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Clinton Young Free Pending Retrial After 20 Years on Texas Death Row

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Former Texas death-row prisoner Clinton Young has been released from custody nearly twenty years after being sentenced to death for a double murder he has consistently said he did not commit. Young walked out of the Midland County Detention Center January 21, 2022, after the foundation posted bond to secure his freedom while prosecutors from neighboring Dawson County decide whether to retry Young on the charges.  The foundation crowdfunded contributions to cover 15% of the $150,000 cash bail to gain Young’s release. RELATED |  Texas | Former death row inmate Clinton Young released on bond The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) granted Young a new trial in September 2021 following revelations that his prosecutor from the Midland County District Attorney’s office had also secretly served as a paid clerk to county judges who presided over Young’s trial and post-conviction appeals. In a video posted on the foundation’s Facebook page, Young removed his left sneaker and sock and stepped

SCOTUS | Justice Stephen Breyer to Retire From Supreme Court

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The vacancy will give President Biden his first chance to name a new justice. He has promised to nominate a Black woman. WASHINGTON — Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the senior member of the Supreme Court’s three-member liberal wing, will retire, two people familiar with the decision said, providing President Biden a chance to make good on his pledge to name a Black woman to the court. Mr. Biden is expected to formally announce the retirement at the White House on Thursday, according to one person familiar with the planning for the event. Justice Breyer, 83, the oldest member of the court, was appointed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. After the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020 and the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett by President Donald J. Trump, he became the subject of an energetic campaign by liberals who wanted him to step down to ensure that Mr. Biden could name his successor while Democrats control the Senate. With conservatives now in full control of the court,

Florida lawmakers favor secrecy in crucial part of lethal injection procedures

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Push to keep source of lethal injection drugs secret Along with lists of chemicals needed, and in what amounts, what happens inside the Florida State Prison during an execution is spelled out in a 14-page document. On page 5, it says "a designated execution team member will purchase, and at all times ensure a sufficient supply of the chemicals used in the lethal injection process." But it says nothing about where to get them. Watchdog groups say that's a problem. "Access to this information is critical to oversight of the Department of Corrections and lethal injections," explained Virginia Hamrick, the staff attorney at the Florida First Amendment Foundation. House Bill 873 and Senate Bill 1204 are moving through legislative committees, with bipartisan support, that would extend prohibitions against identifying anyone who prepares or injects the lethal injection drugs, any entity that participates in the drugs' production, and/or any entity or person who pro

North Carolina | Death penalty sought for man accused of killing 5-year-old Wilson boy

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WILSON, N.C. (WITN) - The state is seeking the death penalty against a man accused of killing a 5-year-old Wilson boy in August of 2020. WRAL reports Darius Sessoms, 25, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in court on Tuesday. Sessoms was indicted by a grand jury for charges of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon on Dec. 22nd, 2021. Family members of 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant said the boy was riding his bike outside his dad’s home on Archers Road in Wilson when he was shot in the head.  Hinnant’s mother said his two sisters, ages 8 and 7, saw their brother get shot. “I pray he gets the death penalty,” said Bonny Parker, Cannon Hinnant’s mom. “We will fight for that till the end. That’s what we’re hoping for. It would mean the closest we can get to justice for Cannon.” -- Bonny Parker, Cannon Hinnant’s mom Cannon Hinnant’s dad, Austin Hinnant, said there was no “bad blood” between him and his neighbor.  A neighbor said that the two men had dinner together th

Nebraska county prosecutor seeks death penalty in fast-food shooting that left 2 dead

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A Nebraska man accused of killing two people at a fast-food restaurant in 2020 and leaving two others injured could face the death penalty if convicted, the county attorney’s office said this week. Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov announced Monday his office would seek the death penalty for Roberto Silva Jr., 24, who faces first-degree murder charges in the Nov. 21, 2020, shooting outside a Sonic restaurant in Bellevue, Nebraska, WOWT-TV in Omaha reported. Employees Nathan Pastrana, 22, and Ryan Helbert, 28, were killed. Two others were injured. It was the first time Polikov has sought the death penalty after 30 years in elected office. “I based my decision on the initial investigation as well as new information we received after the case was initially filed, which fit the aggravating circumstances necessary to seek the death penalty,” Polikov said in a news conference, according to WOWT.  “I will tell you that there are nine circumstances outlined by statutes that are aggravating cir

A Texas Mother Could Be Executed In April. Was Her Child’s Death Really A Murder?

