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News Scan

Moving Forward in the Capital Punishment Debate: CJLF's Kent Scheidegger has this story in The Hill's Congress Blog about the legal developments surrounding the use of pentobarbital in lethal injections. Kent also discusses delays in capital cases, specifically post-trial litigation that can take decades and mostly involve claims related to the sentence, with little relevance to the actual crime. See a previous post here about pentobarbital-only executions.

New Hampshire Bill Would Make Fatal Home Invasions a Death Penalty Eligible Crime: The Associated Press reports a bill that would expand the state's death penalty to cover fatal home invasions was passed in the New Hampshire House on Tuesday. The bill is named after Kimberly Cates, who was killed by a machete and knife attack during a home invasion that also left her daughter maimed. New Hampshire currently has only six types of murder that are death penalty eligible under the state's statue. The last expansion was in 1994, when the killing of a judge was added. The last execution in New Hampshire was in 1939.

White House Makes Recommendations to Congress for Tougher Prison Sentences:
Jennifer Martinez of Politico reports that Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, presented a set of 20 suggestions to Congress on Tuesday for addressing intellectual property problems and passing legislation requiring tougher sentences for certain IP crimes, which, according to Espinel, have shorter prison sentences and a high profit margin compared to other offenses.

Woman Who Murdered Step-Son Free on Parole: Matt Campbell of the Kansas City Star reports that Sueanne Hobson, who was convicted in 1982 of first-degree murder for persuading her 17-year-old son and his 16-year-old friend to kill her 13-year-old stepson was released on parole. The teenagers took the boy to a field in Miami County and forced him to dig his own grave before turning their shotguns on him. According to testimony, she promised a car to her son and to fix his friend's motorcycle. Both teens, now men, were convicted of murder and paroled years ago. Hobson, now 68, became eligible for parole in 1989 and had been turned down eight times before. Says a neighbor, Ruth Brettle, "I'm very, very disappointed that she be allowed to walk the streets after what she did."

Jamming of Smuggled Cell Phones Tests to Begin in Texas Next Week: Mike Ward of the Statesman in Texas reports that after two years of delays, a Texas prison will begin testing cell phone jamming equipment early next week before permanently installing it. A test of the jamming technology was ordered after a prisoner escaped from the Stiles Unit using a smuggled cell phone to coordinate the plan. In 2008, legislative leaders demanded the testing of jamming technology after a convict on death row used a smuggled cell phone to call a state senator. State attorneys said that the approval of the FCC was necessary before a test could be conducted, but the FCC never gave its approval so no tests were conducted. Now, Livingston said prison officials believe that the tests can be conducted without violating federal laws, but no further details were provided.

Violent Sex Offender on Lifetime Parole Captured in Maine: Staff at the Milford Daily News in Massachusetts report that Brian Addeo, a six-time convicted rapist, was arrested last night after cutting off his ankle monitor and throwing it in the back of truck. According to state police, while he was out on bail awaiting trial for one rape charge, Addeo raped four young girls and a 19-year-old woman. Nevertheless, after serving some prison time, Addeo was sentenced to lifetime parole supervision in April 2010.

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