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News Scan

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First Racial Justice Act Case Decided: The Associated Press reports Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks, in the first decision under North Carolina's Racial Justice Act, commuted the death sentence of Marcus Robinson to life in prison because he found race played a "persistent, pervasive and distorting role" in jury selection. Weeks said prosecutors intentionally discriminated against Robinson, who was convicted of murdering a 17-year-old boy in 1991. After giving Robinson and his co-defendant a ride from a convenience store, the victim was forced to drive to a field and was shot with a sawed-off shotgun. Prosecutors said they were planning on challenging Weeks' decision. Robinson's is the first of more than 150 pending cases to get an evidentiary hearing before a judge under the new law.

Sentence of Georgia Death Row Inmate Commuted to LWOP: A News Release by Steve Hayes, Director of Public Affairs for the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, reports clemency was granted to condemned inmate Daniel Greene. His sentence was commuted to life in prison without parole. Greene was sentenced to death in 1992 for stabbing a man to death during a convenience store robbery. Greene had been scheduled for execution Thursday, and a stay had been issued Tuesday. The clemency order is here

Los Angeles Police Union Sues Over New Unlicensed Driver Policy: The Associated Press reports the Los Angeles police officers' union has filed a lawsuit against the city and police chief over a new policy that would allow some unlicensed drivers to keep their cars instead of having them impounded for 30 days. The suit, filed by the Police Protective League Wednesday in Superior Court, asks the court to block Chief Charlie Beck's new order. The union says the policy violates state law and could leave officers open to lawsuits if an unlicensed driver who was allowed to keep their car later hurts or kills someone.

CA Death Row Inmate Confesses to Another Murder: The Associated Press reports Royal Clark Jr., who is on California's death row for strangling a 14-year-old girl in 1995, has pleaded guilty to the strangulation of a 15-year-old girl in 1989. Charges were filed against Clark in December after a DNA hit was made.  

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It would be interesting to know how the legislature in NC could rip open a settled criminal judgment.

I feel terrible for the victim's family.

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