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DNA Testing. South Carolina is considering a bill to DNA test everyone arrested for any offense, reports Richard Fausset of the LA Times. The article also discusses a scheduled expansion in California's testing program.

2006 Death Sentences. The final tally for the year is down, as expected, Robert Tanner of AP reports. The single most important factor in the long-term drop is the drop in the homicide rate, accounting for half of the total decline. That factor is only mentioned in passing in the story.

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I am not sure that it is accurate to say that the decrease in the homicide rate is the single most important factor in the decrease in death sentences. If the decrease in the homicide rate is attributable to places where, on a per murder basis, the death penalty was never an alternative (e.g., Washington DC, NYC or most other big cities other than Philly or Houston) in the first place, the drop may not be explainable by simply pointing to the overall murder rate.

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