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News Scan

La. Man Faces Death Penalty for Murdering Detective:  Prosecutors announced Thursday that they plan to seek the death penalty against a Louisiana man who fatally shot a JPSO detective four months ago.  Michelle Hunter of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the announcement by the Jefferson Parish district attorney's office came after a grand jury handed down an indictment charging Jerman Neveaux Jr., 19, with first-degree murder in the death of Detective David Michel Jr., 50.  Neveaux also faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, illegal possession of a stolen firearm and two counts of resisting arrest by force or violence.  On June 22, Neveaux fatally shot Michel three times in the back after Michel stopped him while he was walking.  It is the first time since 2013 that the Jefferson Parish district attorney's office will pursue a death sentence.

FL High Court says Jurors Must be Unanimous on Death Sentences:  A ruling issued Friday by the Florida Supreme Court announced that a jury's death recommendation in capital punishment cases must be unanimous, answering a question left unanswered by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year.  Frank Fernandez of the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that the decision strikes down part of a state law that was passed earlier this year requiring a 10-2 jury recommendation for death before a judge could impose a death sentence.  Prior to that ruling, Florida only required a simple majority of seven votes, making it one of just three death penalty states that didn't require a unanimous jury recommendation.  Florida's death penalty system was subject to debate following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in January -- Hurst v. Florida -- that found the state's system unconstitutional because it gave judges too much power and juries too little in applying capital punishment.  The justices, however, never addressed a requirement for unanimity of juror's recommendations in such cases.

MO May Keep Execution Drug Suppliers Secret:  A federal appellate court ruled Thursday that Missouri can keep its lethal injection drug supplier a secret, reversing its own ruling made last month.  Jim Suhr of the AP reports that this week's ruling by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis overrules a Sept. 2 ruling made by the same judges, which stated that Missouri must disclose its pentobarbital supplier to two Mississippi death row inmates that have filed a lawsuit.  The judges made their initial ruling on the ground that the state's claim -- that revealing how it obtains the drugs could hamper its ability to get the chemicals for future executions -- was "inherently speculative."  During their rehearing Thursday, however, the drug supplier told the court it would cease doing business with Missouri or any other state if its identity were made public, and the 8th Circuit concluded that "the harm to MDOC (Missouri) clearly outweighs the need of the inmates, and disclosure would represent an undue burden" on the state's prison system.  The ruling comes one day after the Missouri Supreme Court scheduled an execution for January.

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