is 60.

It has been scheduled for a vote in the Assembly three times in the last week, and
postponed at the last minute three times. A chaotic leadership battle in the Senate is partly
to blame. Intense lobbying against the bill by the Catholic Church and some Orthodox
Jewish groups has played a part, too: Lawmakers backing the legislation have defected,
then been re-enlisted by the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Margaret M. Markey, in
middle-of-the-night meetings.

The Oregonian
Legislators Ask Universities To Lift Licensed Gun Ban

Thirty-four Oregon legislators signed a letter today asking the state’s university system to
lift its gun ban and allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed guns on public

The letter to Chancellor George Pernsteiner says the seven-university system has delayed
resolving a long-standing conflict between the policy and state law.

“We would hate to see protracted litigation which would come at great expense to
taxpayers,” the letter says.

Oregon law allows carrying licensed concealed guns in most public places, but the seven
universities do not allow weapons on campus. The policy came under fire this year after a
Western Oregon University student was suspended for violating the weapons ban.

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Court Rejects 2 Phila. Gun Controls, Allows 3

Two key provisions of Philadelphia’s latest attempt to impose local gun controls -
banning assault weapons and “straw purchases” of handguns - were invalidated yesterday
by a state appeals court.

Following judicial precedent that doomed previous Philadelphia gun-control laws,
Commonwealth Court held that the state Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that only the
legislature has the authority to enact gun laws. Counties and municipal governments are
out of luck.

But the 6-1 majority in Commonwealth Court affirmed part of the 2008 decision of then-
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan and allowed three other
provisions. They require reporting lost or stolen handguns, allow temporary seizure of
guns by police after probable cause is demonstrated, and bar gun ownership by people
subject to protection-from-abuse orders.

The Providence Journal
Sex Workers Testify At Senate Hearing On Prostitution Bill

The hearing was on a bill (S-5496) introduced by Sen. Paul V. Jabour, D-Providence, to
make prostitution a crime, regardless of where it occurs.

It’s one of two bills to outlaw indoor prostitution that are pending in the General
Assembly. The other bill, (H-5044 Sub A) introduced by Rep. Joanne M. Giannini, D-
Providence, in May, passed the House by a vote of 62 to 8. It has yet to be scheduled for
a hearing in the Senate.

NDAA 2009 Summer Conference
July 12-15, 2009
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

26th Annual Convention
National Black Prosecutors Association
July 19−25, 2009
Memphis, Tennessee

Trial Advocacy II
June 22−26, 2009
National Advocacy Center

Unsafe Havens I: Prosecuting Online Crimes Against Children
July 27 - 31, 2009
Chicago, Illinois

Prosecuting Drug Cases
September 13-17, 2009
San Diego, California


5th National Community Prosecution Conference
October 6-8, 2009
Los Angeles, California

National Conference on Domestic Violence
October 31 – November 4, 2009
San Antonio, Texas

The Executive Program
October 24-28, 2009
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Prosecuting Homicide Cases
November 8-12, 2009
San Francisco, California

Forensic Evidence
December 6-10, 2009
San Diego, California

Prosecuting Sexual Assaults
December 6-10, 2009
Washington, D.C.

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