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Showing posts from July, 2008

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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

Pennsylvania Court Allows Forced Medication of Mentally Incompetent Death Row Inmates, Moving Them Closer to Execution

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that the state can force two death row inmates to take anti-psychotic medication so they are mentally competent enough to proceed with their appeals and be executed. The two inmates were sentenced to death but were found incompetent to participate in the appeals filed on their behalf. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that mentally incompetent inmates may not be executed. The Pennsylvania court overturned lower court decisions and directed them “to order that appellee be administered, involuntarily if necessary, anti-psychotic medication to render him competent.”

Justice Max Baer dissented, saying, “[T]he governmental interest in carrying out the sentences of death fails to outweigh the violation of [defendants'] Sam’s and Watson’s liberty interests in not having psychiatric medication forced upon them.” In response to the opinion that the forced medication was in the defendants’ best interests so appeals could proceed, he argued that eac…

Bush OKs execution of Army death row prisoner

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WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday approved the execution of an Army private, administration officials said. It was the first time in over a half-century that a president has affirmed a death sentence for a member of the U.S. military.

Unlike in the civilian courts, a member of the U.S. armed forces cannot be executed until the president approves the death sentence. Gray has been on death row at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since April 1988.

President Kennedy was the last president to stare down this life-or-death decision. On Feb. 12, 1962, Kennedy commuted the death sentence of Jimmie Henderson, a Navy seaman, to confinement for life.

The death penalty was outlawed between 1972 and 1984, when President Reagan reinstated it.

In civilian courts in North Carolina, Gray pleaded guilty to two murders and five rapes and was sentenced to three consecutive and five concurrent life terms.

The court-martial panel convicted Gray of:

_Raping and killing Kimberly Ann Ru…

Iran: confessions videotaped before executions

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29 men were executed by hanging in Tehran's Evine prison at 5:00 am on July 27th.

Short interviews of 11 of the convicts were conducted a few minutes prior to the executions and the resulting video was later broadcast on Iran's main news channel.

Someone speaking off-screen provided the convict's identity and a reporter anonymously asked each man the same questions: What are your crimes? How do you feel about the sentence?

The convicts spoke vaguely about their crimes and answered mechanically: "I deserve my sentence. It rewards a life of crime".

More on Iran-resist.org (http://www.iran-resist.org/article4660)

Picture: Convicts being led to the gallows.

Sunday, bloody Sunday: 29 executed today in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Twenty-nine people convicted of various crimes, ranging from murder to being a public nuisance while drunk, were hanged in Iran, state TV said.

Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported earlier that 30 people would be put to death. It was not immediately clear if the last person's life was spared.

The Iranian judiciary's statement said that all 30 were convicted of various crimes, which included: murder, murder in commission of a crime, disturbing public safety and security, being a public nuisance while drunk and being involved in illegal relationships -- relationships between men and women who are not married to each other.

Kidnapping and using weapons while committing a crime were also among the charges.

The statement also said that 20 of the convicts were convicted of drug and alcohol dealing, armed robbery and smuggling arms.

The judiciary statement said that the convicts had their cases tried by the highest judicial authorities and were found gu…

Iran: 30 prisoners will face gallows on Sunday

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In a statement by Tehran's prosecutor's office as many as 30 prisoners will face gallows on Sunday.

The "names" of the prisoners, the statement said, will be published later this week.

"Twenty of the convicts will be executed in accordance with the 'boosting public security plan' and disturbing the public order," the statement added.

"Sentences for [other] offenders with records of violating the 'public security plan' will soon be handed down by the [judges] and published," the statement said.

The hanging orders came despite repeated condemnation by the international community.

On Thursday, the EU current president France issued a statement calling on
the mullahs' regime to halt the death by stoning orders for 9 prisoners 8
women and 1 man.

Likewise, on July 24, France, on behalf of the bloc, expressed grave concern over the imminent death sentences for 2 teenagers, Behnood Shojaee and Mohammad Fadaei. Both were under 18 at time of th…

Medellin death penalty case exposes hollow Texas brand of gunslinger politics

Bryan McCann [Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Austin, TX Chapter]:

"Two years ago, a fellow anti-death penalty activist and I participated in a public debate on the University of Texas campus with the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT). No one was surprised when the YCT's first plan of attack was to read - verbatim - a detailed account of the particularly gruesome gang rape and murder of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena. Their strategy represents an all too familiar method of arguing in favor of the death penalty. Who would have the audacity to argue race, class, or international law when confronted with the ghastly killings of two beautiful teenage girls? Where there is mourning and outrage, there is often little room for analysis.

