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PHOENIX (AP) — A federal court Thursday awarded more than $25,000 to a Mexican woman who claimed her five-day detention at an immigration office in Arizona two years ago was an illegal arrest.
PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court Thursday overturned some of a death row inmate's convictions and his death sentence in the killing of his ex-girlfriend's daughter, ruling that jurors shouldn't have heard a domestic violence expert's testimony profiling abusers and victims.
PHOENIX (AP) — Republicans will have their largest U.S. House majority in 83 years when the new Congress convenes next month after a recount in Arizona gave the final unresolved midterm race to a Republican challenger.
PHOENIX -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a last-minute bid by Gov. Jan Brewer to keep thousands of dreamers living in Arizona from getting licenses to drive.
PHOENIX (AP) — Testimony has resumed in the sentencing retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias after a weeklong break.
PHOENIX (AP) — A new court ruling has upheld Arizona criminal sentencing laws that allow courts to consider the emotional and financial harm inflicted on victims and their families in handing down stiffer sentences.
Something happens when courage shows up with a microphone. Hope sets in and America stands taller. We can use a bit of both right now. It’s my take that the Ferguson, Mo., mess has knocked our nation down a click or two.
“Trans fats can be found in fast foods, snack foods, frozen pizza, coffee creamers, margarines and some refrigerated dough. While trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.”
Will Katy Perry be a firework at the Super Bowl? Will she show them what she's worth? Will she let her colors burst?
Three films into the four-movie franchise and “The Hunger Games” series remains one of cinema’s biggest teases. For two years the series has offered an underlying promise of some grand battle between good and evil loaded with flaming arrows and bodies being tossed about with little regard for the lives of the stunt people.
Only about one in four sexual assaults committed in Arizona is ever solved by police. One attack that hasn’t been solved by police is the brazen and savage attack by an unknown assailant on a 91-year-old woman in one of Tempe’s better neighborhoods.
Renewal by Andersen recently renovated the House of Refuge East in Mesa as part of National Make A Difference Day.
SEATTLE (AP) — She has delivered the same 64-word speech eight times already, but Gabby Giffords is struggling to get through the ninth.
"Together, we can win elections," the former Arizona congresswoman tells her Seattle audience before starting to stumble.
After a moment of confused silence, an aide whispers the next line, and Giffords continues the broken sentence: "... change our laws."
Four years after she was shot in the head and went on to inspire millions with her recovery, Giffords is as committed as ever to pushing for tighter gun-control laws. But in the final days of this year's midterm elections, few candidates are willing to rally to her cause. There's little to suggest those elected next week will pursue the changes she seeks in the nation's gun laws.
As Giffords visited nine states in the past two weeks, the National Rifle Association was working in at least 30, with advertising and get-out-the-vote manpower, to strengthen its position in Washington and state capitals. She will be widely outspent this year by the NRA and others who support the rights of gun owners.
Two days after Giffords' appearance in Seattle, a 15-year-old high school student shot and killed two people and killed himself in an attack north of the city that seriously wounded three others. The shooting has barely made a ripple in the final days of the campaign.
"Long, hard haul," Giffords told The Associated Press in a brief interview after her Seattle event, using one of the short phrases that now dominate her speech.
In part by design, but also in recognition of the country's political landscape, not a single candidate in this year's midterm elections for statewide or federal office appeared with Giffords as she made her way from Maine to Washington state over 10 days.
She drew visits from Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, neither running for re-election next month.
"If this happened in March or December or any other time, we'd have asked other politicians to join," said Marti Anderson, an Iowa state lawmaker who helped organize a Giffords event in Des Moines. "But it's risky 15 days before an election."
Instead, Giffords took part in a series of discussions about domestic violence in smaller venues such as a Des Moines public library and a high school classroom in Portland, Ore. With the Senate majority at stake, Giffords isn't running television ads in states where Democratic incumbents are seeking re-election, among them North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Hampshire.
The exception is Iowa, where her group announced plans this week to run television ads against Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. "Joni Ernst won't vote to close the loophole that lets some dangerous people still get guns," Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald says in the ad set to run through Election Day.
