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Showing posts from February, 2017

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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…

Justices to Consider Scope of Habeas Review in Death Penalty Appeals

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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to weigh into the issue of which prior state court rulings a federal court should evaluate when deciding the merits of a condemned inmate's appeal.
The case involves Marion Wilson Jr., a Georgia inmate, who, along with co-defendant Robert Earl Butts, was sentenced to death for the 1996 killing of state prison guard Donovan Parks.
The 2 men had approached Parks in a Milledgeville, Ga. Wal-Mart parking lot and asked him for a ride. Parks invited them into his car, but a short time later, they ordered him to pull over to the side of a residential street, where they killed him with a sawed-off shotgun blast to the head.
After a jury trial, Wilson was convicted of malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
The jury later came back and sentenced him to death for the murder, finding as a statutory aggravating circumstance that Wilson killed Parks while engaged in…

Malaysia won't interfere in Singapore death row case, envoy says

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Malaysia will not interfere in other country's internal affairs, which includes a court case involving a Malaysian death row inmate in Singapore.
"We are aware that there is an effort to put pressure to bring a particular court case here to a higher profile," Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Ilango Karuppannan told Bernama here.
It was reported that a Malaysian death row inmate S. Prabagaran, aged 30, was making a judicial review application to direct the government to start proceedings against Singapore in the International Court of Justice over his conviction for drug trafficking.
The Foreign Ministry and the Malaysian government were named as respondents in the application which was filed at the Malaysian High Court registry in January this year.
The inmate was sentenced to death in September 2014 and had reportedly exhausted all appeals in the republic.
Asked on how many Malaysians are on death row in Singapore, Ilango declined to reveal the numbers.
I…

Portugal calls for “total abolition” of death penalty around the globe

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Portugal on Monday at the United Nations called on countries that still have the death penalty to call a “de facto” moratorium as a first step towards “total abolition” of the death penalty.
According to the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Augusto Santos Silva, speaking at the opening session of the 34th meeting of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Portugal rejects all the reasons and arguments that attempt to justify the application of the death penalty and that the country calls on all countries that still have the penalty to establish a ‘de facto’ moratorium as a first step towards the total abolition of the death penalty.
He noted the importance that Portugal gives to the “evolution of the death penalty” noting that Portugal was a pioneer in abolishing it “precisely 150 years ago.”
Portugal has called for the death penalty to be abolished in Equatorial Guinea, a country which joined the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), in 2014, based on a commitment to abolish i…

Ismael Arciniegas, el primer colombiano ejecutado en China

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Antes de ser ejecutado, Ismael Enrique Arciniegas pudo hablar unos minutos con su hijo. “No es mucho lo que puedo decir por motivos de seguridad de mi familia, pero sí puedo decir que el flagelo del narcotráfico destruye familias”, dijo Juan José, hijo del Ismael, a través de su cuenta de Facebook.
Tras permanecer siete años preso en la ciudad de Guangzhou, China, el Tribunal Popular Superior condenó a Arciniegas a pena de muerte con inyección letal. Su crimen: introducir 4 kilos de droga al país asiático. Murió a los 72 años. Hace seis años su hermano, Luis Germán Arciniegas, murió en China por un derrame cerebral. Los dos estuvieron bajo custodia de las autoridades chinas por narcotráfico.

China inspira temor en los traficantes de droga. De acuerdo con datos de la Cancillería, 8.526 colombianos están presos por narcotráfico en el exterior. Mientras que en la mayoría de los casos reciben penas severas como la cadena perpetua, en China se ha consolidado la pena de muerte como sanción…

Indonesian man faints while being publicly caned by religious officer

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AN INDONESIAN man collapsed while being publicly caned Monday for having sex outside of marriage.
Herizal bin Yunus, 27, fainted after being caned eight times in front of a crowd in Aceh, the only province of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law.
Officials carried him off stage after he collapsed during the punishment outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, which was carried out by a religious official dressed in an all-encompassing, hooded cloak.
But once he came to, a doctor examined him and said he was in good health, and he was taken back up on stage to be flogged another 14 times. 
A local religious court had sentenced him to be caned a total of 22 times.
The man had broken Islamic laws that forbid people in Aceh from spending time in close proximity with members of the opposite sex who are not their husband or wife.
He was one of eight people publicly caned on Monday for breaking the province’s Islamic regulations.
Public cani…

Malaysia to charge 2 foreign women for airport murder of Kim Jong-nam

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KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian prosecutors will charge two women - an Indonesian and a Vietnamese - with murder over their alleged involvement in the killing of the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, the Southeast Asian country's attorney general said on Tuesday.
Kim Jong Nam, who had criticised the regime of his family and his half-brother Kim Jong Un, was killed in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month after the two women allegedly smeared VX nerve agent, a chemical described by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, across his face.
Attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali said the women will be formally charged on Wednesday under section 302 of the penal code, which carries the death penalty. "I can confirm that," he told Reuters in a text message.
South Korean officials believe the murder was carried out by North Korean agents, and Malaysia has identified eight North Koreans suspected of involvement in the killing.

Jong-nam, 45, was killed by two women…

Rise in Executions and Crackdown Against Iran's Youth

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Executions and crackdown against Iran’s youth is increasingly on the rise.

