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Showing posts from April, 2014

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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Oklahoma botches Clayton Lockett execution; inmate dies of massive heart attack 30 minutes after lethal injection fails

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[LIVE TWITTER FEED] Clayton Lockett's execution was slated to begin at 6:00 p.m.
At 6:37 Clayton Lockett was not unconscious and said "something is wrong". 
Clayton Lockett convulsed several times, his chest and head rising off the gurney at multiple points. Inmate 'struggled violently, groaned and writhed', witnesses said.
Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections closed the blinds on Clayton Lockett at 6:39 after inmate started moving and talking.
Clayton Lockett's execution was suspended. His status is unknown right now.
Execution of Clayton Lockett failed. Execution of Charles Warner stayed by Corrections director Robert Patton.
BREAKING
Clayton Lockett died inside the execution chamber at 7:06 pm of a massive heart attack according to DOC officials.
Oklahoma halts execution after botching delivery of new drug combination, postpones 2nd execution slated for tonight.
Source: Agencies, Twitter feed, April 29, 2014

Related article:
- Oklahoma is Set to Execute 2 Men Usi…

Oklahoma is Set to Execute 2 Men Using a Secretive, Untested Drug Cocktail

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Tonight Oklahoma will continue the nation's ongoing experiment in executing people with untested drug combinations as it moves forward to kill death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner using a new, secretly acquired drug cocktail.
Officials in Oklahoma and other states have resorted to these methods because they can no longer access sodium thiopental, the anesthetic traditionally used in lethal injections, and another drug used to paralyze the condemned. The lone US manufacturer quit producing sodium thiopental in 2011, and international suppliers - particularly in the European Union, which opposes the death penalty on humanitarian grounds - have stopped exporting both drugs to the United States. This has left states like Oklahoma scrambling to find new pharmaceuticals for killing death-row inmates. Some have been reduced to illegally importing the drugs, using untested combinations, or buying from unregulated compounding pharmacies, some of which have a history of pro…

Ohio: Clemency recommended for Death Row inmate Arthur Tyler

The Ohio Parole Board recommended to Gov. John Kasich today that convicted killer Arthur Tyler’s death sentence should be commuted to time served, making him immediately eligible for release from prison.
The entire panel voted 11-0 to grant clemency to Tyler, 54, of Cleveland, who is scheduled to be executed on May 28.
However, by 6-5 vote, the majority specified that Tyler should have “immediate parole eligibility.” The other five members said instead he should be parole eligible in two years.
The board said in a recommendation submitted this afternoon to Kasich — who will make the final decision on clemency — that “doubt exists as to whether Tyler is the principal offender in this case.” In addition, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor “now recommends mercy,” the board said.
“Given the doubt that surrounds the evidence, commutation to life without the possibility of parole would not serve the interests of justice in this case. Granting Tyler immediate parole eligibility would allow the …

Taiwan executes five death-row inmates

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TAIPEI: Taiwanese authorities said they executed five death-row inmates Tuesday, nearly a year after six prisoners were put to death.
The justice ministry said the five were put to death in various parts of the island. They were the first executions ordered by Luo Ying-shay since she became justice minister last September.
The inmates were anaesthetised and then shot, it said. There are now 47 prisoners on death row, according to the ministry.
"The five were cold-blooded and cruel, devoid of conscience...they have left the family of the victims pains that could hardly be allayed," deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang told reporters.
The five, separately convicted on charges of murder, robbery and forced sex, had caused 11 deaths and left four injured, he said.
The execution ruffled the feathers of the Taiwan Alliance to End Death Penalty, the group which has been active in pushing for the abolishment of death penalty.
It alleged that the execution was aimed to help the em…

UN rights office condemns Maldives death penalty revival

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The UN human rights office on Tuesday voiced concern over moves to revive the death penalty in the Maldives, including for minors, after a six-decade freeze on capital punishment in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
"We are deeply concerned about a new regulation adopted in the Maldives on implementation of the death penalty, which effectively overturns a 60-year moratorium on the use of capital punishment in the country," said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Under new rules adopted by the Maldives government on Sunday, death sentences can now be handed down for murder even if the defendant is aged under 18, Shamdasani told reporters.
The age of criminal responsibility in the Maldives is 10, but children as young as seven can be held responsible for so-called "hadd" offences under Islamic law, she said.
"The new regulation means that children as young as seven can now be sentenced to death," she war…

The Death Penalty in the USA

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The Death Penalty in the USA. Produced from ArrestRecords.com

