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News Scan

Ohio Governor Commutes Death Sentence: Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today spared the life of Sidney Cornwell, scheduled to die tomorrow for killing 3-year-old Jessica Ballew during a 1996 gang-related shooting.  The state parole board recommended against clemency, but Strickland said jurors might have chosen a different sentence if they knew Cornwell suffered from Klinefelter Syndrome, a genetic condition that caused him to have development disabilities and large breasts as a child.  Julie Carr Smyth of the AP has this story.

Dead Man Crime Spree:  Holbrook Mohr of the AP reports on yesterday's arrest of Thomas Steven Sanders, a man declared legally dead 16 years ago after abandoning his family in Mississippi.  Sanders has lived unnoticed in several states since then, despite accumulating several arrests in Tennessee and a two-year sentence in Georgia for battery.  Sanders was wanted in the kidnapping of 12-year-old Lexie Roberts, whose skeletal remain were found by hunters in Louisiana.  Sanders allegedly met Lexie and her mother Suellen Roberts several months ago in Nevada, and vacationed with them over the Labor Day holiday.  Suellen is also missing and authorities fear she may be dead.

Syracuse Study Released On Police Stops and Race:  Douglass Dowty of the Post-Standard (NY) has this article on a recent study of Syracuse Police Department, finding a higher percentage of black and Latino citizens are let go after being stopped and frisked than white citizens.  The authors of the study concluded a bias by the Syracuse against blacks and Latinos, claiming officers made more errors in judgment in searching minorities than white people.  The Syracuse police have countered there is much more behind the numbers, arguing the study did not take into account the differences between a frisk intended to result in an arrest and a frisk to ensure officer safety, or between searches conducted before a decision to arrest and those conducted alongside an arrest.  The department also noted that because officers are most likely to stop people in high-crime neighborhoods, which tend to be predominantly black, officers will naturally interact more frequently with black citizens, thus giving rise to the disparate statistics.  

Potential Deadlock in Ghailani Trial:  A note from a juror in the Ghailani terrorist trial states she has come to her decision, is alone in her views, and requests to be excused from further deliberations because she has been "attacked for [her] conclusion," reports Benjamin Weiser of The New York Times.  One of Ghailani's lawyers asked presiding Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to declare a mistrial, but the judge declined to do so and ordered the jurors to continue deliberations. 

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