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Top Morning Stories August 25, 2011

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Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News.
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On Thursday, the Austin City Council could vote again on a legal settlement with the family of Nathaniel Sanders II.

Council to Consider Sanders Settlement Today

The Austin City Council is scheduled to vote again today on a legal settlement with the family of Nathaniel Sanders II. Sanders was fatally shot by an APD officer in May 2009. When the $750,000 settlement went before the council last year, it was rejected by one vote. Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole told KUT News she thinks she has the votes to approve the settlement this time.

The settlement was opposed by some council members and the Austin Police Association, which said that the Sanders shooting -while tragic- was justified.

Laura Hall's Appeal Denied

An appeals court Wednesday denied Laura Hall’s latest challenge to her conviction.  Hall was sentenced to ten years in prison for tampering with evidence in the 2005 West Campus murder of Jennifer Cave. Hall’s lawyers said she should have been given a new trial because of allegations Austin’s crime lab performed shoddy DNA work. The 3rd Court of Appeals denied Hall’s request, saying audits cleared the lab of the allegations.

Texas to Deport Foreign Prisoners

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting state parole officials yesterday took the first steps to begin deporting some of the 11,000 foreign citizens serving time in Texas prisons. The Statesman reports the move could save taxpayers millions of dollars:

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles grilled federal immigration officials at an Austin meeting to make sure the foreign citizens they want to deport — most probably back to Mexico — will actually be sent to their home countries, not turned loose in Texas. "We're concerned that they're not deported and they're just released to the street," said Parole Board Chairwoman Rissie Owens of Huntsville. "We hear horror stories. With all of our votes, public safety is the main issue." Under a state law that takes effect Sept. 1, the parole board can begin approving convicts for parole on the condition that they are deported to their home country. The law covers foreigners convicted of both violent and nonviolent crimes.

The paper reports Immigration and Customs Enforcement has assured the state that convicts who are not deported will be handed back to state prison officials.