Source: The Death Penalty in the USA, ArrestRecords.com, April 28, 2014

Iran: Emboldened by int'l community inaction, regime continues with executions

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NCRI - The anti-human clerical regime in Iran hanged three young Sunni Baluchi political prisoners on Saturday, April 26, in the city of Zabol (Sistan & Baluchistan Province). Ali Dahmardeh, 20, Eman Galwi, 20, and Omid Peeri, 23, were condemned to death in the mullahs’ sham courts without any fair judicial process on the charge of assassinating Zabol’s atrocious Public Prosecutor, and the verdict was approved within days by the mullahs’ Supreme Court.
During their five months of detention in Zahedan’s Intelligence Department, these three political prisoners faced severe torture to extract forced confessions. The signs of torture were visible on their bodies, making them unable to walk, lie down or sit.
Additionally, two prisoners in Zahedan’s central prison named as Mojtaba Nouri and Ali Doniyadideh, and a third prisoner, were hanged in public in the city of Semnan on April 24 and 26.
In another barbaric act, the regime’s henchmen flogged a young man in public in the city of Bir…

Ohio to increase dosages of lethal injection drugs but defends execution of gasping inmate

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio said Monday it's boosting the dosages of its lethal injection drugs even as it stands by the January execution of an inmate who made snorting and gasping sounds that led to a civil rights lawsuit by his family and calls for a moratorium.
The state's new policy considerably increases the amount of the sedative used in its two-drug combination and raises the amount of the painkiller, which are injected simultaneously, according to a court filing. The state said it was making the changes "to allay any remaining concerns" after the last execution.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said its review of the Jan. 16 execution of Dennis McGuire determined he was asleep and unconscious a few minutes after the drugs were administered and his execution was conducted in a constitutional manner.
"He did not experience pain, distress or air hunger after the drugs were administered or when the bodily movements and sounds occurred," the s…

Double Execution Scheduled for Tuesday in Oklahoma - First Time Since 1937

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The State of Oklahoma is set to conduct its first double execution Tuesday, April 29, beginning at 6 p.m. The two inmates, Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, are both scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection after their original stays of execution were overturned by the Supreme Court and an order was issued denying an application for another stay of execution.
Both men will be killed with a fatal dose of three drugs: midazolam, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Lawyers for the men argued that the combination of drugs was inhumane and because the source was not known, could cause them undue suffering and pain. However, the Supreme Court decided to follow in the footsteps of other states and continue using the lethal combination and keep the privacy of distributors.
Click here to read the full article
Source: The Christian Post, April 28, 2014

USA: More Innocent People on Death Row Than Estimated: Study

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New research finds that almost four percent of U.S. capital punishment sentences are wrongful convictions, almost double the number of people set free, meaning around 120 of the roughly 3,000 inmates on death row in America are not guilty.
The United States may be putting more innocent people to death than previously thought. According to a sweeping new statistical analysis made public today, the rate of wrongful death sentences in the U.S. is probably much higher than experts have estimated.
Authors of the study say that their “conservative estimate of the proportion of erroneous convictions” is 4.1 percent, or approximately twice the number actually exonerated and set free from death row. This could mean that approximately 120 of the roughly 3,000 inmates on death row in America might not be guilty, while additional scores of wrongfully convicted inmates are serving life in prison after their death sentences were reduced over technical legal errors.
“False convictions … are extremel…

The Madives: Death penalty can be implemented starting today: Home Minister

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The death penalty can be implemented in the Maldives starting today following the publication of procedural regulations in the government gazette, Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer has said.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Naseer said the chances of killing an innocent person after completing all the procedures in the regulation - titled "procedural regulation on investigating and penalising the crime of murder" - was "far-fetched" and "almost impossible".
The regulation was formulated under the Police Act and the Clemency Act with the objective of specifying the procedures for investigating murders and implementing death penalty, and came into force today.
While Maldives has been maintaining an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty since 1953, several people have been sentenced to death over the years. The common practice had been for the president to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment through powers vested in him by…

Maryland: Death-row inmate John Booth-El found dead in his cell

A man who spent more than two decades on death row was found dead in his cell at North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland Sunday morning, a state corrections spokesman said.
Corrections staff at the prison found John Booth-El, 60, unresponsive not long after an officer had spoken with him earlier in the morning, according to Mark Vernarelli, the spokesman. Booth was pronounced dead shortly afterward, despite attempts to revive him, Vernarelli said.
The death appears to have been from natural causes, Vernarelli said. The State Medical Examiner will make an official determination after an autopsy.
Booth-El was housed in a single cell, like other inmates with death sentences, Vernarelli said.
Booth-El had been on death row since he was convicted in 1990 of fatally stabbing his neighbors, Irvin and Rose Bronstein, during a robbery of their Northwest Baltimore home in May 1983. His death sentence has been overturned three times, only to be reimposed.
Source: Baltimore Sun, Apri…

