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As Trump and Barr ramp up executions, Biden must rally America to end the death penalty

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This spasm of state murder is unprecedented. Lives should not be subject to the whims of prosecutors, judges and rogue outgoing presidents like Trump. The American people have spoken and elected Joe Biden to be our next president. In a civilized country, the process of smoothly handing over power from one side to the other would consist, at the bare minimum, of precluding irrevocable decisions by the outgoing administration. Attorney General William Barr’s reaction: Kill as many people as he can as quickly as possible. The Trump administration’s final spasms of state murder make one thing clear: Biden must abolish the federal death penalty. Every state should follow suit. No longer should lives be subject to the political whims of prosecutors, judges and rogue outgoing presidents. The current spate of executions at the federal level is unprecedented . When Orlando Hall was executed Nov. 20 , it was the first federal execution during a transition period between one president and the

Iran | Ahmadreza Djalali's Execution “Postponed for a Few Days”

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); December 2, 2020: According to information obtained by IHR, Ahmadreza Djalali’s death sentence was not carried out this morning but he remains at imminent risk of execution.  Yesterday, IHR reported that according to his family, he was due to be transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in preparation for the implementation of his death sentence.  Today, authorities informed Ahmadreza’s family that his execution had been “postponed for a few days.” Iran Human Rights calls on the international community to intensify their efforts to save Ahmadreza Djalali’s life. This must continue until his death sentence is revoked and his return to his family in Sweden. Ahmadreza Djalali who had travelled to Iran at the official invitation of the University of Tehran, was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents on 24 April 2016 and spent three months in the Ministry’s detention centre. Initially charged with “collaborating with hostile states”, he was later convicted of “moharebe

Florida Supreme Court Limits Retroactive Scope of Its Ruling Permitting Death Sentences After Non-Unanimous Jury Votes

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In 2 long-awaited decisions that will alter the landscape of Florida’s death row, the Florida Supreme Court has limited the reach of a landmark ruling that overturned the state’s constitutional prohibition against death sentences imposed after a non-unanimous jury vote for death. The court’s January 2020 decision in State v. Poole had raised the specter that the court might rescind orders that had overturned the death sentences of more than 100 Florida death-row prisoners and granted them new sentencing trials. However, on November 25, the court decided the cases of 2 defendants sentenced to death by non-unanimous juries who had been awaiting resentencing under the court’s 2016 decision, Hurst v. State . In those cases, the court unanimously rebuffed state prosecutors’ efforts to reinstate the death sentences of Bessman Okafor and Michael James Jackson without affording them the capital resentencing hearings previously ordered by the court. In January 2020, after state trial and appel

China | Death Sentence for Harbin Man Who Raped, Mutilated 4-Year-Old Girl

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A Chinese court has handed down a rare death sentence in a rape case, as it involved a child victim who suffered permanent injuries. An intermediate court in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin sentenced a 54-year-old man to death Wednesday for raping his neighbor, a 4-year-old girl. The verdict was announced the day of the trial, which came just over three months after the assault in late August. The victim suffered major injuries that left her in critical condition, requiring weeks of recovery in an intensive care ward. In its verdict, the Harbin Intermediate People’s Court in Heilongjiang province said the convicted man, surnamed Liu, had a criminal history of homicide and rape. “After serving jail time (for three other violent crimes), he remained unrepentant. He employed particularly cruel methods to rape this child, just 4 years old, resulting in major damage to her physical and mental health,” the verdict read. “His crime has also had an extremely severe and negative impact

Three Texans face the death penalty for randomly shooting at people in their cars during an 11-hour gun rampage across two states

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Three Texans could face the death penalty following several random Thanksgiving day shootings in suburban Las Vegas which left one man dead, a prosecutor has said.  Authorities are pursuing possible terrorism and hate-crime charges against brothers Christopher and Shawn McDonnell, and Shawn's wife Kayleigh Lewis for allegedly carrying out the deadly 11-hour shooting spree across two states, beginning in Henderson, Nevada.  Prosecutors will also consider pursuing the death penalty in the case, Michael Schwartzer, a chief deputy Clark County district attorney, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.    In one of the shootings, Kevin Mendiola Jr., 22, of North Las Vegas, was killed and four other people were wounded in front of a 7-Eleven convenience store on the 800 block of the East Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson. Among the injured at the store was a 23-year-old woman, and three men aged 18, 41 and 53 - all of whom suffered from apparent gunshot wounds, according to Henderson police.  Th

