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News Scan

Tennessee Supreme Court Delays Executions:  As an update to yesterday's news scan, the Tennessee Supreme Court ordered a halt on four upcoming executions in the state, including today's scheduled execution of Stephen Michael West.  The court ordered judicial review of the Tenneesee's new execution protocol to determine if a stroke of the inmate's eyelashes or a shake of their body is sufficient to guarantee unconsciousness.  The review must be completed within 90 days.  Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel has this story.

Hung Jury in California Murderer's Sentencing:  The San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA) reports a jury has deadlocked in the penalty phase of Manling Williams.  Williams was convicted earlier this month of slashing to death her husband and smothering her seven- and three- year old sons with a pillow in 2007.  The Los Angeles District Attorney stated the divide was eight jurors for death and four for life.  If the DA's office elects not to retry the penalty phase, Williams will be sentenced to life without parole.

Controversy Over San Francisco's Sidewalk Law:  Civil rights and community activists are less than thrilled about San Francisco's new sidewalk law, reports Claudia Cowan of Fox News.  Prop. L, passed by 53 percent of voters this month, forbids people from sitting or lying on public sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.  Those who refuse may be fined or arrested.  Proponents praise the ordinance, claiming the violent transients and their dogs currently scattered over the city's sidewalks are a far cry from those individuals who gave rise to the city's iconic street culture.

"Prison Ruling Stirs Up California":  Joanna Chung and Bobby White of The Wall Street Journal have this piece on the California inmate release case, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today.

New Trial for Skid Row Killer:  The 9th Circuit today ordered a new trial for Bobby Joe Maxwell, reports the AP.  Maxwell was charged with killing 10 people in Los Angeles's Skid Row in the late 1970s and ultimately convicted in 1984 of two counts of murder.  The court found Maxwell's convictions relied largely on the false testimony of an infamous jailhouse snitch.


The Tennessee Supreme Court clowns itself. It approved the original LI procedure, then some hack local judge gets upset, and the Tennessee Supreme Court revises the procedure to benefit the defendant, and the Tennessee Supreme Court says that the killers get another chance. Small wonder the victims' family in one of the cases feels that the system is a joke.

Query whether federal tax dollars should be funding this scorched earth litigation.

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