Said Pia Carusone, Giffords' longtime chief aide, "We went in knowing we had to be strategic and careful."
The NRA has no such concerns. The powerful gun-rights lobby has spent more than $27.3 million this year on elections in at least 27 states through Oct. 15, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Giffords' organization, by contrast, has spent just $6.6 million in seven states.
The financial advantage is just one piece of the NRA's strength.
"Anyone who tries to gauge the National Rifle Association by money alone is making a huge mistake," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, citing 5 million dues-paying members and many more voters who look to his organization for guidance on how to vote on Election Day.
Arulanandam said he's grateful that Giffords is "on the mend and getting better every day," but he criticized her political goals. "People realize that regardless of what she says, her endgame is similar to Michael Bloomberg and President Obama, which is draconian gun control," he said.
Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have gone to great lengths to rebut such criticism. Recently, with little sign that an effort to adopt universal background checks will pass in Congress, Giffords has focused on promoting a measure that would prevent convicted stalkers and abusive "dating partners" from accessing guns.
In a letter opposing the measure, the NRA says it "manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as 'domestic violence' and 'stalking' simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions."
Giffords' team was initially hopeful, but it now concedes that the bill is not likely to come up in Congress' lame-duck session. And while the mood was largely positive during Giffords' tour, the frustration they're not connecting with voters this election season was evident.
"It's hard not to be, as a person in this country, disappointed by the lack of response," Carusone said. "But we're not surprised. We knew this wouldn't be easy."
In this Oct. 22, 2014 file photo, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords speaks in support of Initiative 594, a measure seeking universal background checks on gun sales and transfers, Wednesday, in Seattle. She has delivered the same 64-word speech eight times already, but Giffords is struggling to get through the ninth. She has trekked almost 7,000 miles in two weeks to appear at this Seattle athletic club, where dozens of women and several reporters are gathered for the final stop of her nine-state “Protect All Women Tour.” But nearing the end of her first full election season as the nation’s most recognizable gun control advocate, things aren’t going exactly as she hoped. Despite raising more than $20 million to fund a national political operation, gun violence is little more than an afterthought in all but a handful of contests across the country. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
The Children’s Action Alliance is asking candidates for the state Legislature to focus on the children.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The number of people who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to the lowest level in 15 years as more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.
The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September — the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector finished the 2014 budget year with 115 deaths, compared with 107 in the Tucson sector, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. It marks the first time since 2001 that Arizona has not been the deadliest place to cross the border.
Arizona has long been the most dangerous border region because of triple-digit temperatures, rough desert terrain and the sheer volume of immigrants coming in to the state from Mexico. But more immigrants are now entering through Texas and not Arizona, driven by a surge of people from Central America.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley both saw their numbers of deaths decline from 2013, although Arizona's drop was more precipitous.
Border enforcement officials say the lower numbers are in part due to increased rescue efforts as well as a Spanish-language media campaign discouraging Latin Americans from walking across the border.
Tucson Sector Division Chief Raleigh Leonard says the addition of 10 new rescue beacons that were strategically placed in areas where immigrants traverse most often has been a factor in the decrease in deaths.
"I think we can all agree that crossing the border is an illegal act, but nothing that should be assigned the penalty of death," Leonard said in an interview.
Immigrant rights advocates are skeptical that it is solely the Border Patrol's efforts contributing to the decrease in deaths.
"At best, what the Border Patrol is accomplishing is a geographical shift in where these deaths are happening — rather than adequately responding to the scale of the crisis," said Geoffrey Boyce, a border enforcement and immigration researcher at the University of Arizona and a volunteer with the Tucson-based nonprofit No More Deaths.
The Rio Grande Valley sector was flooded with a surge in unaccompanied minors and families with children who turned themselves in at border crossings in Texas. Most were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where gang violence and a poor economy have driven out huge numbers of people. That surge has dwindled recently, however, as U.S. and Central American authorities have launched a public relations campaign warning parents against sending their children to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Tucson Sector, once the busiest in the nation, has seen a steep decline in border crossers. Fewer Mexicans are crossing into the U.S. as the economy here has faltered and drug violence at home has improved.
