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News Scan

Execution Carried Out in Arizona Wednesday Morning: Michael Kiefer of The Arizona Republic reports Thomas Kemp was executed by lethal injection this morning in Arizona for robing and killing a man in 1992.  Kemp, an ex-con, and a former prisonmate who had escaped from an honor farm in California, seized 25-year-old college student Hector Juarez, who was out getting a late-night snack. The men made Juarez withdraw money from an ATM, stripped him naked, then shot him twice in the head and dumped his body near the Silverbell Mine. Kemp and his co-conspirator then carjacked a couple and forced them to drive to Colorado, where Kemp sexually assaulted the man. The couple was able to escape and later contact police. At his sentencing, Kemp told the court that Juarez was "beneath my contempt" because he was not an American citizen, and, "If more of them wound up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico, where they belong." His last words were, "I regret nothing."

Connecticut Death Penalty Repeal Signed Into Law: The Associated Press reports Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday signed a new law that ends the state's death penalty for future crimes, effective immediately. The bill was signed the same day a new Quinnipiac University Poll showed 62 percent of Connecticut registered voters are still in favor of the death penalty for those convicted of murder. The poll also showed 47 percent of voters disapprove of Malloy's handling of the issue, and 51 percent disapprove of the legislature's handling of the issue.

Judge Says Kentucky Must Consider One-Drug Protocol: Brett Barrouquere of the Associated Press reports Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd in Kentucky on Wednesday directed the state to consider using one drug instead of three to execution inmates by lethal injection now that other states have been successful using a single drug method. Shepherd halted all executions in Kentucky 20 months ago over inmates' challenges to whether the state's lethal injection rules prohibited the use of a single drug and if there were adequate protections against executing the mentally ill. Kentucky has 90 days to consider the changes. Shepherd said the challenge by inmates will be allowed to go to trial if the state stays with the three-drug method.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arizona Immigration Law: Mark Sherman of the Associated Press reports the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments for Arizona's immigration law signed by Governor Jan Brewer two years ago. Justices suggested they would allow the state to enforce part of the law that requires police officers to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally. Justices reacted skeptically to the argument by the Obama administration that that the state exceeded its authority when it created the law. Chief Justice John Roberts said the state simply wants to notify federal authorities that they have someone in their custody who may be in the country illegally. "It seems to me that the federal government just doesn't want to know who's here illegally and who's not," Roberts said. A decision in the case is expected in late June.

Maryland Court Blocks Police Collection of DNA at Arrest: Yvonne Wenger of The Baltimore Sun reports the Court of Appeals in Maryland ruled 5-2 that the state law which allows the collection of DNA evidence from arrestees violated the rights of
Alonzo Jay King Jr.  King was arrested months after the law was adopted for assault and his DNA was later used to convict him of a six-year-old rape case. The court said collecting Kings DNA at arrest violated protections against unreasonable searches without a warrant. The state can still collect DNA after convictions, and law enforcement agencies can still use DNA samples to verify the person they arrested is the correct suspect. Since the law took effect in January 2009, the state has collected nearly 16,000 DNA samples, and used that evidence to gain 58 convictions that include 34 burglaries and 8 rapes. "The concept is simple: When we increase the library of DNA samples in our state, we solve more crimes," Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley said in a statement. "We take more criminals off the streets more quickly and put them in jail for a longer period of time so that they cannot murder, rape or harm other citizens among us."

The Costs of Leniency: Theodore Dalrymple has this piece in City Journal highlighting the laxity of the British criminal justice system, using the case of Gordon Thompson as an example. Thompson was recently sentenced to 11 and a half years for arson, in which he set fire to a family-owned furniture store that quickly spread to nearby houses during the London riots last summer. Thompson claims he was upset about the recent break up of his marriage, but it turns out Thompson had 20 previous convictions. Dalrymple questions what Thompson was doing at liberty, and says the cause of the riots in London was because of the laxity in such cases.

Grandma Fires Back at Robbery Suspects: CBS Atlanta and the Associated Press report a Georgia grandmother thwarted a robbery attempt by two armed suspects by getting into a shootout with them. Two men attempted to rob Lulu Campbell outside of her car Saturday morning. When one of the men fired at her and missed, Campbell fired back and struck him in the chest. Campbell owns convenience stores and gas stations and is always armed. "I thought that the only way to protect myself was to run him down," she said. "Otherwise, he would have gotten away." Police say Brenton Lance Spencer has been hospitalized and charged with aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery. Dantre Shivers, the other suspect, remains at large. 

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