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News Scan

New iPhone App Fights Back: The San Francisco Chronicle has this article from PRWeb about Thugs Mug, the first safety protection app for the iPhone and iPad 2. When activated the app sends photos to the user's safety contacts along with the GPS coordinates of where the crime is occurring while simultaneously calling 911. The goal of the app is to capture evidence and deter criminals.

No Pensions for Pedophiles: Catherine Lucey and Michael Hinkelman of the Philadelphia Daily News report Pennsylvania state Reps. Brendan Boyle (D) and Kevin Boyle (D) are working on a bill that would disqualify state and municipal workers from getting a public pension if they have been convicted of a sex crime against a minor. Under the state's current pension law, forfeiture rules could cover crimes committed while on duty, but sex crimes committed on employee's own time don't disqualify them. No official action can be taken until September when the state House is back in session.

First Death Row Hearing Under Racial Justice Act: Paul Woolverton and Gregory Phillips of The Fayetteville Observer (NC) report Marcus Reymond Robinson will be the first North Carolina death row inmate to argue to a judge that his sentence should be converted to life without parole under the Racial Justice Act. Robinson was convicted for the 1991 robbery and murder of a 17-year-old boy. Robinson was set to be executed in January 2007, but all executions in the state were postponed indefinitely while the courts sorted out other controversies regarding North Carolina's execution procedures. The Racial Justice Act of 2009 says that death row inmates can seek to have their sentenced converted to life without parole if they have evidence that their sentence was racially motivated. 151 of the 158 inmates on North Carolina's death row are pursuing claims under the Racial Justice Act. Robinson's hearing is scheduled for September 6.

Florida Attorney Asks Supreme Court Justice to Lift Stay of Execution: Bill Kaczor of the AP reports the Florida Supreme Court on Monday ordered a month-long stay of execution for Manuel Valle to allow a trial judge to conduct a fact-finding hearing on whether Valle would feel pain from a new drug Florida plans to use for lethal injection.  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a request to ask U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to lift the stay. Valle was sentence to death for killing a Coral Gables police officer and was originally scheduled to be executed on August 2.

Lockerbie Bomber Makes an Appearance at a TV Rally: BBC News reports that Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi made a televised appearance at a rally of members of Megrahi's tribe broadcast live from Tripoli.  Megrahi was released in August 2009 on compassionate grounds because he suffered from prostate cancer and was thought to have only three months to live.  A presenter at the rally introduced Megrahi and announced that "half of the world conspired against" Megrahi.

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