- - Wednesday, May 25, 2011


450 high-risk parolees freed without supervision

SACRAMENTO — California improperly freed more than 450 dangerous criminals without supervision last year as part of a controversial parole program designed to reduce prison crowding and cost, the California prison system’s independent inspector general said in a report Wednesday.

A faulty computerized risk-assessment program predicted the offenders could be released under the state’s nonrevocable parole law that took effect in January 2010.

The inspector general found that about 1,500 offenders were improperly released, including 450 who “carry a high risk for violence.”

The law was designed for less-serious offenders. Under nonrevocable parole, offenders don’t report to parole agents and can’t be sent back to prison unless they commit new crimes.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said it relied heavily on a computerized program because it needed to review the criminal histories of more than 160,000 inmates and more than 100,000 offenders on parole.


Study: High blood pressure widespread in young adults

CHICAGO — Nearly one in five young U.S. adults may have high blood pressure, researchers said Wednesday in a study suggesting the problem of hypertension is more widespread than previously thought.

Hypertension is easy to prevent and inexpensive to treat through diet, exercise and drugs, yet it is the second-leading cause of death in the United States. The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences that often conducts studies for the government, last year declared high blood pressure a “neglected disease” that costs the U.S. health system $73 billion a year.

The latest findings by a team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are in sharp contrast to a federal government study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that suggested only 4 percent of young adults might have high blood pressure, a condition that raises the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Both studies used the same definition of hypertension: A blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 millimeters of mercury or more. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120 over 80 or lower.


Kerrigan’s brother acquitted in father’s death

WOBURN — The brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was acquitted Wednesday of manslaughter in the death of their 70-year-old father by a jury that apparently agreed with his defense that the elder man died of heart disease, not from a scuffle between the two.

Mark Kerrigan, 46, was convicted, though, of a misdemeanor assault and battery charge in a January 2010 altercation with Daniel Kerrigan at the family’s home in Stoneham, just north of Boston.

Nancy Kerrigan and her mother, Brenda, embraced and cried after the verdict was read; the skater had supported her brother and attended every day of the nine-day trial in Woburn Superior Court.


New house arrest spot chosen for ex-IMF leader

NEW YORK — A new, more permanent location has been found for Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s house arrest while the former International Monetary Fund leader awaits trial on attempted rape charges, court officials said Wednesday.

Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver did not specify where the new housing would be or when the one-time French presidential contender would be moved. He said the judge had agreed to the new location. Attorneys in the case filed court papers Wednesday, but the judge did not release them.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, would not comment.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn is free on $1 million bail and under house arrest in a temporary apartment in Lower Manhattan. He was jailed for about a week after he was arrested May 14 following accusations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in his room at the Sofitel near Manhattan’s Times Square. His attorneys maintain Mr. Strauss-Kahn is not guilty.


Former street preacher gets life in Smart case

SALT LAKE CITY — A former street preacher was sentenced to life in federal prison for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart.

Before the sentencing Wednesday, Miss Smart told Brian David Mitchell that she will have a good life despite what he did to her.

Miss Smart also said she knows that Mitchell is aware that what he did was wrong, and that he took away nine months of her life that can never be returned.

Miss Smart spoke for less than a minute with Mitchell in court.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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