National briefs: Oklahoma courts juggle case

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Oklahoma's plan to kill two convicted murderers by lethal injection, one of them today, has turned into a tangled legal showdown. Last month, the two men successfully challenged the legality of Oklahoma's secrecy in obtaining lethal drugs. But no one has granted a stay of execution as the state's district court and appeals court both have declared, repeatedly, that only the other can do so.

On Monday, lawyers for Clayton Lockett, who is to be executed at 6 p.m., and Charles Warner, who is to be executed at 6 p.m. next Tuesday, filed the latest of several appeals to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, asking it to set aside its odd jurisdiction battle and grant a delay while there is still time.

The Supreme Court said the Oklahoma Constitution gives it the authority to decide matters of court jurisdiction and that the Court of Criminal Appeals was misreading its own statute and should handle the request for an emergency stay.

Justice looks at clemency

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is broadening the criteria it will use in evaluating clemency petitions from certain federal prisoners and expects the changes to result in thousands of new applications, Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday.

The new criteria, which will be detailed later this week and are aimed at inmates serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, are intended to lead to a reduction in the nation's federal prison population and also to "ensure that those who have paid their debts have a chance to become productive citizens," Mr. Holder said in a video message.

Defendant shot in court

SALT LAKE CITY -- With stunned jurors looking on, a defendant in a long-running gang prosecution was shot and killed by a deputy U.S. marshal in the federal courthouse Monday morning after he lunged to attack a witness testifying in his trial, federal authorities said.

It was a shocking scene inside the silvery new federal courthouse in the center of Utah's capital: Multiple gunshots cut through the staid air of a judge's courtroom. Marshals stood with their weapons drawn. Spectators dived under benches.

The courthouse was locked down for hours.

The shooting took place in the early stages of the trial of Siale Angilau, 25, who federal prosecutors said had been part of the Tongan Crips gang.

Oscar Mayer recalls wieners

NEW YORK -- Kraft Foods is recalling 96,000 pounds of its Oscar Mayer wieners because they may mistakenly contain cheese.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Sunday that Kraft's "Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners" may instead contain the company's "Classic Cheese Dogs."

The agency said the product labels are incorrect and do not reflect the ingredients associated with the pasteurized cheese in the cheese dogs.

Those products were made with milk, a known allergen, which is not declared on the label.


-- Compiled from news services


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