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Judge postpones Rodriguez hearing

A judge has delayed the formal hearing to impose Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.'s death sentence by three weeks to accommodate the convicted murderer's request for a new trial.

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A judge has delayed the formal hearing to impose Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.'s death sentence by three weeks to accommodate the convicted murderer's request for a new trial.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson plans to hear arguments Jan. 5 for Rodriguez's new trial motion, a 60-page document claiming misconduct by prosecutors, racial bias and mistakes by the judge and jury.

The date had been set for Erickson to impose a death sentence for Rodriguez. A jury signed a death warrant Sept. 22 after finding him guilty in the 2003 kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin.

Prosecutors requested extra time to respond to claims by Richard Ney, a death penalty specialist appointed to help represent Rodriguez at the trial.

Erickson now plans to impose Rodriguez's sentence at a Jan. 26 hearing unless he grants a new trial.

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