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News Scan

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New Prosecutors Take Over in Fast and Furious Case: On Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigating Operation Fast and Furious, announced that it is in the best interest of justice to replace the Federal prosecutors in Arizona due to a conflict of interest. The change comes at the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix, which was deeply involved with the ATF in administering the program. Federal Prosecutors from Los Angeles and San Francisco will now take over the case. Pete Yost of the AP reports

Prosecutor:  Acquittal Likely for Amanda Knox: Prosecutor Manuela Comudi has released a statement saying Amanda Knox, 24, will likely be acquitted due to a judge's rejection of the request for a new review of crucial DNA evidence. Prosecutor Comodi said: "There is an ill wind blowing in this case. The judge and his assistant are clearly against us. I can see both Knox and Sollecito being freed which will be a shame as they are both involved." The key evidence in the case is a 12 inch kitchen knife found at the crime scene. An independent report by forensic experts questions the reliability of the DNA  evidence found. Nick Pisa has this story in the Telegraph.

Stay Lifted for Florida Cop Killer:  The AP reports that the 11th Circuit has turned down Manual Valle's request for a permanent stay of execution to allow his challenge to the state's lethal injection process.   Valle was sentenced to death for the 1978 murder of Coral Gables officer Louis Pena during a traffic stop.  Valle, who was scheduled for execution earlier this week, could receive a new execution date if the court lifts if another temporary stay on a different claim in the case.  The Florida Supreme Court had previously stayed Valle's execution but lifted the stay after rejecting his claim.  See August 23 News Scan.

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The other stay, which seems completely unjustified, relates to a clemency procedure that was supposedly aborted in 1992. Putting aside the impropriety of a federal appeals court dealing with this issue (why isn't Valle going to Florida courts), why did Valle wait until 2011 to raise the clemency procedure, and why is a federal court of appeals issuing a stay? This is another unjustified intervention in state capital procedings. It is long past time federal courts to get out of reviewing state death sentences on habeas corpus. This case is yet another example of that.

And, while I am at it, why was a stay granted for the LI issue. The Florida Supreme Court had ruled on the claim, and that should be afforded preclusive effect by the federal courts.

Given the proclivities of the Northern District of California, alot of Mexican gunrunners will go free.

Here's the 11th Circuit's decision dealing with Valle's clemency claim:

http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/201113962.pdf

The 11th Circuit had no business issuing the stay in the first place.

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