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News Scan

Suspects Busted for NYC Synagogue Terror Plot:  CNN reporter Susan Candiotti reports two North African men, one a U.S. citizen, were arrested last night for planning an attack on a Manhattan synagogue.  When the two were arrested, New York City police discovered three or four guns and a hand grenade.  The men were arrested as part of a NYPD undercover sting operation after the potential terror threat had been under radar for several months.  Law enforcement sources say the two were acting on their own.  One suspect has an extensive criminal record involving drugs and other non-terror related crimes involving guns, while the other suspect has only a minor criminal history.  The state is handling the terror case because federal officials declined for reasons unknown. 

D.A. Files Lawsuit Against Former Governor on Behalf of Crime Victims:
  San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis filed a lawsuit Wednesday in San Diego's Superior Court to nullify former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to commute the prison sentence of Esteban Nunez, the 22-year-old son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.  Esteban  was one of two men who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and other charges in connection with the 2008 fatal stabbing of 22-year-old Luis Santos on the campus of San Diego State University.  Nunez was initially sentenced to a 16-year prison term before Schwarzenegger commuted his sentence to seven years, saying Nunez should not have received the same sentence as co-defendant Ryan Jett, who was responsible for inflicting the wounds that killed Santos.  Schwarzenegger told Newsweek that his friendship with Fabian Nunez factored into his decision and that he felt good about it.  Dumanis' lawsuit alleges that the governor had a constitutional obligation under the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights to notify the victims and their families of his intent to commute Nunez's sentence and to provide them an opportunity to be heard.  "Historically, the governor was entrusted with this power to represent the conscience of the community and to ensure against miscarriages of justice," Dumanis said. "Not as quote, 'a favor to a friend.'"  Because Schwarzenegger is no longer governor, he is not named as a defendant in the suit, but Gov. Jerry Brown and representatives from other state agencies are named instead.  Dana Littlefield of the San Diego Union Tribune has this story.

Death Row Inmate Wants to End His Appeals and Die:  If 49-year-old death row inmate Gary Haugen gets a judge to sign his death warrant, Oregon could soon hold its first execution in nearly 14 years.  Haugen wrote letters to the state court administrator in the Supreme Court about his wishes to end all appeals and be executed.  Haugen killed a Portland woman 30 years ago, but is on death row for killing another inmate in 2003.  He wrote his reasoning for the request was because of "the lack of any faith in the Oregon judicial system, my disgust, disdain, the arbitrary and vindictive actions of this system, I refuse to barter, I don't negotiate. This is for my peace of mind ... at least respect my will and initiate the process for execution A.S.A.P!"   This Friday, Haugen will ask a Marion County judge to sign his death warrant and if he's successful than he could die by lethal injection about three months from now.  Dan Tilkin of KATU News has this story.

Former San Quentin Warden Appointed to New Role:   Carol J. Williams of the Los Angeles Time reports the abolitionist nonprofit Death Penalty Focus is expected to announce today its new executive director appointee - former San Quentin Prison Warden Jeanne Woodford, who oversaw four executions during her 30-year career in California corrections.  "I never was in favor of the death penalty, but my experience at San Quentin allowed me to see it from all points of view.  I had a duty to carry out, and I tried to do it with professionalism," said Woodford.  Hat tip to How Appealing for the link.

Fish Tall Tails Could Soon Be Crime in Texas:  It may soon be a crime to tell a tall tale about a fish in Texas, reports Erica Goode of The New York Times.  After unanimously passing the State Senate, a bill arrived on Governor Rick Perry's desk yesterday that makes it a misdemeanor - and in some cases a felony - to misrepresent the size, weight, or provenance of a fish in a fishing tournament.  

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