Court may overturn 100 death sentences

WASHINGTON

A case considered by the Supreme Court yesterday could overturn
death sentences of more than 100 inmates, the most far-reaching
capital punishment issue this term in a follow-up to a 2002 ruling
that made juries, not judges, final arbiters of the death
penalty.

Capital punishment cases often are the most dramatic at the high
court, but the justices were subdued as they contemplated ordering
new sentences for convicted killers in at least four states.

The court ruled two years ago that the constitutional right to a
trial by jury means that jurors should weigh factors that determine
whether a particular killing merits death or life in prison. Now
the court must decide whether to apply that to old cases. Justice
Stephen Breyer said he worried about “the spectacle of the
man going to his death having been sentenced in violation of that
principle.”

The court will settle the matter in the case of Arizona prisoner
Warren Wesley Summerlin, sentenced more than 20 years ago by a
judge who later lost his job because of a drug problem, one of
several elements that makes the case read like pulp fiction.

 

Video suggests McVeigh had accomplices

WASHINGTON

A Secret Service document written shortly after the 1995
Oklahoma City bombing described security video footage of the
attack and witness testimony that suggested Timothy McVeigh may
have had accomplices at the scene.

“Security video tapes from the area show the truck
detonation 3 minutes and 6 seconds after the suspects exited the
truck,” the Secret Service reported six days after the attack
on a log of agents’ activities and evidence in the Oklahoma
investigation.

The government has insisted McVeigh drove the truck himself and
that it never had any video of the bombing or the scene of the
Alfred P. Murrah building in the minutes before the April 19, 1995,
explosion.

Several investigators and prosecutors who worked the case told
The Associated Press they had never seen video footage like that
described in the Secret Service log.

The document, if accurate, is either significant evidence kept
secret for nine years or a misconstrued recounting of investigative
leads that were often passed by word of mouth during the hectic
early days of the case, they said.

 

Airport may receive security exemption

PITTSBURGH

Pittsburgh International could become the nation’s first
major airport to get the OK to abandon the post-Sept. 11 rule that
says only ticketed passengers are allowed past security
checkpoints.

Federal security officials are considering allowing people once
more to say their hellos and goodbyes to friends and loved ones at
the gate.

Airport officials and western Pennsylvania’s congressional
delegation have pushed for two years for the change for reasons of
money and passenger convenience. What happens here could become a
model for other airports.

“This is new, this is exciting, because we’re
basically rewriting the security directives in order to allow
nonticketed passengers to go through security,” said JoAnn
Jenny, spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

 

Court reduces Serb general’s sentence

THE HAGUE, Netherlands

In a historic verdict that will resonate in the trial of former
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, a U.N. appeals court
affirmed yesterday that Bosnian Serbs committed genocide at the
U.N.-protected zone of Srebrenica in 1995, but cleared a Serb
general of being a “principal perpetrator” and reduced
his sentence.

The war crimes tribunal, however, convicted Gen. Radislav Krstic
of the lesser crime of “aiding and abetting genocide.”
It found that he assisted in the massacre of thousands of Bosnian
Muslims but did not intend to wipe out the Muslim community.

Krstic’s August, 2001 genocide conviction was the first in
Europe by an international court since the destruction of European
Jewry in the Holocaust by the Nazis.

 

Shell execs ‘tired’ of lying about
reserves

LONDON

A top executive of Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos. wrote in an
e-mail that he was “sick and tired about lying” about
the company’s inflated oil and gas reserves estimates, an
investigation commissioned by Shell reported yesterday.

The inquiry found some Shell bosses knew for almost two years
the company had publicly overstated the size of its reserves.

The shaken oil giant also announced its chief financial officer
had stepped down, the latest in a string of high-level casualties
since Shell’s announcement in January that its confirmed oil
and gas holdings were much smaller than claimed.

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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