Idaho Legislature Revives Death Penalty
BOISE, Idaho -- State lawmakers gave final approval yesterday to a bill that would restore Idaho's death penalty, which was overturned last year by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The measure, adopted overwhelmingly by the state Senate, passed the House by 58 to 12. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R) has indicated he will sign it.
The bill turns over the sentencing decision in death penalty cases to juries and requires a prison sentence of life without parole in capital murder cases in which the death sentence is not imposed.
The Supreme Court last June overturned death sentence laws in Idaho and four other states in which juries determined defendants' guilt or innocence and judges alone decided their punishment.
The court held that such sentences violate defendants' constitutional right to a trial by jury.
The bill passed yesterday would apply the new sentencing procedure to any of the 21 current death row inmates if their sentences are overturned because they were imposed by a judge. A case pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit may decide if people sentenced under the previous rules must be resentenced.
Since Idaho's death penalty was reinstated in 1977, only one man has been executed. One death row inmate was freed after being cleared by DNA evidence.
Palestinian Professor Reunited With Family
TAMPA -- A former Palestinian academic who was jailed on the basis of secret evidence and then deported for alleged terrorist ties was reunited with his family n an overseas location, a relative said.
Mazen Najjar was joined by his wife, Fedaa, and his three American-born daughters -- ages 7, 12 and 14 -- in a U.S.-friendly Arab nation, said Najjar's brother-in-law, Sami Arian.
He would not identify the country.
Najjar was jailed for 31/2 years in the United States on the basis of secret evidence prosecutors said linked him to terrorism. He was released in 2000, then arrested again in 2001 and held until his deportation.
The deportation last August came one day after the University of South Florida sought to fire Arian because it believes he has ties to terrorism.
That lawsuit was dismissed and Arian is on paid leave awaiting a decision from the university on his future.
Both men have repeatedly denied any connection to terrorists and have never been charged with a crime.
* FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Four soldiers killed last week in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan were remembered as warriors, aviators and family men who represented the best the Army had to offer.
* ATLANTA -- Hospitals in Georgia and Tennessee slowly replenished their blood supplies, as health officials continued to investigate what caused white particles to show up in blood supplies last week.
* HOUSTON -- The dentist accused of running down her orthodontist husband after finding him with his lover last summer told jurors at her murder trial that his infidelity poisoned their marriage. Taking the stand in her own defense, Clara Harris said that before then, she and David Harris were best friends who were "very much in love."
-- From News Services