Secret Service director delays retirement

Secret Service director delays retirement

Secret Service Director James Murray is delaying his retirement as the agency deals with an inspector general’s investigation and congressional inquiries related to missing text messages around the time of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Murray, who was slated to retire this weekend, will remain in his role “for the betterment of the agency” and to see the agency through the investigations, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday.

Murray, a 27-year veteran of the Secret Service, had taken a position with Snap, the social media company best known for its app, Snapchat.

The delay in Murray’s retirement comes as the agency has faced increasing criticism after admitting that text messages from around the time of the attack on the U.S. Capitol were deleted.

The agency has said the messages were purged when its phones were migrated to a new system in the weeks after the 2021 attack.

The Secret Service has said all procedures were followed and pledged “full cooperation” with all of the reviews and investigations, including a criminal investigation by the Homeland Security inspector general.

Murray’s decision to stay on was completely his own decision and he informed both the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Guglielmi said. He’s expected to stay on at least for several more weeks until the Biden administration names a new director for the agency.

Murray notified senior leaders at the agency and sent a wider email to the workforce to tell them about his plans to stay on.

— Associated Press

Court bars automatic life sentences for teens

The Michigan Supreme Court outlawed automatic life sentences Thursday for people who were 18 when they participated in first-degree murder, opening a door to shorter prison terms and opportunities for parole.

In a 4-3 opinion, the court said mandatory no-parole sentences at that age violate the Michigan Constitution’s ban on “cruel or unusual” punishment.

The “sentence lacks proportionality because it fails to take into account the mitigating characteristics of youth, specifically late-adolescent brain development,” Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote for the majority.

Prosecutors still can pursue life sentences for 18-year-olds. But a judge first must hold a hearing where defense lawyers can present mitigating evidence, such as education, family life, decision-making skills and other factors.

It would be similar to the hearings now held for people who were 17 or younger when they participated in first-degree murder.

The state’s high court ruled in the case of Kemo Parks, who was 18 in 2016 when he assisted his cousin in a murder outside a Flint market. His conviction meant an automatic no-parole sentence.

— Associated Press

4 killed, 6 hurt in Calif. crash: Four people were killed and six were injured in a head-on crash between a sedan and an SUV carrying a Mexican family of seven on a California vacation, police said. The crash happened Wednesday night on a two-lane highway in Rio Vista, about 60 miles from San Francisco. Rio Vista Police Chief John Mazer said the three occupants of the sedan traveling in the westbound lane and a passenger in her 70s in the SUV were killed.

— Associated Press

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