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The Continuing Crisis



This past summer, two capital-murder inmates (who might have been executed, regardless) were put to death after curious court policies failed them. Luther Williams' execution was carried out in Alabama in August after the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to stop it, despite his plea that the state's lethal injection procedure was unconstitutional. However, one month later, the court voted to accept for consideration another case questioning the constitutionality of the injection. (Court policy is that four votes are needed to accept a case, but five are required to stay an execution.)

In September, just minutes after the court's lethal-injection case was accepted, lawyers for Michael Richard, who was scheduled to die that evening, rushed to file a stay with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal and promised delivery by 5:20 p.m. The court clerk responded, "We close at 5"; the petition didn't make it, and Richard was executed at 8:23.

Spaniard Manuel Gozalo organizes bus trips of women from Madrid to isolated rural villages, which most of the native females have long since abandoned for cities, leaving lonely single men. His "caravanas de amor" (caravans of love) have made 32 day-trips since 1995, promising the ladies some fun and dancing (and possible romance) and the men perhaps a last chance at finding a companion (and Gozalo told London's Independent in July that his caravans have produced at least 40 marriages).

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