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News Scan

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Patriot Act: A federal district judge in Oregon has ruled two key provisions of the Patriot Act unconstitutional as reported in this Associated Press story by William McCall. The opinion by District Judge Ann Aiken held the search and wire-taping provisions of the Act "extra constitutional". Orin Kerr has an analysis at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Mistrial: The judge in the Phil Spector murder case has declared a mistrial according to an Associated Press story by Linda Deutsch. The judge issued the ruling after learning that the jury was deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction. A juror in the majority said that the holdouts wanted psychiatric evidence that the victim, Lana Clarkson was not suicidal. The District Attorney is expected to announce the intention retry Spector at a hearing on October 3.

DeLay Dismissal Affirmed: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has rejected a request to reconsider a trial judge's ruling dismissing election-law conspiracy charges against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as reported in this story by AP writer Kelley Shannon.

Alabama Stay: Gov. Riley stayed the execution of Thomas Arthur for 45 days. Statement here. “The evidence is overwhelming that Thomas Arthur is guilty and he will be executed for his crime. The decision to grant a brief stay is being made only because the state is changing its lethal injection protocol, and this will allow sufficient time for the Department of Corrections to make that change,” Governor Riley said.

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SCOTUS stayed the execution of Carlton Turner tonight in Texas. (Wed., 9/27)

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