The death of those two girls in 1993 was no doubt a traumatic affair for their families and Houston community. But just as the YCT used the tragedy that befell Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena at our public debate to ignore fundamental str…

Ruddock lobbying to save Bali trio from death row

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Former attorney-general Philip Ruddock has been quietly lobbying Indonesia on behalf of the three Australian drug smugglers sentenced to death in Bali.

Mr Ruddock visited Jakarta earlier this month as a member of an Australian parliamentary delegation.

He took the opportunity to raise the matter in meetings with a number of Indonesian politicians, including Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, The Australian reports.

Mr Ruddock declined to comment yesterday on his discussions with the politicians.

"As a member of Amnesty International, I've never supported the death penalty, but in terms of any representations regarding particular individuals, I have no comment to make," he told The Australian.

Australian drug smugglers Scott Rush, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan remain on death row in Bali.
All members of the Bali Nine smuggling ring have been incarcerated in Bali's Kerobokan prison.

Their supporters are concerned by the recent acceleration in the rate of executions in Indon…

Executions worldwide

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The EU has rebuked Iran for the sentencing of 9 people to death by stoning even as a new report by a European rights group shows the number of executions worldwide is on the rise.

The European Union said this week it was deeply worried about news that Iran had sentenced 9 women and 1 man to death by stoning for separate adultery convictions in different Iranian cities.

A statement issued by France, which currently holds the EU presidency, on Thursday, July 24, reminded Tehran it had pledged to introduce a moratorium on stoning and urged it to abide by its commitments and international standards.

"The European Union calls on the Iranian government and parliament to abolish, in law and in practice, recourse to cruel and degrading punishment and, in particular the use of stoning, as a method of execution," the statement read.

News reports say the 8 women, ranging in age from 27 to 43, had convictions including prostitution, incest and adultery. The man, a 50-year-old music teac…

Virginia: Emmett executed for 2001 murder

Christopher Scott Emmett was put to death tonight for the 2001 beating death of a co-worker in Danville.

Emmett, who this afternoon dropped his appeals over the legality of lethal injections for executions, was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m. He is the 102nd person executed in Virginia since restoration of the death penalty in 1976.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine issued a statement less than four hours before the execution saying he would not stop it.

"I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was recommended by the jury, and then imposed and affirmed by the courts," Kaine said in the statement. "Accordingly, I decline to intervene."

Emmett's execution came after years of arguments that Virginia's use of lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment because of the possibility that paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs could be given before inmates are rendered unconscious by another drug.

Last year Emmett gained reprieves 2 times within hours of hi…

TEXAS: execution

Convicted killer Derrick Sonnier was executed Wednesday for the slayings of a woman and her young child at their suburban Houston apartment almost 2 decades ago.

Sonnier shook his head negatively when asked if he had any final statements. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., eight minutes after the lethal dose began.

Sonnier, 40, made a similar trip to the death house 7 weeks ago but was spared when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stopped his scheduled punishment after lawyers raised questions about the legality of the lethal injection procedures.

That appeal subsequently was rejected, Sonnier's death date was reset for Wednesday evening and his legal avenues to avoid execution were exhausted.

Tameka Traylor, who was 8 when her mother was killed, witnessed Sonnier's execution.

"I felt a lot of anger at the present time because I didn't see any remorse for what he'd done," said Traylor. "I feel insulted by whoever decided to say that the needle injection w…

MISSISSIPPI - execution

Before he was executed by the state, death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop apologized to the family of his victim.

"He said it was a senseless act," state corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said.

Bishop was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 6:14 p.m. He was convicted in 2000 of participating in the murder of Marcus Gentry. Gentry was beaten to death in December 1998 with a claw hammer, and his body was found along a logging road near Saltillo.

Bishop's last words were: "God bless America. It has been great living here. That's all."

Many of Gentry's family members came to Parchman today. His mother Kathy Gentry and uncle Gerald Gentry witnessed the execution.

They did not speak to the media, but a victim's advocate read a written statement from them.

"We had to relive all the memories and emotions from that December," part of the statement said. "The pain and loss that this man helped put on us will never be forgotten. We lost Mark not by c…

Louisiana Asks Court to Revisit Rape Laws

Lawyers for the State of Louisiana asked the United States Supreme Court on Monday to reconsider its decision last month striking down laws that made child rape a capital offense. The lawyers said the court’s decision overlooked two crucial legal developments: a 2006 federal law and a 2007 executive order making child rape a capital crime under military law.

