California's Brown Shifts Gears in Debate Over Prisons
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
CRIME LABS: Crime investigation laboratories in many states are already overworked and underfunded, with long delays common before evidence can be examined. But the problem is likely to get worse. In Alabama , state budget cuts mean that three satellite crime labs will close, The Associated Press reports . Staff at the three facilities will be merged with forensic experts elsewhere in the state. Meanwhile, the AP says the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, which runs the labs, hopes to cut costs further "by discontinuing the processing of crime scene evidence."
GUNS ON CAMPUS: Adam Winkler is a UCLA law professor who, like many in higher education, has a gut feeling that allowing guns on college campuses is a bad idea. Even so, Winkler writes in a New York Times op-ed , "there is little evidence to support my gut feeling." In the piece, Winkler argues that state laws allowing guns on campus - such as the one Arizona is considering - may not be the invitation to gun violence that detractors suggest. Utah , Winkler notes, has permitted guns on campus since 2006, but there has been no increase in campus violence since the measure took effect. At the same time, he says, state laws allowing guns on campus are unlikely to "discourage mass murderers," either. "Gun violence at colleges and universities...will probably not be affected much one way or another" by new state laws regarding guns on campus, Winkler contends.
ROMEO AND JULIET: Teenagers who have consensual sex but are charged with a crime for doing it will not have to register as sex offenders under legislation awaiting the signature of Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan . The so-called "Romeo and Juliet" exception seeks to protect minors who engage in consensual acts but currently can be charged with statutory rape under state law as a result of their age. Because Michigan's sex offender registry does not include details of the crime each offender committed, these minors are grouped together on a public database with pedophiles and other, far more serious criminals, The Detroit Free Press notes . The new law would change that.