Many inmates in their 20’s and 30’s have been executed or killed during the past months, while hundreds have also been arrested or mistreated. Wrote Donya Jam in ‘News Blaze’ on February 26, 2017.
Dozens of prisoners have been hanged during the first two weeks of February, including a mass execution of 12 prisoners in Gohardasht Prison, west of Tehran, on Feb. 15. 13 inmates, including prisoners aged 29 and 30, were executed between Feb. 11-13 in the prisons of Qom, Zabol, Jiroft and Mashhad.
87 executed in the month of January alone
On Jan. 29, regime authorities publicly executed four prisoners in the cities of Bandar Abbas and Mashhad. These prisoners were all in their early to mid 20’s. Reports indicate 87 inmates were sent to the gallows in the month of January alone. Many of those executed never received due process and some were hanged while their cases were still open.
Hamid Ahmadi, a juvenile offender,…

Nevada lawmakers introduce bill to end death penalty

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Assemblyman James Ohrenschall and Sen. Tick Segerblom, both Las Vegas Democrats, on Friday introduced Assembly Bill 237, which would abolish capital punishment in Nevada.
If enacted, the bill will set life without the possibility of parole as the maximum punishment for crime. In doing so, any current sentences to death would be commuted to life without parole.
When asked to provide some background for the bill, co-sponsor Segerblom said it was submitted not only from a moral standpoint, but as a matter of practicality.
"It's costing the state millions of dollars to try to kill people, when in fact the system does not allow you to kill people," he said. "The fact is that given the way the process works, the number of appeals, no one is going to be executed in Nevada in our lifetime.
"Meanwhile, to try to execute somebody, the cost for prosecution doubles, you have to hire twice as many lawyers, a psychiatrist, and the legal fees just go from there."
Accord…

Malaysia: Death row inmate spared the noose thanks to royal pardon

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A man who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in 2009 has received a 2nd chance at life after Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah granted him a pardon.
Shahrul Izani Suparman, 33, and his family were told of the news a week ago at the Sungai Buloh prison.
His mother, Sapenah Nawawi, 59, who had been working together with Amnesty International Malaysia to save his life, said she was very happy that her son got a second chance.
"I am very grateful to God. I would like to thank His Royal Highness for granting him a pardon and thank you to everyone who has been fighting to save his life," she told a press conference on Monday.
In September 2003, Shahrul Izani, then 19, was arrested during a routine roadblock after being found in possession of 622gm of cannabis.
In December 2009, he was convicted by the Shah Alam High Court for drug trafficking, an offence that carries the mandatory death penalty.
Amnesty International Malaysia took up Shahrul's case, making…

US Supreme Court snubs challenge to death penalty constitutionality

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a direct challenge to the constitutionality of the death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment, rejecting an appeal by a Louisiana death row inmate convicted of killing three brothers.
Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer objected to the court's decision not to hear the appeal by Marcus Reed, a drug dealer convicted in the 2010 shooting deaths of the three brothers, including a 13-year-old, over the theft of marijuana and an Xbox videogame console from his home.
The court's action came at a time of deep divisions among the eight justices over the death penalty, with Breyer and other liberals expressing doubt about whether capital punishment remains acceptable under the U.S. Constitution four decades after the court reinstated it.
Breyer, renewing his concerns over how the death penalty is administered in America, noted that Reed was sentenced to death in Louisiana's Caddo Parish, a county that he said has apparently sentenced …

Arkansas governor sets execution dates for 8 inmates

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LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set execution dates for eight death row inmates, even though the state lacks one of three drugs needed to put the men to death.
According to copies of proclamations given to the secretary of state's office Monday, the state will conduct the executions in pairs on four days between April 17 and April 27.
However, it remains unclear if the Department of Corrections is capable of conducting executions, as one of the three drugs in Arkansas’ current protocol expired last month.
A prisons spokesman said Monday the state's supply of potassium chloride has not changed since it expired last month. 
He also said he was not aware of any efforts to find another batch.
Arkansas hasn't executed an inmate since 2005.
Ongoing attempts to carry out executions in the state have been halted in recent years by court challenges and difficulty obtaining drugs.
The executions are set to be carried out as followed, according to the governor's p…

US Supreme Court refuses appeals from 3 on Texas death row

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HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to review appeals in three Texas death row cases, including one where a man pleaded guilty to a triple slaying in South Texas.
The high court's rulings moved two inmates closer to execution: LeJames Norman, 31, condemned for the 2005 shooting deaths of three people during a botched robbery of a home in Edna, about 100 miles southwest of Houston, and Bill Douglas Gates, 67, condemned for strangling a Houston woman in 1999.
Neither has an execution date.
Norman and an accomplice also now on death row, Ker'Sean Ramey, were convicted in the slayings of Samuel Roberts, 24, Tiffani Peacock, 18, and Celso Lopez, 38, inside the home they shared in Edna, in Jackson County. Roberts' parents discovered the bodies Aug. 25, 2005.
Court records indicated Ramey and Norman believed there was 100 kilograms of cocaine in the house and hoped to steal it, but they never found any drugs. Norman was arrested trying to cross a bridge into Bro…