National briefs: Inmate dies after botched execution

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McALESTER, Okla. -- An Oklahoma inmate whose execution was halted Tuesday because the delivery of a new drug combination was botched died of a heart attack, the state Department of Corrections said.

Director Robert Patton said inmate Clayton Lockett died Tuesday after all three drugs were administered.

Mr. Patton halted Lockett's execution about 20 minutes after the first drug was administered. He said there was a vein failure.

Lockett was writhing on the gurney and shaking uncontrollably.

The planned execution later Tuesday of a second inmate was postponed. The executions of Lockett and Charles Warner previously had been delayed after they challenged the secrecy behind the state's lethal injection protocol.

Proposal: Loosen toll rules

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday asked Congress to end the prohibition on tolling existing interstate highways as a way of paying for their reconstruction, marking a major shift away from how the system has been funded for decades.

The proposal is part of President Barack Obama's $302 billion infrastructure bill aimed at addressing a looming shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund. States are currently able to toll interstates only to add lanes, but many simply don't have the funds they need to widen or rebuild the oldest sections of interstate, and nor does the federal government.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday that the federal Highway Trust Fund is set to run out of cash in August, a scenario that would hurt most states.

Court wary of phone search

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed torn as it considered a pair of cases about whether the police need warrants to search the cell phones of people they arrest.

Some justices seemed inclined to apply precedents saying that people under arrest lose significant privacy rights.

Those decisions say warrantless searches in connection with arrests are justified by the need to find weapons and to prevent the destruction of evidence.

"...If you carry it on your person," Justice Antonin Scalia said, "it is subject to seizure and examination."

Others said the vast amounts of data held on smartphones warranted a different approach under the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches. Several justices noted that smartphones contain troves of private materials, including bank and medical records.

Immigration debate shifts

WASHINGTON -- Speaker John A. Boehner, answering to his mockery of his Republican troops, returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday with a different message: Any movement on an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws will depend on a new White House attitude toward Republicans in Congress.

But Republicans and Democrats, both publicly and privately, suggested that a narrow window for an immigration bill could open early in the summer if Congress and President Barack Obama build cooperative good will on smaller bills in the coming weeks.

Also in the nation...

A FedEx employee opened fire Tuesday at a package-sorting center outside Atlanta, Ga., wounding six people before committing suicide, police and witnesses said. ... A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Wisconsin's voter ID law, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.

-- Compiled from news services



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