Florida Killer's Execution Scheduled Tonight: From the Orlando Sentinel, writer Stephen Hudak reports that Richard Henyard is scheduled for execution for the murders of two Lake County girls. Today he will become the 66th person executed by the state since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Assistant Florida Attorney General Stephen Ake urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to reject Henyard's latest appeal, saying his lawyers "failed to demonstrate any basis" for another review. The nation's high court was pondering a review of Henyard's appeal, which could challenge the constitutionality of lethal injection in Florida. Unless justices decide to look at his case, Henyard faces death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke. Henyard was sentenced to die for the Jan. 30, 1993, murders of the two sisters, who were shot in the head. He and Alfonza Smalls, then 14, carjacked the girls and their mother, Dorothy Lewis, from a Winn-Dixie parking lot; raped and shot the mother in front of Jamil- ya and Jasmine; and then shot both girls.
US Has Mixed Record On Victims’ Rights: The Human Rights News reports that the United States has not incorporated into its domestic criminal justice systems many of the recommended standards for the treatment of crime victims set out under international law. In the report, “Mixed Results: US Policy and International Standards on the Rights and Interests of Victims of Crime,” Human Rights Watch analyzed how well the United States is meeting international best practices. Human Rights Watch found that police and prosecutors in some states enjoy very broad discretion over who is to be granted victim status and the extent to which victims are included in the justice process. In some cases, victims who disagree with the punishment being sought in the case – such as the death penalty – have been barred from testifying. Certain categories of victims, such as police officers and prisoners, have also been denied victim status or services. The Human Rights Watch called on all jurisdictions in the US to ensure that the definition of “victim” in state and federal law does not arbitrarily deny victims of crime access to their rights and support services, and to allow crime victims to exercise their right to have information about the criminal investigation or about the prosecution at any time in the process.
Ex-Pa. Lawmaker Takes Sex-Offender Fight To Court: AP reports a story of a former state lawmaker who took three sex offenders into his home and then went to court to challenge zoning officials' decision to bar them. He asked a Lancaster County judge to overturn an August zoning board ruling that said he violated a local ordinance by taking the three offenders, who all served prison time, into his Marietta home. Citing his Christian belief in forgiveness, he has said he wants to shelter the three men until he can open a halfway house for sex offenders. He argued the zoning officer didn't properly investigate who was living in his home before issuing a cease-and-desist order June 18. He also said the zoning law, which limits the number of unrelated people who can live together, fails to differentiate between temporary and permanent residents. The sex offenders' probation terms prohibit them from living under the same roof with minors. Armstrong has a 16-year-old daughter, but she moved out along with his wife to care for a sick relative and has not returned, he said. The three men he took in are a rapist, a man who fondled a 15-year-old neighbor girl, and a man caught with child porn on his computer at work. Armstrong said defense attorneys and prison counselors had contacted him for help and assured him they were not a threat to anyone.