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Latest news: 07-13-2010

As court cases skyrocket, kids go without help

IN - Hoosier children who find themselves in court because of abuse or neglect are supposed to be given a "Court Appointed Special Advocate"-- or CASA-- volunteer. But more and more of them are going without someone to speak on their behalf because the number of cases is skyrocketing. Draper says the number of court cases they're dealing with has gone up 80 percent since last year. In all of 2009 they had about 450 new cases. So far this year, they've already reached 400. She says one reason is that drugs like meth are causing more children to be abused and neglected.

Full story, from WFIE-TV

New meth cooking method challenges law enforcement

OK - Oklahoma has done as much as any state to battle the proliferation of methamphetamine in its cities and towns, and yet there are miles to go before anyone will be able to claim victory against the scourge of this inexpensive and highly addictive drug. Oklahoma's action was driven in part by the deaths of law officers killed in the line of duty by meth heads, particularly that of Trooper Nikky Green. On the morning after Christmas in 2003, Green came across a mobile meth lab in southwestern Oklahoma, not far from his home. He tried to make an arrest at the scene — the suspect was a known meth cook — but following a struggle Green wound up being executed with his own weapon.

Full story, The Oklahoman

D.A.'s office drops bid to scrap judge's ruling

CA - San Francisco prosecutors have essentially scuttled an effort to persuade one San Francisco judge to undermine another's scathing opinion against District Attorney Kamala Harris in a case related to the city's drug lab scandal. At issue is San Francisco Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo's ruling in May that found prosecutors at the "highest levels" kept information about the dysfunctional crime lab from defense attorneys, a move that violated defendants' rights. Attorneys for Francisco Hernandez, 32 - who has been jailed since last year on charges of possessing methamphetamine and marijuana for sale and other gang charges - went to court armed with that ruling. They said former lab technician Deborah Madden, who is accused of skimming drugs at the lab, reviewed the test results in his case. They said that evidence she handled was unreliable and that Hernandez's case should be dismissed.

Full story, The San Francisco Chronicle

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