Egypt Sentences More Than 680 to Death

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MINYA, Egypt — An Egyptian court here on Monday sentenced to death the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and more than 680 other people after a swift mass trial on charges of inciting or committing acts of violence that led to the destruction of a police station and the killing of an officer.
The verdict, after a trial lasting only a few minutes, came just a month after the same judge drew condemnation from around the world for sentencing 529 other people to death in a similarly lightning-fast mass trial. The judge, Sayedd Yousef, affirmed the death sentences Monday of about 40 of the defendants and commuted the others to life in prison, which is understood here to mean 25 years. Continue reading the main story
The verdicts Monday and last month are subject to appeal. Both sets of trials involved sentences in absentia for many defendants who are still at large, and if they are arrested all will received a retrial. But there has been little, if any, public criticism of the de…

Tennessee: Lawyers raise questions over electric chair use

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Lawyers and others disagree of whether a bill that passed in the legislature could legally force death row inmates with older convictions to die by electric chair if lethal injection drugs aren't available.
Tennessee's legislature passed a bill that would allow death by electrocution if drugs aren't available. It's not clear whether Gov. Bill Haslam will sign the bill into law.
A last-minute amendment said it would apply to all condemned prisoners, regardless of conviction date. Current law gives inmates who committed crimes before 1999 the choice on whether they want to die by electric chair or lethal injection.
Some lawyers say the government can't change the method of death for inmates who were already convicted.
"I think that if someone were sentenced under the lethal injection statute then they cannot change the sentence to execution by electrocution," Brad MacLean, an attorney who has represented a number of condemned prisoners, said.
Normally the …

Man Hanged Publicly in Northern Iran over Rape Charges

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Iran Human Rights, April 26, 2014: One prisoner was hanged in the public in Semnan (Northern Iran) today, April 26, reported the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Semnan province.semnan260414
The prisoner who was identified as “H. B.”, was convicted of rape, said the report.
Earlier today, three prisoners were hanged publicly in Zabol (Southeastern Iran). The execution wave has resumed after a one month break on the occasion of the Iranian news year. At least 48 people have been executed in the month of April, most of them not being announced by the official Iranian media.
Source: Iran Human Rights, April 26, 2014

To Kill? Or Not to Kill?

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As executions decline in Texas, a small-town prosecutor decides whether to seek the death penalty.
One morning in August 2011, Matagorda County District Attorney Steven Reis drove out to a crime scene at a remote, secluded farmhouse. A 78-year-old man named Glen Sam Prinzing had been found dead at his property on the edge of Markham, a town of a thousand residents 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and about 90 miles southwest of Houston.
The barn was several hundred yards off the main road. Reis drove with sheriff’s deputies over a bumpy dirt path, across an empty field, and past where yellow police tape cut through thick brush. It was a hot, sticky day, and Reis saw that the vegetation had tangled over all manner of rusting old junk: cars, a tractor, a refrigerator. They crossed a plank of wood placed as a makeshift walkway over a pool of muddy water. Reis, wandering into the farmhouse, saw several vintage motorcycles, some dating to World War II. They had mostly fallen into disrepair…

Three Prisoners Hanged Publicly in Iranian Town of Zabol

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Iran Human Rights, April 26, 2014: Three prisoners who were charged with the assassination of the prosecutor of Zabol in November 2013, were hanged publicly at the site of the assassination early this morning.
According to the state run Iranian news agency Fars, the prisoners were identified as Omid Piri, Iman Galavi, Alireza Dehmardeh.
The prisoners were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court on February 24, and their sentences were approved by the Supreme Court on April 7.
IHR strongly condemns today’s executions. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR said: “These prisoners have been subjected to unfair trials and possibly torture, followed by public execution which is an inhumane and brutal punishment meant to spread fear in the society.”
Source: Iran Human Rights, April 26, 2014

Capital punishment in America: Dismantling the machinery of death

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How America can - and will - abolish the death penalty
New Hampshire has just failed to abolish the death penalty - by 1 vote. Given that the Granite State has not actually executed anyone since 1939, you might think this doesn't matter much. But, obviously, it matters to the one man on death row in New Hampshire, a cop-killer called Michael Addison. It matters, also, to the broader campaign to scrap capital punishment in America. And despite the setback in New Hampshire, the abolitionists are slowly winning.
America is unusual among rich countries in that it still executes people. It does so because its politicians are highly responsive to voters, who mostly favour the death penalty. However, that majority is shrinking, from 80% in 1994 to 60% last year. Young Americans are less likely to support it than their elders. Non-whites, who will one day be a majority, are solidly opposed. 6 states have abolished it since 2007, bringing the total to 18 out of 50. The number of executions…

