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News Scan

Supreme Court Review of MS Death Row Case Delayed: An appeal request made by a Mississippi woman on death row has been delayed after a request by the U.S. Supreme Court to see more court records.  The Associated Press reports that Michelle Byrom has asked the court for a new trial based on the claim that her original attorney failed to present evidence concerning physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband, as well as physical abuse during her childhood.  Byrom was convicted in 2000 for the murder of her husband, and at the time of sentencing, asked that the judge decide her sentence rather than the jury that found her guilty.

No Agreement Expected in CA Prison Overcrowding: A panel of federal judges has revealed that ongoing discussions aimed at settling the overcrowding in California prisons is at a standstill, prompting the judges to issue their own ruling within the next 30 days.  Sam Stanton and Denny Walsh of the Sacramento Bee report that lawyers for the state and California inmates have failed to reach an agreement on how to properly reduce the state's prison population to meet the judges' order, and only have until January 23 to make their recommendations to the court.  The panel of judges plans to announce whether or  not they will approve the state's request for a time extension to comply with the release order.

Appellate Court Denies Challenge From 'Underwear Bomber': The federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to uphold a life prison sentence for Umar Abdulmutallab, also known as the 'underwear bomber.'  United Press International reports that Abdulmutallab was sentenced to life after authorities say he attempted to detonate an explosive device hidden in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Michigan on Christmas Day, 2009.  Abdulmutallab was challenging his sentence based on his claim that life in prison is cruel and unusual punishment.

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