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News Scan

Murder Suspect Accused of Shooting Witness While on Bail: An Alabama man free on bail for a murder charge has been arrested and his bail revoked after authorities say he robbed and shot a witness that was set to testify against him.  Scott Johnson of the Montgomery Advertiser reports that 24-year-old Satarus Smith was charged with murder in December 2013, but was released after posting a $75,000 bond, police say he shot a witness to the December killing in the face earlier this month, leaving that man with a broken jaw.  Smith now faces additional charges of assault, robbery, and intimidating a witness.

OK Court Puts Two Executions on Hold: In a 5-4 decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of two death row inmates seeking to delay their upcoming executions.  Tim Talley of the Associated Press reports that the two inmates, both convicted murderers, were granted a stay of execution after challenging Oklahoma's secrecy protocol concerning the source of  its lethal injection drugs.  One of the inmates, Clayton Lockett, convicted of murdering a 19-year-old woman, was scheduled to be executed Tuesday evening.  Charles Warner, convicted of killing an 11-month-old child, was set for execution on April 29.

Thousands of Crack Cocaine Offenders Expected to Apply for Clemency: Thousands of federal prisoners serving sentences for crack cocaine offenses are expected to apply for release when the Justice Department announces new clemency rules later this week.  Bill Mears of CNN reports that the new criteria is aimed at addressing disparities between powder and crack cocaine sentences.  Attorney General Eric Holder is anticipating a dramatic increase in the number of individuals eligible for early release.  In addition to the changes regarding clemency, Holder has been encouraged prosecutors to be more flexible when charging  certain non-violent offenders, urging rehabilitation rather than incarceration for those offenders.

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