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Wednesday, Jul 30th

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State judge strikes down Florida's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

Gay marriage allowed in FloridaA state judge struck down Florida's gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts.

Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade County said Florida's ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, as well as offended "basic human decency." Florida's attorney general quickly appealed the ruling.

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Anti-violence youth gunned down, but not silenced

Ravon JordanDressed in jeans, a low-neck T-shirt and white sneakers, 19-year-old Ravon Jordan strode confidently to the podium to address the city council.

He had just three minutes, so he got right to the point: Eleven days earlier, on May 1, Jordan's best friend, Shaniqua Simmons, and her boyfriend were gunned down in an apartment at the complex formally known as the Cambridge Arms. It was the second double homicide at the 694-unit complex since January, and Jordan said it was time for the city to close it down.

"I don't feel like, as a resident in an apartment complex, you should be paying basically for your grave site," he said. "You shouldn't be paying to be killed or murdered in your own house."

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Judge says DNA test showsTexas man should be exonerated in rape

Michael PhillipsA Dallas man who prosecutors say did not commit a 1990 rape for which he served 12 years in prison should be exonerated based on recent DNA testing he did not request, a judge recommended Friday.

The conviction of 57-year-old Michael Phillips should be vacated, Dallas County Criminal District Court Judge Gracie Lewis said. The matter now goes to the Texas

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Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution in Arizona

Arizona executionAn inmate's execution with lethal drugs in Arizona today took almost two hours as the man gasped and snorted, prompting his lawyers to request an emergency halt to the procedure.

"The execution of Joseph Wood commenced at 1:57 p.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Florence and he was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m.," Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said in a statement.

Wood's attorneys filed a motion for emergency stay of the execution after Wood was reported “gasping and snorting for more than an hour,” according to court documents they filed.

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GM recalls 717,950 vehicles in U.S., not for ignition switches

GM recallGeneral Motors Co on Wednesday announced six recalls covering 717,950 vehicles in the United States for varying reasons, although none were related to ignition switch issues.

GM has recalled nearly 15 million vehicles worldwide this year for potentially lethal issues with ignition switches.

The largest recall announced Wednesday is for a potentially loose bolt in power adjustable front seats for several cars from model years 2010 and 2012.

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Supreme Court lifts stay of Arizona execution

Joseph WoodThe U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday knocked down a stay of execution for Arizona Death Row prisoner Joseph Wood, who is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday morning at the Arizona State Prison Complex - Florence.

Wood 55, was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and her father in Tucson in 1989.

The Arizona Department of Corrections intends to execute him with a controversial drug called midazolam, which was used in three flawed executions earlier this year in which the dying inmates appeared to suffer respiratory distress. Arizona also frequently uses a controversial method of administering drugs that was at the center of a botched execution in April in Oklahoma, in which the condemned man writhed in pain for more than 40 minutes before dying of an apparent heart attack.

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Detroit retirees vote for major pension cuts – by a landslide

Detroit pensions cutA year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest public filing in U.S. history.

Pension cuts were approved in a landslide, according to results filed shortly before midnight Monday. The tally from 60 days of voting gives the city a boost as Judge Steven Rhodes determines whether Detroit's overall strategy to eliminate or reduce $18 billion in long-term debt is fair and feasible to all creditors.

The rial starts August 14.

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