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Democrats Should Stop Saying Some People Should Die in Prison

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Replacing the death penalty with death in prison is not true progress.
Late last week, a clip of an interview from the New York Times with Sen. Elizabeth Warren made the rounds on social media. In it, Warren spelled out her position against the death penalty, citing the evidence of wrongful convictions and racism associated with capital punishment. Then she added: “I think that people who have committed truly heinous crimes should die in prison. I think that is how we give them the maximum, maximum punishment that we can: keep them in prison for all their days.”
Warren’s answer echoes a similar response by Bernie Sanders, who thinks those who commit “horrific” crimes should “spend the rest of their days” in prison. This position is widely accepted as the progressive stance on the death penalty: Nearly every person vying to be the Democratic presidential nominee agrees that life without parole should replace the death penalty.
But answers like Warren’s and Sanders’ represent a continua…

Minnesota | A rope too long, a good argument against capital punishment

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In the basement of St. Paul's Ramsey County Jail 114 years ago next month, a trap door swung open and convicted killer William Williams, a rope cinched around his neck, fell through. The state of Minnesota was carrying out its 66th execution. And its last — unsurprisingly, considering how it turned out.
Williams had been found guilty of shooting to death a teenaged boy and the boy's mother. A county trial judge had ordered him “hanged by the neck until dead.”
After Williams plummeted, spectators gasped. Then one shouted, “He's on the floor!”
Sure enough. Sheriff Anton Miesen, who had attended a dinner party before the execution, had miscalculated the length of the rope. Williams' feet had indeed hit the ground and touched.
“(His) neck stretched four and one half inches and the rope nearly eight inches,” the St. Paul Daily News reported in spite of a state law at the time that prohibiting the publication of details of executions.
Three sheriff's deputies scrambled …

Florida Death Penalty Experts Concerned About Court Ruling

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Florida Supreme Court decision involving the death penalty has thrown between 100 to 150 cases into legal limbo, experts say.
On Thursday, the court said it erred in 2016 when it ruled a jury must be unanimous in deciding a defendant convicted of murder should be sentenced to death. A day later, lawyers and anti-death penalty advocates were scrambling to determine what this means for existing cases that are in the resentencing phase.
“No one knows how broadly the court will attempt to apply it,” said Robert Dunham of the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center. “And there are serious constitutional issues for all of the cases for which relief is being taken away.”
Since the 2016 ruling, dozens of death row inmates who had been sentenced to die with nonunanimous jury decisions were granted new sentencing hearings.
Dunham's group has identified 147 such cases, but it's unclear whether all will be subject to yet another round of sentencin…

Georgia | Donnie Lance set for execution on Jan. 29

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Condemned killer from Jackson Co set for execution
A state court judge has denied a request for a stay of execution in the case of Donnie Lance. The 65 year-old Lance is on Georgia’s death row for 2 murders committed 22 years ago in Jackson County. His 39 year-old ex-wife and her 33 year-old boyfriend were killed in November of 1997. 
Lance’s execution is scheduled for next Wednesday at the state prison in Jackson.
Lance’s lawyers had asked Butts County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson to first decide whether the grand jury that handed up Lance’s indictment was illegally stacked with friends of the district attorney and those the prosecutor knew would be on his side. But Wilson, in a one-sentence order, declined to delay the execution.
Lance, 65, sits on death row for the November 1997 murders in Jackson County of his ex-wife, 39-year-old Joy Lance, and her boyfriend, 33-year-old Dwight “Butch” Wood. 
Joy Lance was beaten to death and Wood was killed by 2 shotgun blasts. Lance is to…

Saudi Arabia | Abolition of death sentence against Egypt man accused of drug trafficking

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The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Wednesday evening the continuation of its follow-up of the case of an Egyptian citizen accused of smuggling narcotic drugs into Saudi Arabia. 
While the case sparked controversy on social media websites, the death sentence against the Egyptian citizen was abolished, and he will face a retrial before another court.
The ministry indicated in a statement it published on its official Facebook page, that it was following up the case of the an. This came after the Supreme Court verdict in Riyadh ruled to appeal against the death penalty verdict issued against him from the appeal court, and his retrial before another court, with the 1st session scheduled for 16 February.
This appeal comes after successive campaigns on social media that interacted with video clips that Abul-Qasim leaked from his prison cell, listing facts with evidence of his innocence, and others recorded by his wife calling on the Egyptian authorities to intervene to sa…

ACLU, Innocence Project Demand DNA, Fingerprint Tests That Could Exonerate Ledell Lee, Executed By Arkansas In 2017

