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News Scan

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Ghailani Appeals Conviction:  The AP reports former Gitmo detainee Ahmed Ghailani has appealed his conviction for conspiracy to destroy government buildings, the only count out of 224 he was convicted of last month.  His defense team claims the conviction should be tossed because once the jury found him not guilty of bombing the embassies, they should likewise have acquitted him of conspiracy to bomb the buildings.

Disparity in Federal Sentencing:  Boston Globe staff writer Jonathan Saltzman has this article on a recent study of the widened disparity in federal sentences in light of the case United States v. Booker, which declared the federal sentencing guidelines instructive, but not mandatory.  In his article "Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparity After Booker: A First Look," published this week in the Stanford Law Review, law school professor Ryan W. Scott analyzed 2,262 sentences imposed by ten federal judges in Boston.  In an interview, Scott indicated his findings were troubling: "It offends our notions of equality and consistency and the rule of law that an offender's sentence should depend on which judge happens to be assigned to the case."  Hat tip to How Appealing.

Pennsylvania Serial Killer Appeals Death Sentence:  Convicted serial killer Harvey Robinson attempted last week to have his last remaining death sentence vacated, reports Kevin Amerman of The Morning Call (PA).  Robinson had at one time point racked up three death sentences, all for killing women in Allentown, PA, but succeeded in having two of the sentences vacated.  In Robinson's current appeal, he argues his trial attorneys were deficient in failing to present evidence he suffered from frontal lobe brain damage.

Thermometer Attack:  The Los Angeles Times reports a California man was convicted last week of attempted murder for attacking a moviegoer with a five inch long digital thermometer.  During a movie screening, the victim politely asked 40-year-old Landry Boullard's female companion to turn off her cell phone.  Boullard responded with a brutal stabbing attack, leaving the victim with puncture wounds in the neck and bleeding in the brain.  Boullard faces up to life in prison when sentenced in January.

Certiorari Comments in Capital Cases:  Robert Barnes has this article in the WaPo on the frequency of Supreme Court Justices commenting on the Court's decision to deny review of capital cases.  Such denials are usually without comment.

Legislation Next Year on the Death Penalty:   Maureen Callahan has this article in the New York Post on the politics of death penalty repeal in Connecticut.  Misty Higgins has this article in the Martinsburg Journal on a drive to reinstate the death penalty in West Virginia.

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