A federal judge has cleared the way for Joseph Duncan’s execution for the 2005 kidnapping, torture and murder of a 9-year-old North Idaho boy, ruling that Duncan was mentally competent when he gave up the right to appeal his death sentence. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge issued the ruling today, following a six-week competency hearing Lodge presided over in January and February of this year. There still could be further appeals, but Lodge’s 66-page ruling is a key step toward Duncan’s execution. The Idaho judge ruled that Duncan is “deemed competent to waive his right to appeal in this matter”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.