“Both political branches have recently and affirmatively authorized the death penalty for child rape,” the petition said. “Such a clear expression of democratic will, at the very least, calls into question the conclusion that there is a ‘national consensus against’ the practice.”

In his opinion for the majority last month, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy counted up the number of jurisdictions that allowed the death penalty for child rape. Finding only six states, he concluded that “on balance” and in light of “evolving standards of decency,” there is a national consensus against such punishment.

But none of the briefs filed in the case ha…

Iran: three hanged

July 22, 2008: the Iranian government hanged in prison three men convicted of rape in the southern city of Bushehr, the state broadcaster reported on its website.
The report did not identify the convicts, who had been found guilty of rape in a case known as "Chah Kootah forest".


Source: Sapa-AFP 22/07/2008

Indonesia executes three convicted murderers

JAKARTA - Amid international calls for Indonesia to halt executions of death-row convicts, authorities have executed three condemned murderers, government officials said on Saturday.

The three were executed around midnight Friday at two different locations. The deaths are the latest in a series of capital punishments carried out in recent weeks in Indonesia.

In East Java, 59-year-old mother Sumiarsih and her 44-year-old son, Sugeng, were executed by police firing squads before midnight Friday in an open field outside the province's Sidoarjo prison, local prosecutors said.

"A team of doctors confirmed the two have died," said East Java chief prosecutor Purwosudiro.

The bodies of the convicts were placed into coffins and handed over to their relatives for burial, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Both Sumiarsih and Sugeng were sentenced to death in 1989 for murdering a marine family of five one year earlier. To cover it up, she and Sugeng threw the bodies into a gorge …

Texas Turns Aside Pressure on Execution of 5 Mexicans

Despite pleas from the White House and the State Department, as well as an international court order to review their cases, Texas will execute five Mexicans on death row, a spokeswoman for the governor said Thursday.

The 1st of the executions that of Jos Ernesto Medelln, 33, convicted in the 1993 rape and murder of 2 teenage girls here is scheduled for Aug. 5.

The decision by Gov. Rick Perry to allow the executions is the latest twist in a long-running battle between Mexico, which has no death penalty, and the United States over the fate of 51 Mexicans facing capital punishment in several states, including 14 in Texas.

On Wednesday, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ordered a review of five of the Texas cases after Mexico complained that the convicts, all men, had not been allowed a chance to talk to a Mexican consul after their arrests, as required under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

But that argument holds little sway in Texas, a place with a long…

World Court to Rule on US Executions

(THE HAGUE, Netherlands) — The U.N.'s highest court is ruling Wednesday on an emergency Mexican appeal to block the execution of its citizens on death row in the United States.

At hastily convened hearings last month, Mexico argued that the United States is defying a 2004 International Court of Justice order to review the cases of 51 Mexicans sentenced to death by state courts.

That order was based on the Hague-based court's finding that the condemned prisoners had been denied the right to help from their consulate following their arrest.

Wednesday's ruling comes less than three weeks before the first of the death row inmates, Jose Medellin, is scheduled for execution by lethal injection in Texas for taking part in the gang rape and murder of two teenage girls 15 years ago.

At last month's hearings, Mexico's chief advocate Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo told the court the cases had not been systematically reviewed, and the U.S. was "in breach of its international oblig…

"Even the President can't stop executions in Iran"

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Iran authorizes the execution of delinquent minors in the name of Islam,contrary to international law. The President of the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and a judge at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Renate Winter, shares her experience with Irans judicial system.

Interview by Carole Vann/Human Rights Tribune

Islamic law does not embrace international law in Iran, even in cases covered by conventions ratified by the government, such as that regarding the execution of minors. According to Amnesty International, nearly 150 minors are currently to be found on death row. Four of them face execution in the coming days. Renate Winter has had frequent experience working with Iranian judges.

Can you explain this distinction between 'execution' and 'reparation' according to Iranian law?

Iranian law does not specify the death penalty (edam in Farsi) for persons under 18 years of age. On the other hand, there is the matter of reparations (qisa) for delinqu…

TEXAS: new female death sentence

A South Texas mother convicted of torturing and beating to death her 2 1/2-year-old daughter has been sentenced to die.
Melissa Elizabeth Lucio, 39, of Harlingen will become the 10th woman on death row in Texas. She was sentenced by a jury Thursday and is believed to be the first female given the death penalty in Cameron County.

