National briefs: Death penalty sought in Colo.

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- For James Holmes, "justice is death," prosecutors said Monday in announcing they will seek his execution if he is convicted in the Colorado movie theater attack that killed 12 people.

The decision -- disclosed in court just days after prosecutors publicly rejected Mr. Holmes' offer to plead guilty if they took the death penalty off the table -- elevated the already sensational case to a new level and could cause it to drag on for years.

"It's my determination and my intention that in this case, for James Eagan Holmes, justice is death," District Attorney George Brauchler said, adding that he had discussed the case with 60 people who lost relatives in the July 20 shooting rampage by a gunman in a gas mask and body armor during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie.

There was no audible reaction from the 25-year-old former neuroscience graduate student.

Suspect was freed early

DENVER -- If it weren't for a paperwork error, Evan Spencer Ebel would have still been in prison instead of being suspected of killing Colorado's prisons chief.

Judicial officials Monday acknowledged that Ebel's previous felony conviction had been inaccurately recorded, leading to his release from prison nearly four years earlier than authorities intended.

In a 2008 plea deal, Ebel was to be sentenced to up to four additional years in prison after he completed the eight-year sentence that put him behind bars in 2005.

However, the judge did not say the sentence was meant to be "consecutive," or in addition to, Ebel's current one. So the court clerk recorded it as one to be served "concurrently."

Top court upholds counts

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has rejected a conservative challenge to the common practice of counting everyone, not just U.S. citizens, when adjusting the size of voting districts across the nation.

Without comment, the justices let stand a redistricting rule that benefits urban areas like Los Angeles and Chicago that have a higher percentage of noncitizens as residents. Under the so-called one person, one vote rule in place since the 1960s, U.S. representatives, state legislators, city and county council members usually represent about the same number of people.

Kennedy nod is likely

WASHINGTON -- Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, is likely to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, according to people familiar with the appointment process.

The vetting of Ms. Kennedy, 55, by the White House is almost complete, and an appointment could be announced in the coming weeks, along with the names of several other choices for important diplomatic posts. The diplomatic assignment would vault Ms. Kennedy, a lawyer and the author of 10 books, into the kind of public life that her family has embraced for nearly 75 years, including in the diplomatic corps.

FDA OKs nicotine changes

WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug announced Monday that it is relaxing some of the restrictions on labels for nicotine gum, patches and lozenges available over the counter.

The makers of gum and other nicotine replacement products can change their labels to let consumers know that they can use the products for longer than the previously recommended 12 weeks as part of a plan to quit smoking, as long as they are talking to their doctor. And the agency is eliminating instructions that people stop using tobacco before starting one of the products.



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