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Monday, Dec 22nd

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Supreme Court stays Missouri inmate's execution

mark ChristesonThe U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday halted the execution of a Missouri man who killed a woman and her two children, citing concerns that his legal counsel was ineffective.

Mark Christeson, 35, was scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre before the late stay of execution was issued. Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Mike O'Connell said it wasn't clear what will happen next for Christeson.

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Court filing: FBI impersonated repairmen in ruse

Paul PhuaFederal agents turned off Internet access to three luxury villas at a Las Vegas hotel then impersonated repair technicians to surreptitiously get inside and collect evidence in an investigation of online sports betting, according to defense lawyers challenging the practice.

The FBI employed the ruse against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney, Kimberly Frayn, according to lawyers for four of eight men charged in the case. They filed a motion late Tuesday in federal court in Las Vegas to dismiss evidence in the case. According to a conversation recorded by an investigator for the hotel, the prosecutor told FBI agents "it was a consent issue," the lawyers said.

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Could You Be the Next Innocent American to Have Your Bank Account Seized by the Government?

IRA can seize your bank accountYou may be innocent, but that doesn’t mean a federal agent can’t grab your money and property at will — and keep it without any consequences.

The Internal Revenue Service is supposed to go after criminals who launder money or people who cheat on their taxes, but lately, agents have been going after ordinary Americans who have been accused of nothing, nada, zilch. Bewildered citizens are having their bank accounts seized and forking over thousands of dollars in legal fees to try to combat this gross violation of their rights — let’s just call it outright theft — often to no avail.

You could be next.

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'Born and raised' Texans forced to prove identities under new voter ID law

Texas ID lawEric Kennie is a Texan. He is as Texan as the yucca plants growing outside his house. So Texan that he has never, in his 45 years, travelled outside the state. In fact, he has never even left his native city of Austin. “No sir, not one day. I was born and raised here, only place I know is Austin.”

You might think that more than qualifies Kennie as a citizen of the Lone Star state, entitling him to its most basic rights such as the ability to vote. Not so, according to the state of Texas and its Republican political leadership. On 4 November, when America goes to the polls in the midterm elections, for the first time in his adult life Eric Kennie will not be allowed to participate.

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Sobering conditions at Narco Freedom’s three-quarter houses

Sobering conditions at drug free homesHenderson, a Harlem native who frequently wears a Yankees cap, arrives at the clinic by 8 a.m., where a single, faded blue sign by to the door reads, “NF We care.” It is one of 10 outpatient drug treatment centers in New York City run by the nonprofit Narco Freedom, which serves 6,000 people a year. Tax records show Narco Freedom received approximately $44 million in revenue in 2012, 83 percent of it from Medicaid.

Henderson lives in a three-quarter house — so called because it is a step between a halfway house and full independence — that’s also owned by Narco Freedom. The larger rooms house 12 men, divided among rows of bunk beds. Rent is $215 a month — standard among three-quarter houses in New York, since that’s what the city’s welfare agency, the Human Resources Administration, pays in temporary shelter assistance to landlords. (While Narco Freedom often applies directly to the HRA on behalf of tenants, Henderson says he pays the rent from his monthly $805 Social Security check.)

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Milwaukee family seeks charges in police shooting

Milwaukee family sues policeThe family of a black man shot 14 times by a white police officer in a Milwaukee park marks the spot where he died with red spray paint before starting a rally and marching through city streets.

"Shame on you. People of color are people, too," protesters chant while carrying signs declaring, "Black Lives Matter."

The rallies are one way Dontre Hamilton's family has kept his name in the news in the six months since his death. Smaller and more orderly than those in Ferguson, Missouri, the protests have not drawn national attention but have produced results. The man who shot Hamilton was fired, the first Milwaukee officer in decades to face such discipline in a fatal on-duty shooting.

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U.S. To Recognize Same-Sex Marriage In 6 New States

Same sex marriages recognized by USThe federal government is recognizing gay marriage in six more states and extending federal benefits to those couples, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Saturday.

Gay marriage recently became legal in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The government's announcement follows the U.S. Supreme Court's decision earlier this month to decline to hear appeals from five states that sought to keep their marriage bans in place. It brings the total number of states with federal recognition of gay marriage to 32, plus the District of Columbia.

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