Witnesses in the 2-week trial testified that Mariah Alvarez was beaten and tortured for months before dying from brain damage in a final violent assault last year.

"I honestly think justice was done," said District Attorney Armando Villalobos.

He said jurors made the right call in spite of living in a largely Catholic community that borders Mexico, which doesn't allow the death penalty. The Catholic Church generally opposes capital punishment.

Lucio wept when witnesses spoke of the brutality the toddler endured, but she showed no emotion when her sentence was read.

Defense attorneys argued that Lucio was poor and suffered from "battered wome…

Vietnam to execute 2 Taiwanese heroin traffickers

A court in southern Vietnam sentenced 2 Taiwanese men to death for their involvement in an international heroin trafficking ring, local media reported Friday.

The People's Court of An Giang province, 190 kilometres south-west of Ho Chi Minh City, handed death sentences to Wei Chun Lung and Lee Chih Wen at a 2-day trial that ended Thursday, the People's Police newspaper said.

The court also sentenced 2 Vietnamese accomplices, Phan Thi Cam Tu and Huynh Thi Anh, to 20 and 18 years in prison.

According to the court's indictment, the ring was uncovered on May 20,2007 when Anh was arrested en route from Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City with 1.2 kilograms of heroin in her luggage.

The province's anti-narcotics force later arrested other members and found more heroin at the Ho Chi Minh City hotel room of ring leader Lee,People's Police said.

The group confessed to having brought 2.5 kilograms of heroin from Cambodia into Vietnam. They said the heroin was then illegally transported …

Death of witness in Rosenberg case

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Ruth Greenglass, whose testimony in a sensational Cold War espionage trial helped send her sister-in-law Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair, has died.

Her death at age 84 was revealed in court documents filed by prosecutors in late June.

She'd been living under an alias to avoid association with the case that led to the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953.

Greenglass and her husband, David, were pivotal figures in the spy case. He was a wartime machinist in Los Alamos. They confessed to being part of an effort to smuggle secrets to the Soviets.

They turned in the Rosenbergs as the spies who recruited them to the task.

Historians continue to debate the truthfulness of their testimony concerning Ethel, whose guilt has long been questioned.

Source: Associated Press

Iran: death sentences confirmed for “moharebeh”, (enmity against God)

According to the non-governmental organization Human Rights Activists in Iran, the Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentences of Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydariyan and Farhad Vakili.

All three were sentenced to death in February 2008 after conviction of “moharebeh”, (enmity against God), a charge leveled against those accused of taking up arms against the state, apparently in connection with their alleged membership of the armed group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which carries out attacks in Turkey. Ali Heydariyan and Farhad Vakili were also sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, apparently for forging documents. Under Iranian law, they must serve their prison sentences before being executed.

Human Rights Activists in Iran also reported that when prison authorities at Raja’I Shahr prison in Tehran province told Farzad Kamangar of the Supreme Court’s decision, they asked him to write a letter seeking clemency. He refused to do this, as it would have been an acknowledgement of gu…

Indonesia widens use of death penalty

In Indonesia, the death penalty is carried out by firing squad.

When the time comes, after any final wishes have been granted, the prisoner is taken to a field to stand in front of 12 gunmen. A single shot is fired from each rifle, carefully aimed at the chest. If that does not kill the prisoner, the commander will fire a point-blank shot to the head.

This is how it went for Ahmad Suradji, 57, who was executed late Thursday night for the murder of 42 women a decade ago. No family or witnesses were allowed. This was how it also went for 2 Nigerians executed June 26 on drug trafficking charges.

Indonesia resumed executing prisoners in June after a 14-month hiatus, during which time the Constitutional Court here upheld the death penalty for drug offenders. Indonesia has some of the strictest penalties for drug crimes in the world.

Though more than half of the prisoners on death row are there for drug-related charges, Samuel Iwachekwu Okoye and Hansen Anthony Nwaliosa, the Nigerian nationals …

Iran: 4 hanged in public

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The Iranian regime publicly hanged four people in Borazjan, southern Boushehr province, on Thursday July 10, reported Khalij Fars provincial News Agency.

The public hangings were carried out after the mullahs' judiciary chief, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, announced last February that "The death penalty should be carried out behind closed doors." He also banned television footages and publication of photographs of executions.

But the ruling clerics, fearing the increasing popular uprisings and protests have turned to its medieval public hanging to terrorize the people.

Another prisoner was hanged in Sanandaj central prison, western Iran, on July 10. Execution of Ahmad Khalaj took place while he could not stand on his feet due to his ailment. His sentence was carried out in total violation of international human rights regulations.

