Supreme Court rejects inmates’ appeal, keeps federal executions on track

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court put President Donald Trump’s administration on track to resume federal executions as soon as July 13, rejecting an appeal by inmates who challenged the lethal injection protocol the government plans to use.

Over two dissents, the justices left intact a lower court decision backing the administration’s plan for carrying out the first federal executions since 2003. The Justice Department scheduled four in July and August, all of men convicted of murdering children.

The inmates said the protocol violates a 1994 law that requires the U.S. government to conduct executions “in the manner” required by the state where the sentence was imposed. The inmates said that law requires the U.S. to follow the state’s procedures, including its rules governing the drugs that are used and the qualifications of the people administering the injection.

The Trump administration said the law merely requires the federal government to use the same method of execution, such as lethal injection. A federal appeals court sided with the administration on a 2-1 vote.

Daniel Lewis Lee is scheduled to be the first to die, on July 13. He was convicted of taking part in the 1998 killing of an Arkansas family of three, including an 8-year-old girl, as part of what prosecutors said was a rampage geared toward setting up a whites-only nation.

Two other inmates are scheduled to die later that week, and the fourth execution is set for Aug. 28. The inmates are still pressing other arguments before a federal trial judge in Washington.

More than 60 people are currently on federal death row. Only three people have been executed for federal crimes since the U.S. death penalty was reinstated in 1988.

—Bloomberg News

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Comer named as House Oversight Committee ranking member

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders Monday named Rep. James R. Comer, R-Ky., as the next ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Comer was one of several members who expressed interest in the job after Ohio’s Jim Jordan, who had served as ranking member on the oversight panel since the beginning of the 116th Congress in 2019, was named the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Jordan got his new position on the judiciary panel when Doug Collins of Georgia launched a Senate campaign and was required to step down from his ranking slot on the panel.

North Carolina’s Mark Meadows had been slated to take Jordan’s place on the oversight panel, but then left Congress to become White House chief of staff.

Of the 16 Republicans still on the oversight panel, only six have served in the House for at least three terms, and several are already ranking members on other committees. The committee membership left some wondering who would succeed Jordan.

Chip Roy of Texas, Mark E. Green of Tennessee and Comer all told CQ Roll Call in April they were interested in the post. Comer is currently the top Republican on the Oversight Environment Subcommittee and had been encouraged to seek the vacancy, Matt Smith, Comer’s communication’s director, said in April.

—CQ-Roll Call

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‘The boy was asleep’: Child killed after gunfire strikes Kansas City apartment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A young boy was fatally shot overnight Monday in Kansas City, police said.

Members of the Kansas City Police Department were called to a shooting about 2:30 a.m. in the 1600 Block of Bushman Road, near East 63rd Street and The Paseo, Kansas City police spokesman Sgt. Jacob Becchina said in an email Monday morning.

On the way to the scene, officers were told a family member was driving a young boy who had been shot to the hospital.

The boy died a short time later, Becchina said.

People at the same apartment as the boy told police they awoke to gunshots coming from outside the home. Then they found the boy, who had also been sleeping, was shot.

“This is a nightmare for any parent and I can’t imagine the pain with which they’re dealing this morning,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted Monday morning. “The boy was asleep. Malicious shooting with no regard for others claims another innocent life in our city.”

The boy’s name and age had not been released as of early Monday.

The investigation is ongoing as police continue canvassing the area and searching for a suspect. A police dog sniffed for evidence about 8 a.m. Monday as police continued to work behind crime scene tape outside the apartment.

—The Kansas City Star

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Bangladeshi man trapped inside sunken ferry rescued after 13 hours

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladeshi divers have rescued a man 13 hours after he was trapped inside a passenger ferry that capsized on a river near the capital Dhaka, officials said late Monday.

The ferry sank after colliding with another larger passenger ferry in the morning near Farazganj, leaving at least 32 people dead.

Fifteen bodies were found adrift more than two hours after the ferry sank in the Buriganga river, according to the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA). Several passengers had managed to swim ashore.

The survivor, a man in his early 30s, emerged when the divers were trying to salvage the vessel using pillow lift bags during the night, Fire Service and Civil Defense official Debashish Bardhan told reporters.

An air-trap inside the sunken vessel might have helped him to survive, Bardhan said adding that the man was immediately rushed a hospital.

Video footage showed the rescuers were helping the survivor breathe as he was gasping for air.

Diving instructor SM Atiqur Rahman said it is possible to remain alive longer than 13 hours inside a sunken vessel provided that there is breathing space in an air pocket.

Authorities have confiscated the ship that hit the passenger ferry, said BIWTA chief Golam Sadeq, adding that the master of the ship had escaped immediately after the accident.

BIWTA said there had been at least 50 passengers on board, but a survivor told private broadcaster 71 Television that the vessel was carrying at least 100 passengers.

—dpa

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Copyright 2020 Tribune Content Agency.

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