Another CA City Blames Crime Rise on Prop. 47: Crime increased in Red Bluff, Calif., in 2015 according to the police department's 2015 annual report, and the city's chief of police suspects Proposition 47 is the reason. Joe Szydlowski of the Redding Record Searchlight reports that major violent and property crimes rose 12.6% in 2015, with a 28% spike in simple assaults and a 17.6% increase in thefts. Domestic violence calls also jumped 16% and arrests rose 42%, which may be because more people who used to be incarcerated are now out in the community, says Kyle Sanders, the city's police chief. Burglaries did decrease, but Sanders thinks it is likely due to some burglaries being charged as thefts under the voter-approved measure. Prop. 47 passed in Nov. 2014 and reduced several felonies to misdemeanors. Sanders notes that Red Bluff experienced three years of consistency in major crime data and saw the dramatic spike in crime after Prop. 47's implementation.
Fla. High Court Weighs Death Penalty Law: The Florida Supreme Court is reviewing the state's death penalty law Thursday to decide whether the U.S. Supreme Court's January ruling, that the state's system is unconstitutional, should be applied retroactively to already-sentenced death row inmates. Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Jan. 12 ruling was brought on by the case of Timothy Lee Hurst, who is on death row for the 1998 murder of his co-worker. Justices ruled that Florida's death sentencing system was unconstitutional because it gave too little power to juries and ordered the Florida Supreme Court to review Hurst's sentence. Assistant Attorney General Carine Mitz argues that Hurst should still be eligible for execution because the Legislature addressed the defects of the old law. The new law requires juries to agree on one aggravating factor in order to apply capital punishment. There are currently 390 inmates on Florida's death row.