BOSTON – Human rights advocates called it a step toward justice Tuesday when a federal judge in Boston sentenced a Salvadoran ex-colonel to prison on separate charges as Spain attempts to prosecute him for war crimes during his country’s civil conflict.
Inocente Orlando Montano will serve 21 months in a federal prison for immigration crimes, followed by a year of supervised release if U.S. government officials don’t extradite him to Spain before then to stand trial for his alleged role in priest slayings known as the Jesuit massacre.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock meted out the penalty after a three-day sentencing hearing that included testimony implicating Montano in human rights abuses in El Salvador.
The 70-year-old Montano, who denies such abuses, was once his country’s vice minister of public security. He had been living in a Boston suburb for about a decade before his 2011 arrest, making $14 an hour in a candy factory.
Calif. governor to relocate inmates
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday responded to a federal court order to significantly reduce California’s prison population by proposing a $315 million plan to send thousands of inmates to private prisons and vacant county jail cells, hoping to avoid what he said would be a mass release of dangerous felons.
The cost could reach $700 million over two years, with much of the money likely to come from a $1.1 billion reserve fund in the state budget.
During a news conference in Sacramento, Brown bristled at the court’s suggestion that the state could continue its early release of certain inmates to meet the federal judges’ population cap. He noted that California has already reduced the prison population by about 46,000 inmates to comply with the court’s orders and said only the most dangerous convicts remain in state prison.
Virus ID’d in deaths of 330 dolphins
Federal officials identified a virus Tuesday as the likely reason hundreds of bottlenose dolphins died along the East Coast, but they say there’s little they can do to stop the deaths.
More than 330 dolphins have been stranded between New York and North Carolina since July 1, with nearly all of them dead by the time they wash up on shore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
That’s more than nine times the historical average for dolphin strandings in the region during July and August.
Ex-CIA official on surveillance panel
The White House says President Barack Obama has tapped Michael Morrell, his former deputy CIA director, for a review panel aimed at boosting public confidence in U.S. surveillance programs.
Obama requested an interim report within 60 days, and a final report and recommendations by mid-December.
Also on the panel are Clinton-era cybersecurity adviser Richard Clarke, University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, and former Obama officials Cass Sunstein and Peter Swire.