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News Scan

Tenth Circuit Affirms Use of Pentobarbital in Oklahoma Execution:  The Tenth Circuit today rejected Oklahoma death row inmate Jeffrey Matthews's appeal for a stay of execution.  Matthews had argued Oklahoma's use of the drug pentobarbital as part of its three-drug protocol threatened to violate his right against cruel and unusual punishment.  Citing the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Baze v. Rees, the Tenth Circuit affirmed it was very unlikely Matthews could prove that the use of pentobarbital was "sure or very likely to cause serious injury and needless suffering and give rise to sufficiently imminent dangers."  The AP has this story.

Inmate Strike Orchestrated by Cell Phones:  Rhonda Cook of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) reports on a prison strike, which inmates claim they were able to organize via text messages.  In four Georgia state prisons, the inmates are demanding to get paid for their prison jobs and complaining about the lack of fruit and vegetables available at meals.  Prison officials dispute the inmates' version of the story, stating the wardens ordered lock downs of the facilities as a precautionary measure.

Elizabeth Smart Role Model for Other Victims:
  Rosemary Winters of the Salt Lake Tribune (UT) writes Elizabeth Smart's willingness to confront her abductor/rapist and testify in court has provided an example of courage for other rape victims.  Victims advocates are praising her strength, hoping it will empower other victims to come forward and help remove some of the stigma attached to sexual assaults.  Smart's family members have also helped out in the effort, pushing for a national alert system for kidnappings and lobbying for Congress to create a national sex-offender registry.

"Festivus" Claim Wins Inmate Kosher Meals: 
An Orange County inmate used devotion to the fictitious holiday "Festivus," created on "Seinfeld," to get kosher meals for nearly two months, reports KTLA (CA).  Unhappy with the jail's salami sandwiches, convicted drug dealer Malcolm Alarmo King argued successfully to a judge that his religious beliefs required alternative meals.  Orange County officials eventually got the order thrown out after realizing King's claim "probably wasn't legitimate."

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