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News Scan

Pennsylvania Death Warrant Signed, Then Stayed, for Killer of Police Officer: TribLIVE reports hours after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a death warrant for Michael Travaglia, he was granted a temporary stay for the September 13 execution so his new federal public defenders could prepare another federal appeal. Travaglia was sentenced to death for killing a 21-year-old rookie police officer in 1980. Travaglia and co-defendant John Lesko also killed three other people prior to killing the officer during an eight-day killing spree. Death warrants for Travaglia have been signed by previous governors in 1985 and 1990.

Ohio Death Penalty Panel Looks at Racial Bias: Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press reports an Ohio Supreme Court committee reviewing the state's capital punishment law approved three recommendations on Thursday. The task force of prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and death penalty experts convened by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor is looking at a variety of issues including how the law affects minorities, the role of clemency, and whether death sentences in the state are proportional.

All CA Inmates to be Removed from Private Prison in Oklahoma: Andrew Knittle of NewsOK reports California prisoners held at the North Fork Correctional Facility in western Oklahoma are expected to be returned to the state by the end of 2013. The prison, which houses all California inmates, has a capacity of more than 2,000. Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, says the state is going to stop sending inmates to out-of-state prisons, and all out-of-state prisoners will be returned to California by the end of the 2016 fiscal year. Thornton said this will save the state roughly $320 million a year.

Overcriminalization, the Job Killer: Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp., has this piece in The Wall Street Journal about a proposed bill in the House of Representatives, called the Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Enforcement Fairness (Relief) Act, that could help citizens from accidentally violating the Lacey Act. Gibson was raided last August under the Lacey Act. Juszkiewicz calls this "overreach of government authority" a burden on growing businesses that demonstrates the trend of regulating business activities through criminal law by punishing minor errors with criminal charges. Juszkiewicz  writes, "... the justice system has strayed from its constitutional purpose: stopping the real bad guys from bringing harm." He says policy makers have to "stop criminalizing capitalism."

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