Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
FOLSOM, CALIF. — Monica Oliva is getting out of prison this month after 13 years and she's got plans —plans that include a job, a life and a lot of time on the computer.
Oliva, 37, graduated last week with a coveted certificate in three computer-aided design programs, after a grueling eight-hour-a-day, six-month course she and 17 other women completed while incarcerated at Folsom State Prison Women's Facility.
"You're talking to the happiest person in the world," Oliva said as she used a computer in the training center to show off a house she designed using AutoCAD.
Brian Melley, The Associated Press
A man imprisoned 16 years for rape and sex assault convictions was exonerated Monday and ordered freed after DNA evidence linked the crimes to a serial rapist on the FBI's most wanted list.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Ryan granted a petition supported by prosecutors to release Luis Vargas, who was serving a sentence of 55 years to life in prison for three sexual assaults.
Vargas broke down, placing his hand to his forehead and covering his eyes as the judge ordered the case dismissed during the brief hearing packed with family and law school students who had worked to free him.
Jodie Tillman, The OC Register
Eighteen years ago, John Abel looked the part of unrepentant killer. He grinned and twiddled his thumbs as a judge sentenced him to death for the 1991 murder of a merchant’s son outside of a Tustin bank.
But Abel has maintained his innocence. Now he is an exhibit in Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders’ 752-page court filing in August alleging decades of misconduct by Orange County prosecutors and law enforcement.
Katherine Proctor, Courthouse News
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (CN) - The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is withholding public records about its lethal injection practices and protocols, the American Civil Liberties Union claims in court.
The ACLU's Northern California chapter sued the department of prisons in Marin County Court, claiming it produced only a small number of documents, though "it is clear that a substantial number of responsive and non-privileged documents exist and have not been produced." That violates the California Public Records Act, the ACLU says in its Nov. 18 lawsuit.