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News Scan

Virginia Justice Hassell Dies:  Virginia Supreme Court Justice Leroy Hassell has died at the age of 55.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch has this story.  Attorney General Cuccinelli has this press release.

Cell Phone Recorded Man Killing Wife:  Ronald Earl Williams, 45, is on trial in Florida, charged with killing his wife.  In opening arguments yesterday, prosecutors said that Williams accidentally activated his cell phone and called his wife's cell phone.  The voicemail left on the wife's phone recorded Williams saying he was going to kill her, as well as her terrified screams.  Despite Williams' attorney's argument that the killing was not premeditated, prosecutors are seeking a first-degree murder conviction and the death penalty.  The AP has this story.

"Killing Machine" Gets 88 Years in Prison for Killing Two Cellmates:  Kurt Karcher, an Inmate already serving a life sentence for murder, was sentenced yesterday to 88 years to life for strangling two cellmates.  Jurors convicted Karcher of second-degree murder of Scott Manning at a state prison in Lancaster in 2006 and of voluntary manslaughter of Edgar Jimenez at the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles in 2007.  Sentencing Judge Stephen Marcus referred to Karcher as "essentially a killing machine."  The San Francisco Chronicle has this story.

"House Rejects Extensions of Patriot Act Provisions":  AP writer Jim Abrams reports on the failure of House Republicans to win enough votes to extend the use of three surveillance tools that are crucial to America's post-September 11 anti-terror law.  The GOP leadership brought the bill to the floor yesterday using a special expedited procedure which requires a 2/3 vote.  After 26 Republicans joined 122 Democrats in opposition, the tally was  277-148, seven votes short of passage. The three measures included court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones, a library records provision that gives the FBI court-approved access to "any tangible thing" useful to a terrorist investigation, and the "lone-wolf" provision that permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-citizens not known to be affiliated with a specific terrorist organization.  House leaders must now bring the measure up under the regular procedure, which requires only a majority vote, and have it pass in the Senate before the three provisions expire on February 28.  The White House, said it "would strongly prefer" extending the measures to the end of 2013.  Jena Baker McNeill and Charles Stimson of the Heritage Foundation explain here why letting the provisions expire is a bad idea.

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