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News Scan

AL Postpones Executions Until 2015: An Alabama lawmaker has announced that the state will not be able to resume executing death row inmates until Spring 2015.  The Associated Press reports that Alabama has run out of lethal injection drugs, and pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell drugs to the state without assurance that they will have immunity from lawsuits by death penalty opponents.  The state has 16 death row inmates who have exhausted all of their appeals and are awaiting execution.

Attorney General to Oppose Data-Driven Sentencing: Attorney General Eric Holder plans to oppose using data when sentencing defendants, citing his belief that judges should use facts of a crime rather than statistical predictions on future behavior in order to keep justice equal.  Massimo Calabresi of TIME reports that over the past decade, states have begun using databases of information about criminals as a way of identifying risk factors for repeat offenders.  Judges are supposed to use this data rank defendants according to risk as an aid in sentencing.  Holder will address the issue in his annual report to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

NV High Court Rejects Death Penalty Appeals: The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected appeals filed by three murderers on the state's death row.  Cy Ryan of the Las Vegas Sun reports that the three murderers challenged their sentences for a variety of reasons including ineffective counsel and a claim of insanity.  Nevada has executed 12 death row inmates since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, most recently in April 2006.

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