Probe Finds Flaws, Fees in Court Diversion Programs

Diversion programs that gained popularity in the 1970s are now experiencing a resurgence, as many states respond to tough-on-crime policies by reducing nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors. Run by courts, prosecutors and sometimes law enforcement, the programs channel offenders into services meant to address the root causes of their conduct, such as substance abuse or mental illness, allowing them to avoid conviction.

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District attorney adds human-trafficking expert

Two years after creating a dedicated human-trafficking unit, District Attorney George Brauchler has hired a recognized expert to help lead it.

Denver police veteran Daniel Steele joins the team as a criminal investigator with more than 20 years of experience. At DPD, he worked with the FBI to found the Rocky Mountain
Innocence Lost Task Force, which he supervised for five years. It included coordinated efforts by federal, state and local law enforcement.

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Does New Neighborhood Watch Reduce Crime Or Create Resident-Cops?

On the Far North Side, about 70 members of a controversial new community watch group walk the West Rogers Park neighborhood in orange jackets that were paid for, in part, by the Chicago Police Department.

The police sergeant who spearheaded the effort sees the watch as a way for residents to work together to reduce property crime in their neighborhood.

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Attorney leadership role leads Polikov to inner sanctum


Persistence is a virtue, Lee Polikov might have thought in March as he sat around a table at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., discussing issues with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Polikov’s road to one of the inner sanctums of American power had been long, and fueled by years-long concern that law enforcement is losing ground to innovative criminal defense attorneys and to civil rights organizations who devise ever more creative ways to challenge evidentiary procedures and other tools of the prosecutorial trade.

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Jailhouse informants have a powerful incentive to help, or hurt, a criminal case: Freedom


Jamison Bell is a good listener.

In the recreation yard of the Pinellas County Jail, one inmate told him
about stabbing a neighbor at a mobile home park. Inside a cell, another
confided in Bell that he killed a man who owed him money for cocaine.

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Nevada likely to become second state to require police body cameras


Police officers in the state of Nevada may soon be required to wear body cameras under
a measure that was sent on Thursday to Governor Brian Sandoval for his signature.
The proposal, approved by the state legislature, would make Nevada the second state
in the in the country to mandate that state and local police use body cameras. North
Carolina passed a similar requirement in 2015.

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New DNA collection links inmate to four rapes in Omaha in the early 2000s

OWH 6/13/17

Turns out, there’s a reason authorities want felons’ DNA.

A recent push by Douglas County prosecutors to have prison officials collect the DNA of refusing prisoners netted a huge result Monday:

Tests have connected a child rapist now in prison to the serial rapes of four young women in Omaha in the early 2000s, prosecutors say.

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Experts weigh in on police training, use of Tasers during encounters with the mentally ill

OWH 6/11/17

Slow down. Give the person space. Talk to him respectfully.

That’s how police are advised to respond to an uncooperative person — someone like Zachary Bearheels — who is mentally ill. The primary goal: De-escalate the situation.

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Corrections officials say they have reduced number of inmates who have refused to provide DNA samples to 13 from 78

OWH 06/09/17

Nebraska prison officials say the number of inmates refusing to provide DNA samples has dropped to just 13 — as the State Corrections Department works to remedy missteps 20 years in the making.

After a World-Herald investigation in April, department officials said 78 inmates had refused to comply with a 20-year-old state law requiring all convicted felons to submit their DNA into a database that can help clear unsolved crimes.

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Ideal Conceal: Gun that looks like smartphone to hit the market this summer

A pistol the size of your smartphone could be available to the public as soon as this summer. The concept is called “Ideal Conceal.”

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