News in Brief
Jamaica: Three prisoners convicted of robbing Italian tourists were sentenced to a flogging and 18 months in prison. Floggings are administered with a kerosene soaked switch in Jamaica. The punishment is seen as an effort by the Jamaican government to deal with a rising crime rate, after the highly publicized killing of a Florida tourist last year. That incident led to a dramatic drop off in Jamaica's billion dollar tourist industry.
Indiana: The Hendricks County probation office has installed a special sensor into the telephone mouthpiece of probationers convicted of alcohol convicted crimes. If the probationer answers the phone after drinking alcohol the sensor sends a signal to the probation officer's computer which alerts a probation officer who goes to the residence and conducts an alcohol test. The device is used in conjunction with electronic monitoring devices and the probationer is not told about the sensor in the phone. Participants pay $3 to $25 a day to use the phones, depending on their income. The $160,000 system has caught nine drinkers to date.
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia judge Ricardo Jackson added 35 to 70 years to the sentence of Derrick Shaw who called the judge a "house nigger." Shaw was initially sentenced to 7 to 15 years for armed robbery and kidnapping. After cursing the judge, he was called back to the court and resentenced to 42 to 85 years. Both men are black.
South Korea: On October 6, 1994, the South Korean government hanged fifteen prisoners, all of whom had been convicted of murder, in a "crime crackdown." The executions were the first in 22 months and were carried out in Seoul and two other cities. 42 prisoners remain on South Korea's death row.
Colombia: A prisoner sentenced and convicted of assassinating then Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla in 1984, was spotted partying in a fancy Bogota disco with several other prisoners after an anonymous caller tipped prosecutors. Prosecutors raided La Picota prison in Bogota where the prisoners were supposedly confined and found their cells locked and empty. Guards blamed each other for the prisoners' absence. The seven prisoners returned to their cells, drunk, the next morning. Two guards were arrested.
Virginia: Clark County Circuit Judge James Berry denied Oliver North a concealed weapons permit stating that North's felony convictions arising out of the Iran-Contra escapades showed he was "not of good character."
Illinois: Joe Burrows was released from prison after spending 5 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. Prosecutors concealed evidence from the defense indicating that the lead witness against Burrows had confessed to the crime. Since 1970 about 50 people have been freed from death row after their convictions were thrown out, usually because they were innocent of the crime they were convicted of.
Washington: The National Rifle Association (NRA) has donated $10,000 to the "Hard Time for Armed Crime" initiative 159 (See PLN, Vol. 5. No. 8) in an effort to get it onto the November 1995 ballot or present it to the legislature before then.