02-28-2020  4:56 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

PHOTOS: Elizabeth Warren Rallies in Seattle

Washington state’s primary is Tuesday, March 10; voters should have received their ballots by Thursday, Feb. 27

Support for Black Reparations Grows in Congress

The Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African-Americans Act now has 125 cosponsors

Shifting Demographics Drive GOP Nosedive on US West Coast

Political districts have flipped in population centers, from San Diego in the south to Seattle in the north

'A World of Hurt': 39 States to Investigate JUUL's Marketing

Oregon is one of five states leading a bipartisan coalition looking into JUUL’s targeting of youth vaping

NEWS BRIEFS

Washington’s March 10 Presidential Primary Ballots Mailed to Voters

Voters required to make party declaration for this election only ...

State and Federal Agencies Aid Sunken Tugboat in Columbia River

Divers plugged fuel vents this afternoon and the vessel is not actively leaking ...

Multnomah County Promotes Voter Education Project

Multnomah County is partnering with National Association of Secretary of States (NASS) to promote #TRUSTEDINFO2020 ...

New Travel Ban Takes Effect, National Groups Respond

The expansion of the Muslim ban targets more Black immigrants ...

Harris, Booker Applaud House For Announcing Vote on Anti-Lynching Legislation

After passing the House, the bill will head to the president’s desk to be signed into law ...

Report to assess removal of 4 Snake River dams for salmon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A long-awaited federal report due Friday is expected to address the feasibility of removing four hydroelectric dams on a major Pacific Northwest river in a last-ditch effort to save more than a dozen species of threatened or endangered salmon. The four dams on the lower...

Suburban Seattle high school closed over new virus concerns

BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) — A suburban Seattle high school was closed Thursday after a staffer's family member was placed in quarantine for showing symptoms of possibly contracting the new virus that started in China - an action health officials say is unnecessary.Bothell High school, bout 20...

Former AD, All-American center Dick Tamburo dies at 90

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Dick Tamburo, an athletic director at three major schools and an All-American center at Michigan State, has died. He was 90.Michigan State announced that Tamburo died Monday.A native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Tamburo served as the athletic director at Texas...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

South African sentenced for racist comment that went viral

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa has imposed a ,300 fine or 2-year prison term on a man convicted for racist comments in a video that went viral last year.Adam Catzavelos was charged after using a derogatory word used to describe black South Africans during the country’s racist...

Students stage sit-in outside University of Oklahoma offices

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Dozens of University of Oklahoma students staged a sit-in that continued Friday outside OU's administrative offices following two instances of professors using racial slurs in the classroom.However, OU Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr. has rejected the demands of the...

Website aims to highlight hidden figures in black history

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — A few years back, Matthew Delmont felt his teaching about African American history had gotten a little stale so he starting casting around for a fresh way to bring it to life.The Dartmouth College professor initially turned to Twitter for a year to share stories about...

ENTERTAINMENT

A rebel yell: Billy Idol stars in New York anti-idling ads

NEW YORK (AP) — Rocker Billy Idol is the face of an anti-idling campaign launched Thursday in New York City.“Billy never idles, so why should you?” the '80s MTV star growls in a public service announcement intended to shame New Yorkers into shutting the engine off. The...

NBC renews 'Law & Order: SVU,' 'Chicago' dramas for 3 years

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC is giving three-year renewals to its drama series from veteran producer Dick Wolf, including the perennial “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”The pickups for the “Law & Order” series and Wolf’s three Chicago-set dramas are...

Dan + Shay, Old Dominion, Maren Morris nab top ACM noms

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Grammy-winning duo Dan + Shay lead the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards with six nominations for Dan Smyers and five for Shay Mooney and helped pop star Justin Bieber earn his first-ever ACM noms. In the nominations announced Thursday, the powerhouse duo share...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US schools start planning for possible spread of coronavirus

Schools across the United States are canceling trips abroad, preparing online lessons and even rethinking...

Parents of 'terrified' Africans stranded in China want help

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — She wakes every day long before dawn to chat with her three stranded daughters on...

Afghans view US-Taliban deal with well-earned skepticism

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Many Afghans view Saturday's expected signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal with a...

Geneva auto show canceled as Switzerland bans large events

GENEVA (AP) — The Geneva auto show is being canceled after the Swiss government announced an immediate ban...

Italy tries a return to some normalcy after virus closures

ROME (AP) — Authorities in Italy have decided to re-open schools and museums in some of the areas less...

What's happening: Virus fears hit Africa, markets, churches

PARIS (AP) — Amusement parks, sports events, religious gatherings, even school. More and more things in a...

McMenamins
Michael Graczyk the Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A black man convicted of a double murder in Texas 16 years ago was at least temporarily spared from lethal injection when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review his lawyers' claims that race played an improper role in his sentencing.

The court on Thursday halted the execution for Duane Buck, 48, two hours into a six-hour window when he could have been taken to the death chamber. Texas officials, however, did not move forward with the punishment while legal issues were pending.

Buck was sentenced to death for the fatal shootings of his ex-girlfriend and a man in her apartment in July 1995. His attorneys had asked both the Supreme Court and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to halt the execution because of a psychologist's testimony that black people were more likely to commit violence. Buck's guilt is not being questioned, but his lawyers contend the testimony unfairly influenced the jury and Buck should receive a new sentencing hearing.

The nation's highest court, without extensive comment, said it would review an appeal related to that testimony. The decision meant Perry did not have to act on a request from Buck's lawyers that the governor use his authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve.

Buck's case is one of six that then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn - a political ally of Perry who is now a Republican U.S. senator - reviewed in 2000 and said needed to be reopened because of racially charged statements made during the sentencing phase. In the other five cases, new punishment hearings were held and each convict again was sentenced to die.

State attorneys contend Buck's case was different from the others and that the racial reference was a small part of larger testimony about prison populations. Jurors in Texas must decide on the future danger of an offender when they are considering a death sentence.

Perry is a capital punishment supporter and as frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination his actions now are coming under closer scrutiny. During his 11 years in office, 235 convicted killers in Texas have been put to death. His office said he has chosen to halt just four executions, including one for a woman who later was executed.

Buck's lawyers called to tell Buck of the reprieve and the inmate was praying in his cell when Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark approached.

"Praise the Lord!" Buck told Clark. "God is worthy to be praised. God's mercy triumphs over judgment.

"I feel good."

In its one-paragraph decision, the court said it stopped the punishment so it could further look at Buck's request, known as a writ of certiori. If the court decided against the writ, the justices said the reprieve would be lifted, meaning Buck could receive a new execution date.

"No one should be put to death based on the color of his or her skin. We are confident that the court will agree that our client is entitled to a fair sentencing hearing that is untainted by considerations of his race," Kate Black, one of Buck's attorneys, said.

Buck was convicted of gunning down ex-girlfriend Debra Gardner, 32, and Kenneth Butler, 33, outside Houston on July, 30, 1995, a week after Buck and Gardner broke up. A third person, Buck's stepsister, Phyllis Taylor, also was wounded, though she has since forgiven Buck and sought for his death sentence to be commuted to life in prison.

Buck's attorneys went to the Supreme Court after losing appeals in lower courts. A clemency request to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, all of whom are Perry appointees, also failed.

Assistant Attorney General Edward Marshall had told the high court that Buck's appeals were attempts to relitigate claims that every court, including the Supreme Court, already rejected.

Perry was not in the state Thursday, meaning any final order to delay would have come from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. However, Perry's office frequently points out that he remains the governor and in contact with Austin while traveling.

Two more Texas prisoners are set to die next week.

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