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Roundtable: Sara Kruzan Update; Surviving School Shootings; DIY Drones; Filner & Marijuana

Amita Sharma, investigative reporter for KPBS News, talks about a hearing in Riverside over Sara Kruzan's case. Kruzan has been in prison since 1995, more than half her life, for killing her pimp.


Amita Sharma, KPBS News

Tony Perry, L.A. Times

John Rosman, KPBS Fronteras Desk

Dave Maass, San Diego CityBeat


Kruzan Case Advances: Sara Kruzan has been in prison since 1995, more than half her life, for killing her pimp.

Last summer the California Supreme Court returned the case to Riverside for a hearing – set to begin today -- on whether she should be released or granted a new trial.

Kruzan was first molested when she was five. She was subjected to abuse on and off throughout her childhood and eventually was forced into prostitution by a well-known pimp, George Gilbert Howard. She says she was forced by another adult male to kill Howard. Kruzan was convicted in Riverside County and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lawyers say that evidence she was a victim of intimate partner violence by her pimp as well as her history of abuse should have been offered at her original trial. Kruzan says her pimp molested her at 11, raped her at 13 and forced her into prostitution. Her former trial attorney, now a judge, did not call any other witnesses on her behalf, and he admits he didn’t know the law allowed for parole because of her youth.

The hearing today was closed to the public. A public hearing is scheduled for next Friday, with Kruzan slated to attend via teleconference.

SDSU Hosts Shooting Survival Training for School Personnel: A dormitory at SDSU became the scene of an ugly drama recently as a gunman walked the halls looking for people to kill.

But the dramatic event was itself an educational experience. The two-day event, called "Active Shooter Response Training" had been scheduled months before the recent mass shooting of children in Newtown Connecticut.

Conducted by a Texas company, Response Options, the training drew some 20 people from colleges and schools in Southern California. It is not likely to be the last session of this kind in San Diego or elsewhere in the country. In the fall, incoming SDSU freshmen will attend a mandatory 90-minute seminar on surviving an on-campus shooting.

San Diego was the scene of school shootings in 1979, 1996, 2001 and 2010. Over the years, police tactics have changed in dealing with such events and now focus on immediate response.

(Story continues below.)

Tony Perry, the San Diego bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, talks to KPBS about "Active Shooter Response Training," which trains students on surviving an on-campus shooting

Drones Could Change Our Lives: The former chief editor of "Wired" magazine believes that there is a big (and benign) hobbyist market for drones.

Chris Anderson's blog, DIY Drones, attracted the interest of Tijuana engineer Jordi Munoz. The two became business partners in a company called 3D Robotics. They believe that in a decade, drones will have evolved from current military uses to something anyone can buy at Walmart and which will have many uses -- or apps. Drones could, for example, impact search-and-rescue missions, pizza or mail deliveries, photography and movie making and, well, the sky's the limit.

From essentially nothing but ideas, Anderson and Munoz have built a multi-million-dollar, cross-border company manufacturing and selling personal drones.

Further, they are convinced that the combination of American capital and Tijuana's unsung reservoir of engineering and manufacturing skills will be the business model of the future.

Mayor Filner Backs Medical Marijuana: Making a flurry of promises and pledges which relulted in a tit-for-tat exchange with the City Attorney's office, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner this week vowed to

1) get a medical pot ordinance to the San Diego City Council;

2) tell City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to stop going after medical marijuana dispensaries over code enforcement; and

3) personally lobby the United States Department of Justice and San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy -- and the White House as well -- on the issue.

Goldsmith pointed out in a letter to the mayor that he had gone after the dispensaries at the direction of the San Diego Police Department and Neighborhood Code Compliance, which are under the jurisdiction of the mayor. The mayor then sent Goldsmith a letter telling him to stop the enforcement.

There are currently a few medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of San Diego, but they exist in a kind of zoning no-man's land without proper regulation.

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