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News Scan

Connecticut Senate to Vote on Death Penalty Repeal: Shannon Young of the Associated Press reports the Connecticut Senate will vote Wednesday on a bill to abolish the death penalty in the state. The legislation will only affect future cases, and the sentences of the 11 inmates currently on Connecticut's death row will remain intact. But opponents predict death row inmates will use the repeal as the basis for numerous legal appeals. A Quinnipiac University poll last month showed 62 percent of Connecticut residents do not support the repeal.

Justice Department Threatens to Sue Arizona Sheriff: Sari Horwitz of The Washington Post reports the Justice Department threatened to sue Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Tuesday when negotiations fell through in the case where Justice officials have accused Arpaio of discriminating against Hispanics. Arpaio refused to agree to one of the Justice Department's requirements, an independent monitor to oversee changes in his department. Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights, said they hope to resolve the issues, "but we will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action if the [Maricopa County Sheriff's Office] chooses a different course of action." This is one of 17 probes the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is conducting of sheriff and police departments, which is the most in its 54-year history.

Appeals Court Hears Case in Surrendering of Rhode Island Murderer: Laura Crimaldi of the Associated Press reports a five-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday heard arguments in the case of Jason Pleau, who Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee is refusing to surrender to federal authorities because he could face the death penalty if prosecuted in federal court. Rhode Island does not have the death penalty. Pleau is accused of fatally shooting a gas station manager outside of a bank in 2010 and making off with a bank deposit bag with more than $12,000 inside. Pleau is serving an 18-year-sentence in state prison for a probation violation in another case.

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