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News Scan

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L.A. Violent Crime Rate up for the First Time in 11 Years: The violent crime rate in Los Angeles is up by 2.9% in the first half of 2014, a number that hasn't been on the rise since 2003.  Kate Mather and Ben Poston of the Los Angeles Times reports that aggravated assaults are up by 12% since 2013, which is alarming LA Police Chief Charlie Beck as he indicates that aggravated assaults are the precursors to shootings and homicides.  Beck also indicated that crime overall is down in the city of Los Angeles, citing a decrease in homicides, robberies and rapes.

Wyoming Bill Seeks to Allow Firing Squads: A bill set for consideration in a Wyoming legislative committee next week would  to add firing squads as an approved method of execution.  Laura Hancock of the Star-Tribune reports that lethal injection would still remain the primary method of execution, but if for some reason it is ruled unconstitutional or can't be performed within the designated amount of time, then the death row inmate may be executed by firing squad.  Wyoming law also allows for lethal gas to be an alternative execution method, however, the state does not have a working gas chamber.

FL High Court Orders Attorney to Represent Death Row Inmate: In a 4-3 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court has ordered a public defender to represent a death row inmate who says he wants to be executed.  The Associated Press reports that James Robertson was sentenced to death in 2012 for the murder of his prison cellmate.  Robertson's attorneys asked to withdraw from the case because he did not want to challenge his sentence and was ready for execution.  Florida's high court ruled that if the attorneys were able to withdraw. it would pose a "serious threat" to the state's death penalty process. 

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