Some big changes could be in store for the federal criminal justice system. In a speech to the American Bar Association Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder said some of the changes include scaling back the use of harsh prison sentences for certain drug-related crimes and diversion of low-level offenders to drug treatment and community service.
Kentucky already has experience with what Holder is proposing. The General Assembly passed a law in 2011 to reduce the prison population using some of the same methods. Kentucky Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown talked about the law's impact as a guest on NPR's Here and Now.
"A year ago, our prison population was 22,118. Today it was 19,899," explained Brown. "When you estimate a little over $20,000 a year, and that's a conservative estimate, to house each inmate, that starts adding up to real dollars."
Despite concerns by opponents of early release, Secretary Brown said recidivism is down and Kentucky's crime rate has remained virtually flat since the law took effect two years ago.
A liberal Super PAC being investigated for bugging Senator Mitch McConnell’s Louisville office is shutting down. The website Politico reports documents filed late last week with the Federal Election Commission show the agency approved a request by Progress Kentucky to close its operations.
The Super PAC was aiming to knock off Kentucky’s senior Senator, who is one of the top targets in the cross-hairs of Democrats in the 2014 election cycle.
Ultimately, the group raised just over $14,000, with only $1,000 in the bank at the end of June.
Curtis Morrison, who was serving as spokesman for Progress Kentucky, is accused of secretly recording a strategy session attended by Senator McConnell and re-election staffers. The FBI is reportedly investigating how the recording was made. The Kentucky Democratic Party has distanced itself from Progress Kentucky and Morrison, who has taken to the internet to solicit money for his defense fund.
The recorded McConnell strategy session contains audio of staffers discussing tactics they would use against actress Ashley Judd, had she challenged McConnell in the 2014 Senate race. At least one staffer talks about using Judd's history of depression against her.
Defense attorneys for a former Kentucky agriculture commissioner haven’t filed any motions ahead of an October federal trial.
Richie Farmer is facing five counts related to his time in office from 2004 to 2011. A federal judge set an August 2 deadline for Farmer’s lawyer to file defense motions, but the Courier-Journal reports no such motions were submitted. That’s despite the judge’s decision to extend the filing deadline in response to Farmer’s attorney’s claims that he needed extra time to mile motions.
Farmer’s attorney is Guthrie True, who represented then-Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton in his recent federal trial in Bowling Green.
Farmer was indicted in April on four counts involving alleged theft of federal funds and one count of soliciting a bribe while agriculture commissioner. Farmer has pleaded not guilty to all counts. The government wants him to repay $450,000--the amount they say he misused while in office.
The WKU men’s basketball team will burn the midnight oil during their season opener. The school announced Monday that the Hilltoppers will take on Wichita State at midnight on November 12, as part of ESPN 2’s Tip-Off Marathon.
ESPN is airing more than a dozen games in over 24 hours of basketball to kick off the new season.
Both WKU and Wichita State are coming off of NCAA tournament appearances, with the Shockers making last season’s Final Four. The Hilltoppers went 20-and-16, and won the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
You can see the 2013-14 WKU men's basketball schedule here.
Contract crews will begin repairs along concrete sections of Northbound Interstate 65 in Hardin County on Sunday night, requiring closure of two lanes.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued an advisory stating that only one lane will be available for northbound travel from mile point 101 (just south of KY 313/Joe Prather Highway) to mile point 103 (Rolling Fork River Bridge).
Work will take place from Sunday night through Thursday morning. Lengthy delays are possible during this time, especially mid and late day. Motorists should watch for stopped and slow moving traffic ahead. Those who seek an alternate route may wish to use the following:
Exit 93 (Bluegrass Parkway), to exit 10 (KY 52 – Boston), to US 62, to KY 61 and rejoin I-65 in Lebanon Junction at the 105 interchange.
Work will not take place and all lanes will be open from Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon to better accommodate higher traffic volumes.
Northbound work will take approximately two weeks to complete, depending on weather conditions. Once northbound work is complete, contract crews will switch repair operations to southbound lanes.