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News Scan

Former CA Governors Endorse Death Penalty Reform: Former California governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis are set to announce their support for a proposed initiative that would speed up executions by ending lengthy death penalty appeals.  Maura Dolan of the Los Angeles Times reports that the proposal would establish a five-year deadline for deciding appeals, transfer most death penalty cases from the CA Supreme Court to lower courts, and allow the Corrections Department to mainstream death row inmates with the general prison population.  California has more than 700 murderers on death row, and has not held an execution since 2006.

MS Bill Targets Violent Offenders: Just two days after members of the Mississippi House passed HB 585, which attempts to save money by reducing the number of prisoners in state custody, state representatives have voted to pass another bill to  keep violent criminals in custody.  Jeff Amy of the Associated Press reports that House Bill 63 would limit the ability of violent offenders to have their prison sentence reduced after their second conviction.  The bills also give judges more flexibility regarding alternative sentencing and strengthens the requirement that victims be notified before an inmate is released.

Death Penalty Bill Advances in Kansas Senate: Kansas senators are moving a bill that would shorten the amount of time death row inmates have to complete their appeals to the Kansas Supreme Court.  The Associated Press reports that the bill creates a 3 1/2-year time limit for the appeals to be reviewed and decided, and limits the length of petitions.  Kansas has not carried out an execution since reinstating the death penalty twenty years ago, and currently has nine murderers on death row.

Right to Bear Arms:  Joe Palazzolo reports at WSJ Law Blog, "The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the Second Amendment endows the right to carry a gun outside the home. The opinion comes days before the Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to review two other cases that ask the question of whether the right to 'bear arms' extends beyond the home."

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