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News Scan

Ohio Governor Issues 2-Week Reprieve for Condemned Inmate: Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press reports Ohio Governor John Kasich granted a temporary reprieve on Tuesday night for Abdul Awkal, who was scheduled to be executed within 18 hours when the governor made his announcement. Kasich granted the two-week reprieve to allow for a hearing on Awkal's mental competency. Awkal was sentenced to death for killing his estranged wife and brother-in-law at a Cleveland courthouse.   

Federal Judge Rejects Media Groups' Idaho Execution Access Lawsuit: Jessie L. Bonner of the Associated Press reports a federal judge on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit filed by the Associated Press and 16 other news groups last month over a policy in Idaho that prevents witnesses from viewing the entire lethal injection process. "The claim was brought very late, and if granted, it would undoubtedly change the execution protocol and could disrupt the scheduled execution," U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge said. "The public has an interest in viewing the whole execution process, but it also has an interest in seeing the judgment enforced without disruption." The attorney for the news organizations said they will appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jury Recommends Death for CA Cop Killer: The Associated Press reports a jury on Tuesday recommended the death penalty for Earl Ellis Green, who was convicted of first-degree murder last month for killing a Riverside police officer.  Officer Ryan Bonaminio pulled Green over in response to a hit-and-run report. In 2010, Bonaminio chased Green on foot down a darkened park path, where Green beat him with a metal bar and shot Bonaminio with his own service weapon after he slipped and fell. 27-year-old Bonaminio was a Riverside native and a war veteran, having served with the Army in Iraq. Green was also found guilty of vehicle theft with a previous conviction for vehicle theft and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25.

NYC Mayor Supports Decriminalization of Marijuana: Thomas Kaplan of The New York Times reports New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana. The proposal is an effort by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested because of police stops, specifically due to the police department's stop-and-frisk practices. Bloomberg and police officials agree that the practice has made the city safer, but it has been criticized as racially biased. Under Cuomo's proposal, the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana in public view would be downgraded from a misdemeanor to a violation. The maximum fine for first-time drug offenders would be $100. 

Another Case Challenges Provision of Connecticut Death Penalty Repeal: Brian Burnell of New England Cable News reports Connecticut's Supreme Court on Monday overturned the death sentence of Eduardo Santiago and ordered him a new penalty phase trial for his conviction in the killing of a man in exchange for a broken snowmobile. The state's recent death penalty repeal is prospective in that it keeps the death sentences intact for those sentenced before the repeal, but bans any future death sentences. Burnell questions how that is going to work in this situation. If Santiago gets another death sentence from the new penalty phase trial, "Doesn't that mean he's being sentenced to death in a state that doesn't have capital punishment anymore?  Sounds like another avenue of appeal," Burnell said.  

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