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News Scan

Supreme Court Refuses Appeals for Three Condemned Texas Inmates: The Associated Press reports the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the appeals of three men on death row in Texas, two of whom were convicted of killing children. See Monday's orders list.  No execution dates have been set for any of the three men.

Convicted Ohio Killer Release Prompts Push for Victim's Rights: The Associated Press reports Thomas Craft of Ohio will be released from prison next month, 11 years after he was convicted of killing and dismembering his wife and leaving her body parts at various sites in Michigan, including in a McDonald's dumpster. The pending release has prompted his former wife's family to push for "Lynette's Law," legislation that would require victim approval of the conditions of an inmate's post-release supervision. After learning that Craft planned to moved to Wisconsin to be near the couple's sons following his June release, Lynette Craft's family successfully petitioned the prisons department for in-state monitoring of Craft, who will spend the next five years in a half-way house in Ohio.

Mississippi Execution Scheduled for Later Today: The Associated Press reports Rodney Gray is scheduled to be executed in Mississippi today at 6pm local time after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour also denied Gray's bid for clemency. Gray was sentenced to death in 1996 for killing a 79-year-old woman whose body was discovered on a bridge in 1994 with a fatal shotgun wound in the head.

New York Senate to Vote on Violent Felony Offender Registry: NewsLI.com (NY) reports the New York Senate is set to vote today on "Brittany's Law," a bill that would require violent offenders to register with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services upon release from prison. The law is named for 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua, who was murdered along with her mother in 2009 by a violent convicted felon on parole after serving part of his sentence for assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. The violent felony offender registry would be similar to the New York State Sex Offender Registry and would require offenders to register annually after their release from prison. Several other states have established a violent felony offender registry, including Montana, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma.

Convicted Sex Offender Gets 830 Years to Life: The Associated Press reports 44-year-old Bennie Dale Moses of West Sacramento has been sentenced to 830 years to life for sexually abusing a young girl for nine years, beginning in 2000 when she was 12 years old. In March he was convicted on 62 counts of sex and oral copulation with a child, where Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephan Mock ruled that Moses had previously been convicted of 12 separate "strike" offenses.

First Conviction Under Federal Hate Crimes Act:
The Lovely County Citizen (AR) reports that the Justice Department announced today that 19-year-old Sean Popejoy of Arkansas pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of committing a federal hate crime and one count of conspiring to commit a federal hate crime. This is the first conviction for a violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, enacted in October 2009. Popejoy could face a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.

American Society of Magazine Editors' Disgraceful Award:  Cully Stimson has this so-titled post on The Heritage Foundation's blog, regarding Scott Horton's receipt of the American Society of Magazine Editors' award.  Horton published a story in Harper's Magazine in January 2010 claiming the deaths of three Gitmo detainees in 2006 were "most likely" caused by U.S. personnel, rather than suicides as confirmed by Navy investigators.  Stimson writes Horton's story "was a complete fiction and its flaws have been exposed from every conceivable quarter," including military officials and classified documents published by Wikileaks.  For Horton to receive an award for such a piece, Stimson opines, "does not reflect well on the standards for reporters" and is "a disgrace."  

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