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News Scan

Serial Killer Dies on Death Row:  The Associated Press reports Ohio death row inmate Edward Edwards, 77, died last Thursday of natural causes.  Edwards was sentenced to death for killing his foster son in 1996 for $250,000 in life insurance, a crime to which he reportedly confessed because he wanted the death penalty.  Edwards had also been convicted of shooting to death two people in the 1970s and a 19-year-old couple in 1980.  In his 1974 autobiography "Metamorphosis of a Criminal", Edwards writes he knew what he wanted to be at a young age: "I'm gonna be a crook, and I'm gonna be a good one." 

Appeals Court Reverses Whatcom County Convictions:  Peter Jensen reports in The News Tribune (WA) that at least 17 convictions in a Washington county have been or could be overturned because prospective jurors were questioned in judges' chambers.  Though this practice has been very common during jury selection, in its 1995 ruling, State v. Joe Bone-Club, and in several later decisions the Washington Supreme Court held it to violate a defendant's right to a public trial under certain circumstances.  Facing the additional burden of overturned convictions, the state prosecuting attorneys' association has filed a brief asking the state high court to revisit its 1995 ruling.

IQ Test Might Not Be Enough, Says State Supreme Court:  The Tennessee Supreme Court today held that trial courts are not required to accept the results of a standard IQ test when determining whether an inmate is "intellectually disabled" and thus ineligible for the death penalty.  Courts may also consider expert testimony that the test result is artificially inflated or deflated.  The AP has this story.

Missouri Bill Would Close Graphic Crime Images:  The AP reports that a Missouri legislator is sponsoring a bill that would exempt graphic crime photos and videos from the state's open records laws.  House Republican Scott Largent says the bill would protect victims' families by preventing these kinds of photos and videos from appearing on the internet.

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