Nigerian rapist to be stoned to death in Kano

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An Islamic court in northern Nigeria has sentenced a man of 63 to death by stoning for raping a girl of 10 and infecting her with HIV.
Ubale Sa'idu Dotsa admitted raping the girl but said he had incited by the Devil, reports the AP news agency.
His two wives have reportedly died from Aids-related diseases.
Several people have been sentenced to death by stoning in northern Nigeria's Islamic courts but none have been carried out.
Kano state's commissioner of justice Maliki Kuliya told the BBC Hausa service that Mr Dotsa has the right to appeal up to the federal Supreme Court, which could take years.
Source: BBC News, April 24, 2014

Oklahoma Court Rejects Death-Row Inmates' Claims

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that two death row inmates are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them, putting them back on track to be executed as early as next week.
In rejecting the inmates' claims late Wednesday, the court also lifted a stay of execution that it had granted earlier in the week in a case that placed Oklahoma's two highest courts at odds and prompted calls for impeaching justices on the Supreme Court.
The decision paves the way for death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner to receive a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. A stay issued on Tuesday by Gov. Mary Fallin remains in place for Lockett, but only until April 29, the same day Warner is scheduled to die.
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz has said the governor is still reviewing the court's ruling and has not made a decision on what she will do. Weintz has said it is possible both men could be executed on …

Iran: Two hanged for murder

Iran Human Rights, April 24: One prisoner was hanged in the prison of Sari (Northern Iran) early this morning April 24, reported the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Mazanderan Province. 
The prisoner who was identified as “M. R. Gh.” was convicted of murdering another person under a street fight.
According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization a Kurdish prisoner was hanged in the prison of Sanandaj (western Iran) early Wednesday morning April 24. The prisoner was identified as Rafigh (22), convicted of murder said the report.
Source: Iran Human Rights, April 24, 2014

USA: The slow death of the death penalty

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So far this year 19 prisoners have been put to death in America, seven of them in Texas. Another 14 are scheduled to die. According to Amnesty International, America executes more people than any country except China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia—disreputable peers for the land of the free. But capital punishment is less common and less popular than it was, and concerns over cost, efficacy and execution methods may be hastening its demise.
Even if all the executions scheduled for this year are carried out—which is unlikely—a total of 33 would be the lowest since 1994, and would have fallen by two-thirds from the peak of 98 in 1999 (see chart). In 2013 American juries handed out just 80 death sentences: a slight increase from the previous year, but still close to the lowest level in 40 years. As of October 1st 2013, 3,088 Americans were on death row—down from a peak in 2000 of 3,593.
Several factors have driven death sentences and executions down. The simplest may be that America’s hom…

Florida executes Robert Hendrix

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STARKE, Florida — Florida executed a man by lethal injection at 6:21 p.m. Wednesday at Florida State Prison in Starke. Robert Hendrix declined to make a final statement before the lethal drugs were administered.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied Hendrix's last-minute request for a stay without comment. He ate a last meal of pork chops, sausage gravy and biscuits, German chocolate cake and a soft drink, state corrections officials said.
Robert Hendrix was convicted of the 1990 murders of Elmer and Michelle Scott at their Lake County home.
Prosecutors said Hendrix killed the couple because Elmer Scott intended to testify against him. But Hendrix's attorney said there was no forensic evidence linking his client to the murders and that the witnesses against him were unreliable.
Hendrix becomes the fourth person executed in Florida this year and the 16th since Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011.
Evidence in the case showed Hendrix shot Scott in the face in his trailer home, hit him …

American gets death sentence for drug trafficking in Vietnam

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State media say a court in Vietnam has sentenced an American to death for heroin trafficking.
The Liberated Saigon newspaper says Jason Dinh, 41, was convicted of trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin at a one-day trial by Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court on Tuesday.
The paper said Wednesday that Dinh was arrested last June after customs officials found the heroin hidden in his underwear as he was boarding a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Australia.
The report quoted the indictment as saying Dinh was hired by an unidentified man to carry the heroin for $30,000.
Court officials were not available for comment Wednesday.
Vietnam has some of the world toughest drug laws, where possessing or trafficking 100 gram of heroin carries the death penalty.
Source: KRMG news, April 23, 2014

Iran: Hassan Rouhani says hangings are “God’s commandment” and “law of the people”

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NCRI - As international protests against the rising trend of group and arbitrary executions in Iran become stronger every day, Hassan Rouhani, the clerical regime's president, describes the anti-human and anti-Islamic executions in Iran as “God’s commandments” or “laws of the people”.
In fear of the rage and abhorrence of the Iranian people regarding these anti-human verdicts, Hassan Rouhani approves the executions but he says that the victims not to be mistreated at the time of their execution.
Speaking to commanders of the Iranian regime's State Security Forces on Saturday, he said: “when someone is condemned to death and he comes to the gallows according to the law, then we have no right to insult him as he is being taken to the gallows… in any case, the law has condemned him and he is punished and this has nothing to do with us. It is either the commandment of God or a law approved by the parliament that belongs to the people and we only execute it (Tasnim news agency, af…