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Melissa Lucio , whose execution could take place this year, claims her innocence. In 2007, paramedics arrived at a tiny apartment that Melissa Lucio shared with her live-in partner, Robert, and nine of her 14 children in the Rio Grande Valley. They found two-year-old Mariah sprawled on her back in the middle of the floor. The girl wasn’t breathing. The family was in the process of changing apartments, and Lucio said Mariah, her youngest, had gotten hurt after she fell down a set of rickety stairs. Mariah was declared dead on arrival at a Harlingen hospital, where a physician found she had an untreated broken arm, bruises, and signs of a serious head injury. The Texas Rangers—the investigative arm of the Texas Department of Public Safety—launched a homicide probe that same night. They focused on the parents. After their probe ended, Mariah’s father, Robert Alvarez, who claimed ignorance of the girl’s injuries, was sentenced to four years for reckless injury to a child for failing to se

Appeals court paves the way for 2 more Oklahoma executions

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OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court rejected a request from two Oklahoma death row inmates to temporarily halt their upcoming lethal injections. A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver denied the inmates’ motion in a ruling on Monday.  The decision paves the way for the state to carry out the executions of Donald Grant, 46, on Thursday and Gilbert Postelle, 35, on Feb. 17. The two have argued that the state’s current three-drug lethal injection protocol that uses midazolam as the first drug will expose them to a constitutionally unacceptable risk of severe pain.  But after a daylong hearing on that issue earlier this month, a federal judge in Oklahoma City determined the inmates were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their case and denied their request for a temporary stay of execution. The judge also determined that Grant and Postelle selected an alternative method of execution, firing squad, too late to be included in a separate lawsuit challeng

Frenchman gets 8 years in prison in Iran; denies spy charges

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PARIS (AP) — A Frenchman detained in Iran and hunger striking to protest his treatment has been sentenced to eight years in prison on what his lawyer insisted Tuesday are trumped up espionage and propaganda charges. Benjamin Brière, 36, was arrested in May 2020 after taking pictures in a desert area where photography is prohibited and asking questions on social media about Iran’s obligatory Islamic headscarf for women. Paris-based lawyer Philippe Valent said an Iranian revolutionary court has sentenced Brière to eight years in prison for espionage and eight months of imprisonment for anti-government propaganda. Under Iranian law, the longer part is applicable in practice. The lawyer said the charges are entirely without foundation. Brière began a hunger strike on Dec. 25 to protest mistreatment in the prison of the northeastern city of Mashhad where he is being detained. His sister, Blandine Brière, told The Associated Press “we are disheartened at such a huge sentence and also very a

USA | Business leaders call for abolition of the death penalty

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As Utah introduces a death penalty repeal bill, over 240 business leaders from all over the world continue their call for death penalty abolition. Lawmakers in Utah are getting ready to take up an historic Republican-led bill seeking to repeal the state’s death penalty and in conjunction, more than 240 business leaders have declared their opposition to capital punishment. As shared by the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ) , these business leaders have publicly denounced the death penalty as “irreconcilable with human dignity” and an “ineffective misallocation of public resources” - and have signed a declaration calling for its abolition everywhere. The Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty campaign was launched by Richard Branson last March and since then it has rallied some of the world’s most influential figures to help end the practice. Supporters of the campaign include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, Unile

Singapore | Drug mule Nagaenthran Dharmalingam’s death sentence appeal adjourned 'indefinitely'

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Singapore, Jan 24 (PTI) -- Indian-origin drug trafficker Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam’s appeal against his execution sentence, which was scheduled to be heard on Monday, has been adjourned indefinitely , according to a media report. Nagaenthran’s new lawyer Violet Netto had applied for the adjournment, The Straits Times newspaper reported on Monday. Nagaenthran, 33, of Indian-origin and Malaysian citizenship, is appealing against a High Court decision denying him permission to start judicial review proceedings to challenge the death sentence. No new hearing date has been fixed, according to The Straits Times report. The hearing was slated to be heard by a five-judge panel comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Justices Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash, Belinda Ang and Chao Hick Tin. Nagaenthran has also asked the court to exercise its power to have him assessed by psychiatrists for mental fitness.  Nagaenthran was arrested in 2009 with heroin strapped to his thigh. He was convicted of