HUNTSVILLE, Texas

Execution delayed at final hour by Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday stopped the execution of condemned prisoner Hank Skinner about an hour before he could have been taken to the Texas death chamber.

Skinner asked the court and Gov. Rick Perry for the delay for DNA testing that he insisted could clear him in a triple slaying.

The brief order grants him the delay but does not ensure he will get such testing. Perry had not decided on the delay.

Skinner, 47, faced lethal injection for the bludgeoning and strangling of his girlfriend, 40-year-old Twila Jean Busby, and the stabbings of her two adult sons. The slayings occurred at their home in the Texas Panhandle town of Pampa on New Year’s Eve in 1993.

The court order came as relatives of Busby were climbing the steps of the Huntsville prison to prepare to witness his punishment.

In the order, the justices said they would put off the execution until they decide whether to review his case. If the court refuses the review, the reprieve is lifted, according to the order, and that would make Skinner eligible for another execution date.

PORTLAND, Ore.

Psychologist: Boy Scouts hid molesting, put boys at risk

A psychologist testifying in a $14 million lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America says the organization put boys at risk by hiding information about child molesters among troop leaders.

Gary Schoener, a national expert on child sex abuse, told a Multnomah County Circuit Court jury in Portland on Wednesday that confidential files the Boy Scouts kept on suspected abusers from 1965-1984 were the deepest and most complete information about pedophiles then available in the country.

He said the organization showed a reckless indifference by not sharing the information with parents and authorities. Attorneys for the Boy Scouts of America say the organization kept files on suspected molesters to protect children.

MIAMI

Ruling allows extradition of Noriega to France

A Miami federal judge has lifted a stay blocking former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from being extradited to France.

U.S. District Judge Paul Huck issued the order Wednesday, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not reconsider Noriega’s request to stop his extradition to France on money laundering charges. It’s not clear when Noriega will be moved from Miami to France.

Noriega was ousted as Panama’s leader and put on trial following a 1989 U.S. invasion that drove him from power.

CHICAGO

High school admission practices under scrutiny

News that President Obama’s top education official kept a log of calls from powerful people trying to get students into top Chicago high schools is raising more questions about the city’s admissions practices.

But observers say former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan’s political standing probably won’t suffer unless he pressured officials to admit children during his tenure.

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that Duncan’s office had kept the log, which included calls from politicians and businesspeople.