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Texas Execution. Thirteen years ago, every witness's worst nightmare came true for Mario Stubblefield. He was murdered by a hit man hired by the defendant to prevent his testimony. Today, Texas executed the hit man. Michael Graczyk of AP reports here. The Supreme Court's "go ahead" order is here, Justices Stevens and Ginsburg dissenting.

Wisconsin Death Penalty. A UW Badger Poll taken Oct 18-26 shows the Wisconsin death penalty referendum leading 57-39 among registered voters. The measure is trailing very badly among one subgroup, however. "Those who prefer life in prison over the death penalty oppose it by 40 percentage points." Only 40? (Hat tip: Ohio DP Info.)

Katrina Crime Cities which accepted large numbers of evacuees from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina are reporting higher crime rates, sometimes much higher. In an editorial in the San Antonio Express News, Ken Rodriguez suggests that law enforcement has been hampered by a policy making it politically incorrect to separately track crimes committed by evacuees.

Arson A fifth firefighter has died as the result of injuries suffered fighting the fire near Palm Springs last week that blackened nearly 60 square miles. Police have arrested a person of interest, who is suspected of starting two earlier fires in nearby Banning Pass according to an Associated Press story by Andrew Glazer.

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Despite all of the recent anti-death penalty clamor--it is siginficant that a state like Wisconsin is actually voting on the death penalty and it is nothing less than remarkable that polling shows that the referendum will prevail. Curiously, the same polling shows that a majority of Wisconsites also believe that life imprisonment without the possiblity of parole is a better punishment for murder than the death penalty. Perhaps this indicates that a retributionist impulse is strongest in first degree murder cases in which guilt is most convincing.

Another significant cultural event, in terms of pro and anti death penalty sentiment, is that New Hampshire is apparently gearing up for its first capital prosecution in about 70 years. The crime is the murder of a Manchester police officer.

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