Source: Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance
of Iran Photos: iran-resist.org

Indonesia executes shaman for murdering dozens of women

Jakarta - Indonesia has executed a man sentenced to death a decade ago for murdering 42 women in "black magic" rituals, despite a call from international human rights group to halt the execution, officials said Friday.


The self-proclaimed shaman Ahmad Suradji, 59, was executed by a firing squad in an open field in Deli Serdang district, about 40 kilometres outside the North Sumatra provincial capital of Medan on Thursday night, said B Nainggolan, spokesman for Indonesia's Attorney General's Office.

"The execution was carried out shortly before 10 pm Thursday," Nainggolan said, adding that Suradji's body was immediately brought to Deli Serdang's public hospital for an autopsy, before handed over to his family for burial.

He said before being executed Suradji had been granted all of his rights, including a chance to meet with his wife and other close relatives.

Suradji was sentenced to death in 1998 after police found the women's bodies buried in a su…

China refuses to consider 250,000-strong petition

A World Coalition delegation found the door closed on June 16 when they attempted to handover to the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong a petition urging for changes in the death penalty system in China.

Stopped at the outside door of the building, it was refused the chance to be met by any official on the explanation that ‘this is a political issue’.
The petition, calling for the lift of state secrecy on the practice of the death penalty and a moratorium on executions, was signed by 256,457 persons from all around the world.
Earlier in the morning, the WCADP held a press conference in Hong Kong to present its demands and compare the death penalty situation in China with global trends in Asia and the rest of the world.
Death penalty remains a particular concern in China, where thousands of people continue to be sentenced to death and executed each year, often after hasty and unfair trial.

“They've destroyed my future”

“I just had one son, all my hopes rested on him. They’ve destroyed m…

Japanese lawyer indignant after her client is executed without notice

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On June 17, Tsutomu Miyazaki, Shinji Mutsuda and Yoshio Yamazaki were executed in Japan. Lawyer Maiko Tagusari, who defended one of the three men, denounces the rising number of executions in her country.

“On the morning of June 17, my client on death row, Tsutomu Miyazaki, was executed in Tokyo Detention Centre without any prior notice, as well as two other inmates, one also in Tokyo and the other in Osaka. Since the inauguration of the current Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama, there have been executions every two months. He has executed as many as 13 people in only 6 months.
I was therefore gravely worried that my client's execution could be imminent. Miyazaki was mentally ill and had been receiving psychiatric medical treatment in the detention centre for more than a decade.

I had been preparing for an appeal for retrial for the last several months, obtaining his medical record from the detention centre authorities and requesting an expert to examine his mental condition. On May 30…
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The latest version of Death Row U.S.A. has been released by the Capital Punishment Project of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. The report contains death row and execution data for all states and federal jurisdictions as of January 1, 2008. The report lists inmates by state, name, and race. The report also contains information on each person executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, and information on U.S. Supreme Court decisions. The last version of DRUSA was Jan. 1, 2007. The latest report includes the following statistics:

The total number of inmates on death rows across the country is 3,309, a decrease from 3,350 reported on January 1, 2007. The jurisdictions with the most inmates on death row are:
- California (667)
- Florida (397)
- Texas (373)
- Pennsylvania (228).

The jurisdictions (having 10 or more inmates) with the highest percentage of minorities on death row are:
- Texas (70%)
- Pennsylvania (69%)
- Louisiana (66%).

Source: NAACP L…

California: Death penalty's survival uncertain, state finds ---- El Dorado County prosecutor agrees

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Some 71 years after the last hanging of an inmate at Folsom Prison, California's death penalty is fatally flawed, according to a state commission report.

The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice was established in 2004 in part to determine the extent to which the state's legal system has caused wrongful executions. It reported June 30 that the state must narrow its death penalty, in part because the penalty is impossibly expensive to continue in its current broad form.

Under the statute now in effect, a full 87 % of California's 1st-degree murders are "death eligible," and could be prosecuted as death cases, the commission noted. Any of a total of 22 "special circumstances" can be cited by local prosecutors in seeking a death penalty. The list includes drive-by murder. A federal Justice Department study in 2000 found numerous racial and geographic disparities applied to death penalty sentences.

Bill Clark, chief assistant district at…

Texas executes Carlton Turner

A very apologetic Carlton Turner was executed Thursday night for the slayings of his adoptive parents a decade ago at their suburban Dallas home.

