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Dec 23, 2014

U.S. judge denies injunction seeking halt to executions in Oklahoma

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge on Monday
denied an injunction seeking to halt executions in Oklahoma
filed by attorneys for death row inmates who argued a troubled
lethal injection in the state in April exposed deep flaws in the
state’s death chamber protocols.

Lawyers for the inmates, four of whom are scheduled to be
executed next year, said the judge denied the motion. The
judge’s written decision has not yet been made available to the

Dec 16, 2014

Minnesota ex-governor Ventura sues HarperCollins over ‘Sniper’ book

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Former Minnesota Governor
Jesse Ventura has sued HarperCollins Publishing, saying he was
defamed in passage from a book it put out from an ex-Navy SEAL
who claimed the two were in a bar fight.

Ventura, who in July won more than $1.8 million in damages
from the estate of former SEAL Chris Kyle, filed suit in federal
court in Minnesota on Monday against HarperCollins over the
best-selling book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the
Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

Dec 12, 2014

Texas court rules prisons must disclose source of execution drugs

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas court has ordered the state’s prison system to reveal the name of the supplier of drugs used in lethal injections, a lawyer for inmates on death row said on Friday, arguing the disclosure is needed for transparency.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it would appeal the decision. A federal district court ruled in April the prison system needed to reveal the supplier, but the state and the prison system appealed and won a higher court decision allowing them to keep the name secret.

Dec 10, 2014

Smoking out Texas is full-time job for first U.S. barbecue critic

BUFFALO GAP, Texas, (Reuters) – In Texas, with its long traditions when it comes to cooking meat, it seemed inevitable that an arbiter of barbecue like Daniel Vaughn would emerge. The question is why did it take so long?

Vaughn is the first full-time barbecue editor at a major publication in the United States. He was named to his post at Texas Monthly in March 2013, taking up a job that has sent him traveling across the state sampling barbecue, with pit stops at the doctor to check his cholesterol.

Dec 8, 2014

Texas governor-elect seeks federal funds to cover immigration costs

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas has asked the White House for hundreds of millions of dollars illegal immigration has cost the state, Governor-elect Greg Abbott said on Monday, blaming President Barack Obama for not doing enough to secure the border.

Abbott, a Republican who takes office next month, met Obama last week shortly after he filed a lawsuit on behalf of states suing the administration over its executive order that eased the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants.

Dec 4, 2014

States sue Obama administration on immigration

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A coalition of 17 U.S. states sued the Obama administration on Wednesday saying it acted illegally by issuing an executive order to ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants who are in the country without the proper documents.

The case being led by Texas and filed at the Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas said the executive order announced by Obama last month violated constitutional limits on presidential powers. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican and the Texas governor-elect, said the lawsuit is not asking for monetary damages but is seeking to have the order declared illegal.

Dec 3, 2014

States sue Obama administration on immigration: Texas attorney general

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas is leading a 17-state coalition that sued the Obama administration on Wednesday over its executive order to ease the threat of deportation for some 4.7 million undocumented immigrants, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said.

The case filed at the Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas said the executive order was unlawful.

Dec 3, 2014

Texas set to execute murderer afflicted with severe mental illness

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas plans to execute a convicted double murderer on Wednesday over the objections of lawyers arguing his life should be spared because he suffers from serious mental illness and putting him to death would be morally and legally wrong.

Scott Panetti, 56, is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. CST (1900 ET) by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville. If the execution goes ahead, Panetti would be the 519th person executed in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Dec 2, 2014

Last-ditch appeals made for mentally ill Texas death row inmate

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Lawyers for Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti have launched last-minute appeals to prevent his execution set for Wednesday, arguing he suffers from schizophrenia and putting him to death would cross moral and constitutional lines.

The case has drawn global attention, with the U.N. human rights experts on Tuesday calling on Texas to halt the execution. Major Texas newspapers including the Houston Chronicle and Dallas Morning News have said in editorials the execution of a person with severe mental illness would be inexcusable.

Nov 28, 2014

Man dies after shooting at Mexican consulate, other sites in Texas capital

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A man apparently upset about U.S. immigration policy was fatally shot early on Friday after firing more than 100 rounds of ammunition at the Mexican consulate, a U.S. federal courthouse and police headquarters in the Texas capital, police said.

The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, was an Austin man in his 50s who had a criminal history, police said.