The state of Texas executed a 46-year-old gang member on Wednesday, bringing their supply of lethal medication down to one dose.
It also brings into question what the state will now use for future executions.
Manuel Vasquez was put to death in Huntsville, Texas, and pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m. CDT, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said. He was convicted and sentenced for the 1998 murder of Juanita Ybarra who refused to pay extortion money demanded by the Mexican mafia. Vasquez had a long criminal history, including being part of a group that killed a man by hitting him repeatedly with a crowbar then dousing him with gasoline before setting him on fire. more >>
A Michigan mayor has announced that his office will distribute "In God We Trust" posters after losing a court battle wherein he must allow an atheist group to set up a "Reason Station" at a public facility.
Warren Mayor James Fouts said earlier this week that he'll join the movement to advance the national motto, which is found on U.S. currency and some government buildings.
The announcement comes one month after Warren was compelled to have a "reason station" placed at the publicly operated Warren Civic Center. more >>
ARLINGTON, Va. – A gathering of various Christian groups Tuesday focused on the need to offer legal religious liberty protection for non-church businesses and nonprofits, with one speaker noting that religious freedom concerns are a "spreading problem."
At the two-day spring meeting of the Common Ground Christian Network, held at Restoration Anglican Church, attendees heard from multiple speakers who talked about legal challenges facing parachurch groups and others. Stanley Carlson-Thies, founder and senior director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, spoke Tuesday morning about several points regarding religious liberty issues at home versus abroad.
"There are religious freedom concerns popping up all over the place," said Carlson-Thies to those gathered, calling it a "spreading problem." more >>
Arizona judge Sherry Stephens declared a mistrial in the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder case after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
It took one juror to spare the life of Arias on Thursday, March 5. In the end, the jury voted 11-1 in favor of death. The deadlock took the death penalty off the table and left Judge Stephens to decide whether to sentence Arias to life in prison or to life with a possibility of release after 25 years. That decision is expected at a hearing which will take place on April 13.
Arias was convicted in 2013 of killing her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, but that jury also deadlocked on her punishment, prompting the sentencing retrial that began in October. more >>
Municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer in Ferguson, Missouri, resigned Monday after the state's Supreme Court announced that it would take the "extraordinary action" of reassigning all cases to the circuit court following the Department of Justice's report last week that cited the judge's abusive practices. As of Monday, all municipal cases have been assigned to a state appeals court judge.
The DOJ's report revealed last week that Ferguson officials were using the police department and court system to generate revenue.
"Brockmeyer was among the officials who received particular scrutiny for practices like fixing traffic tickets for colleagues and himself, punishing defendants who challenged him, and instituting new fees, many of which were 'widely considered abusive and may be unlawful,' the DOJ said in its report, according to The New York Times. more >>
The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a lower court to reconsider its decision to go along with the Obama administration's effort to force the University of Notre Dame to pay for birth control methods in violation of Catholic doctrine.
In February 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled, in University of Notre Dame v. Burwell, that the Catholic university must abide by the birth control mandate. The Supreme Court vacated that decision Monday and ordered the Seventh Circuit to reconsider its decision "in light of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc."
Before the Supreme Court's order, Notre Dame was the only religious nonprofit in the country without an exemption from the birth control mandate due to the Seventh Circuit's ruling. more >>