"I've been sorry for the last 10 years. I wish you could accept my apology," he said to an uncle who watched impassively through a window. "I know you can't give your forgiveness. It's OK. I understand. I know I caused a lot of pain."

Turner said he hoped his family could come to terms with what he did. "I accept the responsibility. I take this penalty as a man. I am sorry."

7 minutes later, he was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m. CDT.

The execution was carried out more than an hour after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his last 2 appeals. Almost 10 months ago, the Supreme Court had spared him almost 4 hours after he could have been executed.

Turner was the 2nd Texas inmate executed this year. At least 14 others are set to die over the next few months, including 2 more this month.

In a long rambling mess…

Virginia: Jackson executed for 2000 murder

Kent Jermaine Jackson was put to death tonight for the murder of an elderly Newport News neighbor 8 years ago.

Jackson, 26, was executed by injection and was pronounced dead at 9:18 p.m.

He was convicted of capital murder for the brutal slaying of Beulah Mae Kaiser, 79, a widow who lived across the hall from Jackson and his roommate, Joseph M. Dorsett, 29. Dorsett also participated in April 16, 2000, slaying and was sentenced to 135 years.

Kaiser's body was discovered in her apartment 2 days later. Her walking cane was shoved down her throat, a jugular vein cut and her skull fractured. She had been kicked, suffered several other stab wounds and had been sexually assaulted.

Jackson and Dorsett were charged a year later and Jackson gave a recorded confession. Though he admitted stabbing Kaiser with a knife, he denied using the cane. His lawyers contend that Dorsett, who escaped a death sentence, used the cane and was the actual killer.

According to a Virginia Supreme Court summary of the…

Paris Die-in 2008

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Pour la 7° année l’Acat France et Amnesty International se sont réunis place de la Concorde à Paris avec la présence exceptionnelle de Martina Correia, venue pour nous parler du cas de son frère : Troy Davis, condamné à mort depuis 1991, pour le meurtre d’un policier en 1989. Cela fait donc 17 ans que Troy Davis clame son innocence, il a épuisé tous ses recours après avoir échappé à une exécution prévue le 17 juillet 2007 et un refus d’un nouveau procès par la Cour Suprême de Géorgie , le 17 mars 2008. Seul le Comité des Grâces de Géorgie peut agir en lui accordant une commutation de sa peine. Il faut donc se mobiliser en signant la pétition sur le site : www.amnesty.fr/peine_de_mort Pour plus d’information en anglais : www.troyanthonydavis.org . Vous pouvez aussi lui écrire a demandé sa sœur et il vous répondra. Le thème de cette année portait sur les méthodes d’exécution aux Etats-Unis : la pendaison, le peloton d’exécution, la chambre à gaz, la chaise électrique et l’injection létale,…

PAKISTAN: LAW MINISTRY OPPOSED COMMUTATION OF DEATH PENALTIES

July 4, 2008: the Pakistan Law Ministry strongly opposed the federal cabinet approving the commutation of the death penalties of 7,000 convicts to life terms, claiming the decision was a violation of Islamic laws.

Sources in the Prime Minister Secretariat said that the PM was advised against the commutation of death sentences by the law ministry, which said it would also be a violation of the decisions of the Supreme Court. The president, in the law ministry’s view, has no right to commute a death sentence awarded under Hadood and Qisas laws. Similarly, even some categories of capital punishment given in murder cases, registered under Tazir laws (man made laws), could not be pardoned or commuted to life term without the consent of heirs of victim.

However, the federal cabinet still decided to convert the death penalties.

A PM Secretariat source said that the law ministry, in its advice, acknowledged that the Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan empowered the president to commute an…

Former death row inmate celebrates his independence

Paul House says you'll have to excuse him if he isn't feeling especially patriotic this Fourth of July.
House, 46, spent 22 years on Tennessee's death row for the rape and murder of his neighbor, Carolyn Muncey, in 1985. Thanks to an appeals court ruling, House was released Wednesday, two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that new DNA evidence could have led a jury to acquit him. House, who has multiple sclerosis, is thrilled to be spending July Fourth with his family for the first time in more than 22 years. But he admits that his experience has changed him. "I'm not patriotic at all, and I don't think I should be because of what those idiots have done to me," House said Friday in a phone interview from his mother's home in Crossville, Tennessee. "I think I may have forgiven them, but who knows." Despite his reluctant patriotism, House is looking forward to the BBQ and fireworks his mother has prepared. "I gave up on feeling anythin…