Florida | Prosecution seeking death penalty against mother of deceased infant

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At her formal arraignment Monday in Washington County Court, Symantha Sullivan learned she faces the death penalty in connection with the killing of her baby son. Sullivan, 25, of Coal Center, appeared before a judge via video streamed from Washington County jail. Isaiah Sullivan was just a few months old at the time of his death Oct. 26 from injuries he suffered in mid-September, when state police were initially alerted to potential abuse. Sullivan is accused of punching Isaiah in the back of his head out of frustration that he wouldn’t fall asleep Sept. 10. Sullivan allegedly admitted to dropping Isaiah on his head in the bathtub a few days prior to police responding Sept. 11 to America’s Best Value Inn and Suites in Canton Township, where Sullivan had been staying with her boyfriend and her children. The infant became unconscious and was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where he was placed on life support. According to the criminal complaint, he suffered a brain injur

Bangladesh | Rangpur man gets death penalty for 2016 rape, murder of 8-yr-old child

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A Rangpur court has sentenced a man to death after finding him guilty in a case filed back in 2016 over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Pirgonj upazila. Women and Children and Repression Prevention Tribunal Judge Mostafa Pavel Raihan handed down the verdict Tuesday afternoon, with the death row convict Riyad Pradhan present at the dock.  State Prosecutor Adv Kawsar Ali confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune while expressing satisfaction and demanding speedy execution of the verdict. He said the verdict in the 2016 case was declared in accordance with article 9(2) of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amended) Act 2003, which states if a woman or child dies as a result of rape or any other misconduct following rape, the person convicted, shall be punishable by death or life imprisonment and an additional fine of no less than Tk1 lakh. According to court sources, the victim Tanjila Khatun Chumki, daughter of Shajahan Ali of Ramnathpur village in Pirgonj upazila

USA | South Carolina officials say they can't obtain drugs for Friday execution

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South Carolina prison officials say they have to delay an execution scheduled for Friday because they won't be able to obtain the necessary lethal injection drugs. An attorney for the state Department of Corrections wrote in a letter to the South Carolina Supreme Court last week that the agency cannot carry out the execution of Richard Bernard Moore due to the lack of drugs, which it has not had stocked since 2013. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter. The court scheduled Moore's execution after he exhausted his federal appeals this month. Moore, 55, has spent nearly 2 decades on death row following his conviction for the 1999 killing of a convenience store clerk in Spartanburg County. He would be the 1st person executed in South Carolina in nearly a decade. The state's usual injection protocol calls for 3 drugs: pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. But the corrections agency has said it has not had the drugs in stock since 2013, when its

Alabama sets February execution date for man in 1991 killing

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama on Tuesday set a February execution date for a man convicted of the 1991 killing of a woman abducted near an automatic teller machine and later found shot in a cemetery. The Alabama Supreme Court ordered that 51-year-old Willie B. Smith III be put to death on Feb. 11 for the shotgun slaying of Sharma Ruth Johnson. Prosecutors said Smith abducted Johnson at gunpoint in October 1991 as she waited to use an ATM machine in Birmingham, forced her into the trunk of a car and withdrew $80 using her bank card.  Prosecutors said he then took her to a cemetery where he shot her in the back of the head and later returned to set the car on fire. A jury convicted Smith in 1992 in the death of Johnson, who was the sister of a Birmingham police detective. Appellate courts rejected Smith’s claims on appeal, including that his lawyers provided ineffective assistance at trial and that he shouldn’t be executed because he is intellectually disabled.  Court records indicate a def

USA | As Trump expedites U.S. executions, a closer look at federal death row

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Outgoing administration proposes to bring back use of electrocution, firing squads People on federal death row could be executed by firing squad or electrocution, if a U.S. Department of Justice rule becomes final. In the waning days of the Trump administration, US DOJ is both expediting the number of federal executions and expanding the methods of how executions can be carried out.  Currently, states and the federal government use lethal injection to execute people, but because of a shortage of the drugs — and questions about how they’re administered — have curtailed the number of executions in the U.S.  Of the 1,054 executions by lethal injection carried out by both state and federal officials through 2014, 54 — or 7% — were “botched,” according to a book by Amherst College jurisprudence professor Austin Sarat. That means there were “unanticipated problems or delays that caused, at least arguably, unnecessary agony for the prisoner or that reflect gross incompetence of the executione