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New Analysis by Top Forensic Experts Provides Powerful New Evidence Supporting Lee’s Longtime Claim That He Was Innocent of 1993 Murder 
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The American Civil Liberties Union, the Innocence Project, the ACLU of Arkansas, Hogan Lovells US LLP, and Little Rock attorney John Tull today filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in state court on behalf of Patricia Young, the sister of Ledell Lee. The lawsuit asks the court to order the city of Jacksonville, Ark. to release DNA and fingerprints found at the scene of the crime — which do not match Lee’s — so that they can be tested and run through national databases for the first time. This comes as new analysis from top forensic experts provides reason to believe Lee may have been executed for a crime he did not commit. 
Lee was executed on April 20, 2017 for the 1993 murder of Debra Reese. He maintained his innocence from the time of his arrest until his execution. When the Innocence Project and the ACLU were brought in …

Alabama | Teen charged with fatal stabbings of mother, twin 13-year-old brothers in Munford

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Landon Durham, 16, has been charged with capital murder. He will be charged as an adult, but the death penalty will not apply as he is under 18.
A teenage boy has been charged with murdering his mother and twin 13-year-old brothers.
Deputies responded to a home in Munford, Alabama, late on Tuesday, the Talladega County Sheriff's Office said. Inside, they found Holli Christina Durham, 36, and her sons Branson and Baron Durham dead after being stabbed.
Landon Durham, 16, has been charged with capital murder in connection with the deaths, Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens said, according to AL.com.
"This is the kind of crimes you see on TV or the media or the internet that happen in other places and for it to happen here, it really hits home," Giddens said.
"Munford, like all communities in this county, are pretty close-knit, and I know they're hurting, and we are, too," he added. "I'm not wishing this on somebody else but it's hard…

Lawyers for Liberty sues Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister over death penalty statement

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KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyers for Liberty is suing Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister for invoking the city-state’s anti-fake news law over a statement it made regarding the method of execution for the death penalty.
The human rights lawyers’ organisation filed the originating summons at the High Court registry through law firm Messrs Daim & Gamany here Friday (Jan 24).
The organisation, through its official entity as a non-governmental organisation-registered company LFL Sdn Bhd, was the first plaintiff while its adviser N. Surendran and director Melissa Sasidaran were named the second and third plaintiffs respectively.
The Singaporean Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam was the sole defendant in the suit.
RELATED Singapore | Malaysian human rights group alleges “brutal, unlawful” state execution process in Changi Prison
In the supporting affidavit affirmed by Surendran, the human rights lawyer said that he, in his capacity as adviser to Lawyers for Liberty, had issued a press statement …

Singapore high commissioner: LFL’s claims sensational, untrue

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We refer to your story “Group claims of brutal ‘neck-snapping’ procedure in Singapore jail when hanging fails” (16 Jan), on the statement by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), claiming Singapore’s prison authority practises “brutal and unlawful hanging methods”.
LFL’s statement contains falsehoods. It is the latest in a series of sensational and untrue stories published by LFL, calculated to seek attention and pressure the Singapore government to exempt convicted Malaysian drug traffickers from the death penalty.
Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has since issued Correction Directions under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, refuting these baseless allegations of unlawful methods of judicial execution.
These clarifications can be found at www.gov.sg/article/factually-clarifications-on-falsehoods-posted-by-lawyers-for-liberty.
Four entities in Singapore and Malaysia, including LFL, have been directed to carry a link to this clarification alongside their posts on LF…

India | Nirbhaya case: 3 death row convicts now seek more documents

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Nirbhaya case: 3 death row convicts now seek more documents
New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Advocate A.P. Singh, lawyer for three of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case again moved an application before a Delhi court seeking directions to the Tihar Jail authorities to supply him the relevant documents in order to exercise the remaining legal remedies available with the convicts -- Vinay Pawan and Akshay.
Singh, in his plea filed before the Patiala House Court sought urgent orders of the court in order to file a mercy petition of Vinay Sharma and in relation to requests for documents for convicts Vinay Sharma, Pawan Kumar Gupta and Akshay Kumar Singh.
He further said that the convicts undertook several steps to obtain relevant information necessary for filing the mercy petitions. In regular interval, the convicts requested the concerned authority to supply documents pertaining to their medical records from 2012 to 2015 and 2019-2020, records of cellular confinement, rec…

Florida Supreme Court on the death penalty: We got it wrong

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Justices back away from a 2016 decision
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. --- The Florida Supreme Court said Thursday that unanimous jury recommendations are not necessary before death sentences can be imposed, as justices backed away from a 2016 decision that revamped the state’s capital-punishment system.
The 4-1 ruling offered a clear picture of how much the Supreme Court has changed since last January, when a conservative majority took control after the retirements of longtime justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince.
Thursday’s majority opinion said the court “got it wrong” in 2016 when it required changes such as unanimous jury recommendations on death sentences. The 2016 ruling came as judges, lawyers and state leaders tried to move forward after the U.S. Supreme Court had found Florida’s death-penalty system unconstitutional.
“Last, lest there be any doubt, we hold that our state Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment … does not require a unanimous jury re…