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California’s three-strikes law is celebrating its 10th birthday amid fresh controversy. A new report from the law’s critics says the state has squandered $8 billion in added prison costs without reducing crime. But a survey by the law’s sponsors concludes just the opposite: that it’s prevented 2 million crimes and safeguarded $28.5 billion for the state and potential victims. California courts have issued 93 percent of the nation’s three-strikes sentences, reports UC Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring. That’s too many, says the grandfather of Polly Klaas, whose murder fueled the original law. He’s heading up an initiative to restrict the law … A wife’s taped statement should not have been allowed in evidence against her husband, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. In a 7-2 decision, the Court found that such out-of-court “testimonial” evidence violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront each witness against him … By contrast, a Canadian judge overseeing a terror trial has set legal precedent by allowing a witness’ signed statements in place of her courtroom testimony. Justice Ian Bruce Josephson accepted prosecutors’ claims that fear led the witness to deny her earlier statements and fake memory loss on the stand. Josephson is overseeing the trial of Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik, accused of aiding the 1985 Air India bombings that left 331 persons dead … Twenty years after handling a small estate, attorney John W. Barce paid for the business with his life. An Indiana jury concluded Sunday that in 2001, Lloyd Lichti abducted and killed the 73-year-old Barce, whose body was later found on a nearby farm. The Tippecanoe Superior Court jury found that Lichti, 61, blamed the lawyer for his stepmother’s 1981 inheritance of his father’s farm. – Lori Patel

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