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News Scan

Aurora Shooting Suspect Charged: Nicholas Riccardi and P. Solomon Banda of the Associated Press report James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder on Monday. Holmes received two counts for each of the 12 victims killed and two counts for each of the 58 injured. One count included murder with deliberation and another included murder with extreme indifference, which both carry a maximum death penalty sentence and minimum life without parole sentence upon conviction. He was also charged with one count of possession of explosives and one count of a crime of violence. A September 27 hearing date was set to update the status of the case.

Texas Execution Scheduled for Wednesday Stayed: The Associated Press reports the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday stayed the Wednesday execution of Texas death row inmate Marcus Druery so it could review a petition arguing that he is not mentally competent to be executed. Druery was sentenced to death for the 2002 shooting death and robbery of 20-year-old Skyyler Browne at Druery's family property. A lower court had previously rejected Druery's petition.

Virginia Adds New Backup Lethal Injection Drug: Larry O'Dell of the Associated Press reports the Virginia Department of Corrections on Friday said it has added rocuronium bromide as an alternative to pancuronium bromide in the state's lethal injection cocktail. There is a shortage of pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes the muscles, nationwide.

Risk Assessments Not Sufficient on Their Own: HealthCanal.com reports an international research team led by Dr. Seena Fazel at the University of Oxford found that when identifying those most at risk of committing crime, risk assessment tools had a predictive accuracy similar to chance levels. Dr. Fazel said, "Our review would suggest that risk assessment tools, in their current form, can only be used to roughly classify individuals at the group level, not to safely determine criminal prognosis in an individual case. The extent to which these instruments improve clinical outcomes and reduce repeat offending needs further research."

NY State Senator Proposes Legislation Over Handling of Sexual Predator Teachers: Campbell Brown has this piece in The Wall Street Journal about New York's review system of misconduct by teachers, which is heavily influenced by teachers unions. New York State Senator Stephen Saland has proposed legislation to give school districts in the state, or the chancellor in New York City, final say in the handling of sexual predators, instead of a paid arbitrator chosen by the local teachers union together with the school district. "The union has reached a moment of truth. With responsible legislation on the table, the right course of action is obvious," Brown says.

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