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News Scan


Vacancies on Conservative Court
Larry O'Dell of the AP has this story on the high vacancy rate in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which is "prompting concerns about its ability to resolve cases promptly." University of Richmond law professor, Carl Tobias explains that it will be difficult to get conservative judges confirmed as the Presidential election approaches. "In 2008 it's going to be toughter. The sooner Bush moves, the more likelihood he can have them confirmed," Tobias said.

State defends death penalty in Addison case
The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that the prosecutors in the Addison case are saying that his defense team is misreading the capital murder law. Addison's lawyers argue that the state Supreme Court has not written special rules to handle a death sentence appeal and that the high court's failure to do so violates his constitutional rights to due process and adequate representation. Michael Addison, 27, of Manchester, is charged with capital murder for allegedly shooting Officer Michael L. Briggs, 35, once in the head Oct. 16 while the bicycle patrol officer pursued him on foot in a city alley.

Imprisoned rapist is indicted in new case
The AP has this story in Cleveland.com regarding the new DNA evidence that linked Earl Mann to the crime that was blamed on another man. Earl Mann, now a convicted child rapist, just happened to be serving time at the same prison as the man accused of the 1998 rape and murder of Judith Johnson and the beating of her six-year-old granddaughter. Clarence Elkins, the man accused of murdering his mother in law, had maintained his innocence. He managed to get the DNA from inside the prison after his wife had done some investigative work of her own. Clarence picked up a cigarette butt that Mann put down and mailed it to his lawyer for testing. Mann's DNA came back as a match for evidence found at the crime scene.

Easy Living on Death Row
Here is an interesting report by Rob Amen of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review regarding Life on Pennsylvania's death row. He talks to Ken Hairston who sits on death row for bludgeoning to death his wife and 14-year-old son in 2001. Hairston describes his life on death row and that he is confident that he won't die in prison. "I'm comfortable, very comfortable," said Hairston. His execution date has not yet been set.

Text Busters: The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article by Li Yaun on the use of text messaging to track down criminals. Police agencies distribute information about a crime and suspect via text to cell phone users, who can text back if they spot him, stolen property or other critical information. This tool is currently being used more in Europe and Asia than in the U.S.

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