The Border Patrol also responds to hundreds of cases each year of immigrants who need to be rescued while crossing the desert, long an issue in the Arizona desert. The Border Patrol conducted 509 rescues in the 2014 fiscal year in the Tucson sector, compared to 802 in 2013.
Some of the rescues are made with the help of beacons that were activated 142 times this year. The beacons are 30-feet tall, solar-powered and have sun reflectors and blue lights on top that are visible for 10 miles. The beacons also have signs in three languages directing users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help. Agents respond usually within 10 minutes to an hour.
The agency has a team dedicated solely to rescues, called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.
Agents in this elite group spend their days searching for immigrants and responding when one seeks help. They assist not only those who cross the border in search for jobs, but also drug mules and smugglers who become injured or dehydrated in the summer heat.
It was only 10 a.m. and already 95 degrees on a day in late June when the unit's agents provided medical assistance to a 28-year-old man suspected of smuggling drugs near Sells, Arizona.
The thin man had an ID from El Salvador and said he lived in Tucson. He oscillated between Spanish and English, but his message was the same: He was in extreme pain.
The agents gave him a gallon of a sports beverage. He was to drink it slowly, they told him, or else it would make him sick. Next, they connected a saline bag intravenously and checked his vitals.
The agents monitored him and re-examined his vitals, concluding that he wasn't dehydrated but suffering from muscle fatigue. Minutes later, agents who used a drug-sniffing K-9 to search the area found several bundles of marijuana and another suspected smuggler.
The men were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, but were not charged with smuggling because the loads of marijuana were not found on them.
"To us, it could be a mule, an illegal immigrant. They're all the same. They're human beings," Leonard said.
Lately, one of Jesus’ more cryptic phrases has been making laps inside my head. I came back across his words while reading the Passion accounts in the Gospels, this year quickly speeding toward the Lenten season as it is. These words were spoken on the last night Jesus was with his disciples: “Abide in me, and I will abide in you.”
Not long ago, the FCC issued a proposed rule that I firmly support, as do emergency service dispatchers and law enforcement officials throughout the country. This rule would require standards to be updated so that individuals who dial 911 from a mobile phone can be located just as they would if they had used a landline.
A family of four entered a local shelter with tattered clothes and tired eyes, carrying three old garbage bags holding their only belongings. A wave of relief washed over the family as they cautiously walked into the shelter, greeted by barking dogs, a clean playground and an onslaught of accommodating volunteers.
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2014, file photo, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords pumps her fist as she testifies before a Washington state House panel in Olympia, Wash. Giffords will begin a nine-state tour in Maine on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, where she will advocate for tougher gun laws that she says will help protect women and families. Giffords, who was severely wounded by a gunman in 2011, will seek to elevate the issue of gun violence against women and push for state and federal action to make it more difficult for domestic abusers to get a hold of firearms. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords will begin a nine-state tour in Maine, where she will advocate for tougher gun laws that she says will help protect women and families.
The former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, who was severely wounded in a 2011 shooting in Tucson that killed six people, will seek to elevate the issue of gun violence against women and push for state and federal action to make it more difficult for domestic abusers to access firearms.
Giffords, who was shot in the head, remains partially paralyzed and continues to have difficulty speaking.
On the first stop of the "Protect All Women Tour" in Portland, Maine, on Tuesday, Giffords planned to meet with state domestic violence advocates, law enforcement officials and others.
Giffords' gun-control advocacy group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, calls guns and domestic violence "a lethal mix," noting that abuse victims are more than five times more likely to be killed if the aggressor has access to a gun.
Among the changes Giffords has sought is to include people with misdemeanor-level stalking crimes among those who are prohibited from buying firearms and to expand background checks to ensure that domestic violence abusers can't buy firearms at gun shows.
After visiting Maine, Giffords will travel to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Minnesota, Iowa and Oregon. The last stop of the tour will be in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 22, according to details a Giffords aide provided to The Associated Press.
Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, did a similar tour across the country last year, focused on garnering support for expanded background checks.
