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News Scan

New York Experiencing Surge in Heroin Sales: At a time when Attorney General Eric Holder is pushing for shorter sentencing for convicted drug dealers, New York City is experiencing what law enforcement officers say is the highest level of heroin trafficking in more than 20 years.  J. David Goodman of the New York Times reports that nearly 35 percent of heroin seized by the DEA nationwide since October was confiscated in New York, in years prior, that state was accounting for roughly 20 percent of heroin seizures.  Along with an increase in trafficking, law enforcement officers have also noted a sharp increase in the number of overdose deaths as a result of the wide availability of heroin.

FL Man's 1,000 Year Sentence Upheld: A Florida appeals court has upheld the 1,000 year sentence handed down to a Jacksonville man convicted of raping three women as a juvenile more than 30 years ago.  David Boroff of the New York Daily News reports that attorneys for Arthur Franklin challenged his 1,000 year sentence citing a 2010 Supreme Court decision that made it illegal to sentence juveniles to life without parole unless they had been convicted of murder.  Franklin, who was 17 at the time of the crime, kidnapped and raped the women 31 years ago, resulting in 20 felony convictions including armed sexual battery, armed robbery and aggravated assault.

Judge Denies Request for Stay of Execution: A federal judge has refused to issue a stay of execution for a Missouri inmate scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday.  Kevin Murphy of Reuters reports that 46-year-old Russell Bucklew, convicted of first-degree murder and rape in 1996, filed a motion to halt his execution based on the claim that he has a rare health condition that may cause him to experience extreme pain and suffocation as a result of lethal injection.  The judge also denied Bucklew's request to have his execution videotaped to record what he believes will be 'evidence of his suffering'.  Update: Mark Berman reports in the WaPo that a stay was granted by a panel of the Eighth Circuit, vacated by that court en banc, and granted again by Justice Alito (Circuit Justice for the Eighth) pending further order of the Supreme Court.

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