Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Must Reads: Cal Officials Admit Mishandling Sex Harassment Case; Bad Convictions Cost Hundreds of Millions

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 10:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

click to enlarge Nicholas Dirks.
  • Nicholas Dirks.
1. Top UC Berkeley officials acknowledged that they mishandled the sexual harassment case involving law school Dean Sujit Choudhry, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. In a letter to the law school’s students, staff, and alumni, Cal Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Claude Steele, executive vice chancellor and provost, acknowledged that the criticism of their handling of the case has been “legitimate” and vowed to “do better” in the future. Although Choudhry has stepped down from his post as dean of the law school, he remains on the faculty. Last summer, an internal campus investigation concluded that Choudhry had violated campus rules when he sexually harassed his assistant, but Dirks and Steele decided to only give him a slap on the wrist: a 10 percent pay cut. They said they didn’t want to “ruin” his career.

2. Botched criminal cases in California have cost taxpayers more than $220 million in the past two decades, the LA Times$ reports, citing a new UC Berkeley study. The study examined convictions that were overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct, errant judicial rulings, and forensic lab screw-ups. “Incarceration costs for individuals who were set free after their convictions were overturned added up to $80 million, the study found. Lawsuit settlements in wrongful conviction cases were $68 million, and an additional $68 million was spent on trials and appeals.”

3. California’s new aid-in-dying law, which allows physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients, will take effect on June 9, the Chron$ reports.

4. Nearly half of California adults — about 13 million people — suffer from undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes, and most don’t know it, the Mercury News$ reports, citing a new UCLA study. Researchers blame the problem on too much sugar in people’s diets.

5. The Utah legislature approved a plan to spend $53 million in state funds to build a coal terminal at the former Oakland Army Base, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. Oakland officials, including Mayor Libby Schaaf, strongly oppose the plan.

6. And this week’s heavy storms likely will cause the Russian River in the North Bay to flood its banks later today or early tomorrow, the Chron reports. The river is expected to crest at about two feet above its flood stage.

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