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News Scan

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CA Sex Offender Bill Failed:  Mike Luery of KCRA 3 reports that AB 2, which would have sent sex offenders back to state prison for violating parole, failed 4-2 on a party line vote Tuesday. Republican Assembly Public Safety Committee Vice Chair Melissa Melendez and Marie Waldron were outvoted by Democrat Assembly members Chair Tom Ammiano, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Holly Mitchell, Bill Quirk and Nancy Skinner. The vote can be seen in this clip; the relevant part begins at 22 min. Continued from this News Scan.

OH Craigslist Killer Found Guilty: Barry Neild of The Guardian reports Richard Beasley was found guilty, Tuesday, of the aggravated kidnapping, robbery, and murders of David Pauley, Ralph Geiger, and Timothy Kern. He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Scott Davis. The crimes, carried out in 2011, were perpetrated when Beasley, conspiring with high school student Brogan Rafferty, 16, posted fake job ads on the Craigslist website luring his victims with promises of farm work. Rafferty is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole. Beasley may face the death penalty.

CO Judge Enters Not Guilty Plea for Theater Shooter Holmes:  Jack Healy of the New York Times reports Judge William B. Sylvester entered a not guilty plea Tuesday on behalf of Dark Knight shooter James Eagen Holmes, 25. The judge's ruling came after the defense lawyers said they were not prepared to enter a plea, and did not know when they would be. Prosecutors plan to announce their decision on whether to seek the death penalty at a hearing on April 1. The four week trial is set for August. Continued from News Scans here, here, and here. Discussed by CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger here and here.

FL Looks at Death Penalty Changes:  James L. Rosica of the Associated Press reports that the Florida Senate's Criminal Justice Committee is considering SB 148, a bill that would require a unanimous jury vote for the state's death penalty. Of the 33 states that use the death penalty, it is the only state besides Alabama that does not require a unanimous vote from the jury. Additionally, it would require unanimous agreement from a jury over aggravating circumstances.  What the story does not mention is that there are two very different kinds of "unanimous jury" laws for capital cases.  Some require the jury to be unanimous either way, and some allow a single juror to veto the decision of the other eleven.

AZ Murderer Suspected in Slaying of Prison Guard:  Dave Janoski of the Citizens Voice reports that Arizona convicted murderer Jessie Con-ui, 36, may receive the death penalty for the killing of corrections officer Eric Williams, 34. Con-ui had been scheduled for release from federal prison in September, where he has been serving time for a drug charge. He is now being held at a high-security prison after being suspected of killing Williams with a homemade knife on Feb. 25.

DE Lawmakers Seek to End Death Penalty:  Randall Chase of the Associated Press reports that Sen. Karen Peterson is sponsoring SB 19 in an effort to abolish the death penalty in Delaware. As of Tuesday, Gov. Jack Markell says he remains open to arguments from both sides of the issue and is uncertain where he stands.

WA Prepares Extradition of Suspect from OR:  Doug Esser of the Associated Press reports that Washington state authorities are preparing for the return of suspected murderer Michael Boysen, 26, from Oregon. Boyson, released from prison on Friday, is suspected of killing his grandparents upon his return home. He was arrested in Oregon after a daylong standoff at a motel. He is being held without bail on a warrant from the state Department of Corrections.

OK Executes Killer:  The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma triple murderer and rapist Steven Ray Thacker was executed Tuesday. Continued from this News Scan.

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