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Tuesday, Nov 25th

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Complaints at problem Alabama prison shelved

Alaba prison commissionerWhen inmates at a notorious Alabama women's prison came forward to complain of sexual abuse and harassment, state investigators time and again classified the complaints as unfounded or unsubstantiated and often recommended the matters be closed without further action, according to investigative reports obtained by The Associated Press.

In only a small fraction of cases in the past three years did corrections officials consider the allegations fully credible, according to roughly four dozen reports released to AP under the state's open records law.

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Philadelphia law decriminalizes marijuana

Philadelphia decriminalizes MarijuanaPhiladelphia enacted legislation on Wednesday that decriminalizes marijuana — requiring police to ticket people who possess small amounts of the drug instead of arresting them.

The new law, which takes effect on Oct. 20, makes Philadelphia the largest U.S. city to decriminalize the DEA-categorized Schedule 1 drug amid a growing number of U.S. cities and states that have reduced or eliminated penalties for recreational users.

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How the U.S. Ended Up With 400,000 Untested Rape Kits

Rape kit backlog Memphis just discovered hundreds of untested rape kits—adding to its backlog of more than 12,000 kits collecting dust on police shelves. And the city is hardly alone.

The history of crime solving can be divided into two periods: Before DNA and After DNA. The introduction of forensic evidence in the mid-1980s completely changed the way we solve crimes. Matching crime scene evidence with potential perpetrators at a 99 percent success rate, DNA testing is regularly used to convict murderers and get the wrongly accused out from behind bars.

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Detroit bankruptcy judge says he can't stop city from shutting off water for unpaid bills

Detroit water cuttoffA judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy refused Monday to stop the city from shutting off water if people can't pay their bill.

Judge Steven Rhodes said the water department probably hasn't done enough to help people with chronically low income, but noted there is no "enforceable right" to water.

Rhodes covered much ground as he read his opinion in court. He said Detroit's recent strategy to get people into two-year payment plans, starting with a 10 percent down payment, was "bold" and "commendable." Roughly 30,000 customers now are enrolled.

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Gov. Jerry Brown signs California gun restriction

California gun lawCalifornia will become the first state that allows family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat, under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he had signed.

The bill was proposed by several Democrats and responds to a deadly rampage in May near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Report: Obama rode elevator with armed man

US Secret servicePresident Barack Obama rode an elevator this month with an armed security contractor who had three criminal convictions, a violation of Secret Service security protocols, according to published reports.

The latest embarrassment for the Secret Service comes after agency Director Julia Pierson on Tuesday took full responsibility for a Sept. 19 breach of security when a man carrying a knife got into the White House. The Washington Examiner and The Washington Post reported that the elevator incident took place during Obama's Sept. 16 visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

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NYC mayor signs order expanding living wage law

Di BlasioMayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order on Tuesday that expanded New York City's living wage law, increasing the hourly rate to $13.13 from $11.90 for workers who do not receive benefits.

The significant expansion, which will cover thousands of previously exempt New Yorkers, fulfilled a campaign promise made by de Blasio, who became the city's first Democratic mayor in a generation when he took office in January. It strengthened a law that was approved by the City Council in 2012.

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