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News Scan

"17 Caught in Search for Arizona Deputy's Attackers": Bob Christie of AP reports on the search for drug smugglers who shot and wounded an Arizona sheriff's deputy in a remote desert area south of Phoenix.  Authorities captured 17 suspected illegal immigrants Saturday, including three who may have been involved in the shooting.  Deputy Louie Puroll, 53, was patrolling near Interstate 8 when he discovered a stash of marijuana bales and five suspected smugglers.  At least 30 shots were exchanged between the deputy and the suspected drug smugglers in an area that is a well-known smuggling corridor for drugs and illegal immigrants.  The shooting came amid a growing national debate over Arizona's new law on illegal immigrants.  Arizona recently passed the immigration law due to increasing concerns about violence, drug smugglers and illegal immigration drop houses.  "The unsecured border poses a real threat and immediate danger," said U.S. Rep., Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat whose district includes part of the county where the recent shooting occurred. "The stakes are higher," sheriff's Lt. Tamatha Villar said.  "As the violence increases on the border, as cartels continue to fight over land, and ownership of rights of land to move their drugs and people through, we're going to continue to see these and we're going to continue to see the violence escalate if we don't take swift action."

"California Loses Fight to End Prison Oversight":  AP has this article regarding the legal battle to end federal oversight of California's prison health care system.  The Schwarzenegger administration lost the fight on Friday after a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal judge can persist with a court-appointed receiver to improve inmate medical care, saying it was the least intrusive way to ensure prisoners' rights.  The appeals court also denied the administration's request to stop the receiver's construction plans to increase the number of medical beds by 10,000, costing about $6 billion.  Because of the increased costs, California has sought to end federal oversight of the state's prison system.  The receiver has since responded with a new proposal to build two prison hospitals to house 3,400 inmates at a cost of $1.9 billion.  Rachel Arrezola, a spokeswoman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the state will appeal the ruling to a larger panel of the appeals court in San Francisco.

Group to Punish Anesthesiologists who Play Role in Lethal Injections:  Washington Post Staff Writer Bob Stein reports on the American Board of Anesthesiologists' decision to revoke the certification of any member who participates in executing a murderer by lethal injection.  Revocation of certification would prevent an anesthesiologist from working in most hospitals.  The American Medical Association has long opposed doctor involvement, but the anesthesiologists' group is the first to harshly penalize a health-care worker for abetting lethal injections.  So far, no doctors have been disciplined, but the announcement will undoubtedly have a chilling effect.  Many argue that doctors are not needed during the procedures, prison administrators should be allowed to administer the lethal injection themselves.  "Some think it's an effective argument to say you need a doctor to do this," said Michael Rushford, President of the CJLF.  "You don't need a doctor to do this.  It's a counterfeit argument." For a contrary opinion on the medical ethics issue, see the article by Michael Keane, discussed here.

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