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News Scan

TX Courts Refuse to Block Upcoming Execution: A federal judge has joined the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in rejecting the plea of a woman seeking to halt her execution, which is set for Wednesday.  The Associated Press reports that attorneys for 59-year-old Suzanne Basso, who was sentenced to death for the torture and murder of a mentally impaired man more than 15 years ago, claim the woman is mentally incompetent and shouldn't be executed.  If executed, Basso will become the 15th woman to be put to death in U.S. history.

West Virginia Bill Seeks to Reinstate Capital Punishment: Members of the West Virginia Legislature will soon have the chance to vote on House Bill 2595; a bill that would implement the death penalty for felons convicted of first-degree murder.  Greg Jordan of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that the authors of the bill believe that introducing the option of the death penalty would act as a deterrent and also save the cost of incarcerating murderers for life.  The death penalty would be available for the most heinous murderers where there is no possibility for re-entry back into society.  West Virginia abolished the death penalty in 1965 and has not executed a prisoner since 1959.
Wisconsin Seeks Seeks Lower Recidivism of Sex Offenders: Officials in Wisconsin say they have been able to release nearly many more sexually violent offenders from state custody under a law which places them under tight supervision.  Nora G. Hertel of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports that under Chapter 980, which took effect in 1994, violent sex offenders with mental disorders and pose a danger to others are kept past their original sentence before being placed on supervised release where they receive intensive treatment and monitoring until they are deemed safe.  Since the law went into effect,  Wisconsin has committed roughly 500 offenders past their criminal sentence, nearly 2/3 of them remain confined. 

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