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News Scan

Two Philly Murderers Avoid Death Sentences:  Joseph A. Slobodzian of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Gerald Drummond, 26, and Robert McDowell, 28, were sentenced yesterday for the execution-style shooting deaths of two men in 2007.  The jury announced they were deadlocked after four hours of deliberation, leaving the judge with no choice under Pennsylvania law than to impose a sentence of life without parole.  Upon hearing the jury's deadlock, McDowell's smile and slap on Drummond's back garnered an angry response from presiding Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes: "Please don't smile and please don't think you won, gentlemen, because now you have to deal with me.  You'd be better off being sentenced to death because then you'd have the Supreme Court."

DHS Scraps Border Fence Project:  Keith Johnson The Wall Street Journal reports the Department of Homeland Security has called off the billion-dollar program to build a high-tech fence along the Arizona border.  The program was conceived in 2005, but its technology problems and expanded costs have made it center of controversy.  DHS plans on implementing a new plan to guard the border, supposedly at a lower cost.

Acquittal in Massachusetts Gun Show Case:   A Massachusetts jury today acquitted former Police Chief and gun show organizer Edward Fleury of manslaughter, stemming from the accidental shooting death of an 8-year-old boy at a gun show in 2008.  Prosecutors had alleged Fleury acted recklessly in allowing children to shoot machine guns without proper supervision at the event and was therefore responsible for the boy's fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Dave Collins of AP has this story.

Loughner & Illegal Immigration?:  Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times has this piece on UC Berkeley's Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's recent campuswide email, which linked the Tucson shooting to, among other things, Arizona's efforts against illegal immigration: "I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons."  Birgeneau also condemned a "climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated."  The email is drawing much criticism, including from a civil liberties group.

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