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News Scan

Anti-Death Penalty Group Asks Judge to Block Oregon Execution:  Jonathan J. Cooper of the AP reports the Oregon Capital Resource Center announced yesterday that it is filing a petition next week to block the execution of Oregon death row inmate Gary Haugen.  An August 18 execution date was set for Haugen after he requested to waive his appeals and a judge determined he was competent to do so.  The anti-death penalty group claims the judge should have authorized a professional mental health evaluation before signing the death warrant. 

Feds in "Panic Mode" Over Failed Gun Tracking Program:  Department of Justice officials are in "panic mode" as a congressional hearing approaches to investigate a failed anti-gun trafficking program, reports William La Jeunesse of Fox News.  Documents allegedly show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms' "Operation Fast and Furious" knowingly flooded Mexico with assault rifles with the intent of exposing the entire smuggling process, but spun out of control.  After the death of a Border Patrol Agent, another agent stepped forward and exposed the scandal.  Some Arizona gun store owners claim they were explicitly told by the ATF to sell up to 40 guns to a single person in a single day, even though it is illegal to purchase a gun for anyone but yourself.  Mexican officials estimate 150 people have been shot by "Fast and Furious"-tracked guns.

Jury Selection Almost Complete in Second Home Invasion Trial:  Randall Beach of the New Haven Register (CT) reports jury selection is nearly complete in the capital murder case against Joshua Komisarjevsky, the second defendant to be tried for the deadly Petit family home invasion.  After three months of jury selection, defense and prosecution attorneys have agreed on 12 regular jurors, six alternates, and two back-up alternates - leaving only one back-up alternate to be selected.  The defense team yesterday used the last of its 40 peremptory challenges and presiding Judge Jon C. Blue denied its request for an additional 40 challenges.  Judge Blue called the original allotment of challenges "immensely fair" and remarked "it's harder to get onto this jury than into Yale."

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