“I regularly shop at a Walgreens in east Mesa. Its pharmacy is always busy. However, there is seldom more than one assistant to help the one pharmacist on duty. With shots, drive-thru and helping on the floor, you never actually get to talk to the pharmacist. Their ads brag on customer service, but the long lines say different. Why can’t they hire like their commercials show?”
In this July 5, 2013 file photo, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, accompanied by her husband, retired astronaut and combat veteran Capt. Mark Kelly, speaks during a news conference at the Millyard Museum in Manchester, N.H. A new book by Kelly and Giffords details their transition from survivors of a mass shooting to advocates and fundraisers for stricter gun laws. "Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence" gives insights into the couple's life after the 2011 shooting that left six dead and 13 injured, including Giffords, who was shot in the head and remains partially paralyzed. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)
This book cover image released by Scribner shows "Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence," by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly. The book details their transition from survivors of a mass shooting to advocates and fundraisers for stricter gun laws. (AP Photo/Scribner)
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband were finally starting to settle into normal routine in their Tucson home by the middle of 2012, making strides in her rehabilitation, decorating their house and watching hour after hour of the TV show "Glee."
Then came the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and many more injured. Months later, 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"Newtown moved us from words to action," Giffords and husband Mark Kelly write in their book "Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence."
The book chronicles the couple's lives from survivors to advocates, detailing the trepidation Kelly had about plunging himself into the politics of gun control. It delves into the history of the National Rifle Association while telling of Giffords' recovery efforts and the couple's political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
The book and an Associated Press interview with Kelly this week provide a behind-the-scenes look at the couple as they moved past the shooting and took a greater role on the national stage:
Giffords and Kelly describe ways in which their gun-control advocacy has helped the former congresswoman move forward and regain her speech skills after she was wounded in the January 2011 shooting outside a Tucson supermarket that killed six people.
They detail the difficulty Giffords had in articulating the lines in a speech at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2013. But the complexity of the issue "motivated her to work even harder," they wrote.
The former lawmaker is even back to shooting, picking up a gun for the first time at a Nevada range in the summer of 2013.
Giffords had to use her left hand to fire because her right hand is paralyzed. She's not left-handed, so Kelly worried.
But was Giffords nervous?
"No, she wasn't. At all," Kelly said.
ON JARED LOUGHNER
As Jared Loughner was sentenced in November 2012 after being convicted of carrying out the shooting, Kelly and Giffords told him that was the last time they'd ever think of him.
"There's what you say in a statement and what actually happens and, as you know, those are two different things," Kelly said.
Kelly says the couple had every intention of erasing Loughner, who received seven life sentences, from their minds.
The Aurora and Newtown shootings halted that plan.
ON THE POLITICAL FIGHT FOR STRICTER GUN LAW
Even after Giffords nearly died when she was shot in the head, she and Kelly say they kept their firearms and remained staunch supporters of the Second Amendment.
While Giffords was a seasoned politician, Kelly had concerns about taking on politics.
"There was risk involved that we wouldn't be able to meet that ambitious goal, and then what does that say? That says we're not effective in what we want to do," Kelly said in the interview. "You have people who start to think about you differently. But Gabby's a politician, and I'm not that sensitive about things."
FRIENDSHIPS ARE TESTED
A long-lasting friendship between Giffords and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake was tested when he voted against a background-check bill that the couple rallied for.
"I had such complicated feelings about our old friend that morning," Kelly wrote.
Kelly believes Flake was under huge pressure from the NRA to vote against the bill.
Flake, meanwhile, said in a statement to The Associated Press: "I have a great deal of respect and affection for Gabby and Mark. They have been very effective in advocating for a cause that they deeply believe in."
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
The couple now lives in Tucson, where Giffords works on her speech and physical therapy. They like to go to Giffords' mother's rural home to shoot guns, Kelly says.
But they don't have much free time, travelling and speaking in support of legislative candidates.
"We're gonna be really effective here in November," Kelly said. "We're gonna move ahead, and we're not going anywhere. What this country really needs is a balanced debate on this issue. And it's been really out of balance, so our job is to try to fix that."