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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

The Machinery of Death Is Back on the Docket

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Two Supreme Court cases this fall pose hard questions about the death penalty.
"From this day forward,” Justice Harry Blackmun announced in 1994, “I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” Blackmun had voted to restore the death penalty and even to approve mandatory death sentences. But after 25 years, he said, “I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed … the problems that were pursued down one hole with procedural rules and verbal formulas have come to the surface somewhere else, just as virulent and pernicious as they were in their original form.”
Another quarter-century has passed, and the machinery of death chugs on, patched with judicial duct tape and legislative Crazy Glue. States have adopted new “more humane” execution methods (which sometimes require them to acquire lethal drugs on the black market); Congress has made it nearly impossible for federal courts to help most state death defendants. …

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Nomination Is in Big Trouble

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A day after Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser came forward and identified herself as a fifty-one-year-old psychology professor named Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court appears to be in serious jeopardy. Although neither the conservative federal judge nor the White House has given any indication that Kavanaugh intends to drop out, the path to his confirmation now looks much more challenging, and it is one that contains great peril for the Republican Party.
On Monday morning, a lawyer for Ford, who claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during the early nineteen-eighties, at a high-school party in suburban Maryland, said that the accuser would be willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth,” the lawyer, Debra Katz, said, on the “Today” show. Katz described the alleged attack as an “attempted rape,” adding, “If it were not for the severe intoxication of Brett Kavanaugh, she would ha…

Alabama: Jurors chose life without parole for man convicted in Jefferson County field slaying

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A man was convicted of capital murder this morning and jurors sentenced him to life in prison.
Patrick Logan, 43, was convicted of capital murder during the course of a robbery. Jurors began deliberating Friday afternoon, and returned the verdict just after 9 a.m. Monday in Jefferson County Circuit Judge Stephen Wallace's courtroom.
The sentencing phase began around 10:45 a.m., where jurors heard from both prosecution and defense witnesses before deciding that Logan should spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
For Logan to have been sent to death row, at least 10 of the 12 jurors must have agreed. A simple majority is needed for a life sentence, and Logan's jurors were unanimously in favor of life without parole.
When the sentence was announced, Logan shook his head negatively and (sighed).  
Logan and his girlfriend Jana Nicole Friese were both arrested in June 2015 in the death of 42-year-old Rodney Allen Canterberry. He was found shot to death the morn…

Judge to decide on Nevada’s execution drug lawsuit this week

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Drug companies could encounter backlash and risk hurting their growth in the medical industry if their products are used in an execution, a pharmaceutical industry expert testified Monday.
Sean Nicholson of the National Bureau of Economic Research listed ways drug companies could be harmed if their products were used to put Nevada prisoner Scott Dozier to death, wrapping up a hearing in a lawsuit over the state’s capital punishment cocktail.
The potential damages he listed included investors selling off shares, profit losses and a loss of opportunities to license and develop with other firms. 
A botched execution could prolong negative media coverage focused on the companies, he said.
Assistant Solicitor General Jordan Smith, who represents the Nevada Department of Corrections, asked Nicholson how he knew harm would occur if most of the general population supports the death penalty.
“Because of the polarizing nature of it,” Nicholson responded, adding that the medical industry strong…

Death penalty demanded for West Jakarta drug dealer

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Prosecutors in West Jakarta District Court have demanded the death penalty for drug-dealing suspect Samsul Anwar, 32.
“The demand was the death penalty,” West Jakarta District Court intelligence division head Edy Subhan confirmed on Monday, as reported by tempo.co.
He said the demand was read out in the court last Wednesday, when prosecutors accused Samsul of selling 13 kilograms of liquid meth at the MG International Club in Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta.
Samsul’s case began when the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and police raided the club on Dec. 17 last year where they arrested five suspects namely Wastam, 43, Ferdiansyah, 23, Dedi Wahyudi, 40, Mislah, 45, and Fadly, 40, as well as Samsul — the suspected coordinator of the group.
The club’s owner Agung Ashari, alias Rudi, is still on the run.
Authorities also seized several unlabeled, empty 330ml water bottles, suspected of being drug containers and found three rooms on the fourth floor believed to be used for drug production. 
Ea…

Supreme Court stays death penalty of man convicted in rape-murder of 4-year-old in Madhya Pradesh

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Madhya Pradesh recently enacted a new anti-rape law that awards death penalty to those convicted of raping girls aged 12 or less.
The Supreme Court Tuesday stayed the execution of death sentence of a man convicted in rape and murder of a four-year-old in Madhya Pradesh, news agency ANI reported.

Madhya Pradesh recently enacted a new anti-rape law that awards death penalty to those convicted of raping girls aged 12 or less.
According to ANI, the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Jabalpur bench in its judgment had sentenced the convict to death. 
Ever since the Bill was introduced in December last year, the state has witnessed 12 death sentences being awarded in rape cases of minors. 
The state government passed the Bill after the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report showed that MP witnessed the highest number of rape cases in the country in 2016. 
The minimum punishment, the Bill stated, would be a 14-year rigorous imprisonment or life term till death. This would go up to 20 ye…

Death penalty not ruled out for Texas border patrol agent accused of killing 4 women

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A U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with killing four women and abducting a fifth may face the death penalty — if the evidence stacks up.
There was a clear pattern to the murders allegedly committed by Juan David Ortiz — he took each of the women out to desolate areas near or just outside the limits of the city of Laredo, Texas, before allegedly killing them using a handgun, according to Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz.
Authorities said Ortiz knew the women — all believed to be sex workers — and targeted them for their vulnerability, amid fears of more deaths at his hands remaining undiscovered.
RELATED: Texas border patrol agent suspected of killing 4 women, abducting a fifth
Alaniz didn’t rule out prosecutors pursuing the death penalty for Ortiz, although he said it’s too early to tell because the crime is still being investigated and evidence compiled.
“At the appropriate time, we will make the decision on what final charges Ortiz will be facing,” Alaniz said. “There is …

US: Despite NH Loss, Support Growing for Death Penalty Repeal

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A majority of lawmakers in New Hampshire voted on Thursday in support of abolishing the death penalty, but fell 2 votes shy of overriding Governor Chris Sununu's veto of a repeal bill. Despite the outcome, observers and abolitionists say support for the cause is at a new high in the state, and continues to gain traction around the country.
New Hampshire's death penalty repeal bill passed through 2 Republican-controlled chambers; while state senators voted 14-10 in support of repealing on Thursday, 16 votes are required to override a gubernatorial veto.
"That shows real momentum and the bill will certainly be back next year," said the National Manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.
31 states still have death penalty laws still on the books; and 12 of those states either have an official moratorium on executions, or have had no executions in over a decade. Earlier this year, CCADP told The Crime Report the group was hopeful about repeal efforts in…

Nebraska: Convicted killer Anthony Garcia has been sentenced to death

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Convicted killer Anthony Garcia has been sentenced to death. That word came during an emotional afternoon in court Friday in which one of the judges involved in the case had to leave the courtroom. Judge Randall wheeled out of court
The sentencing of Garcia came to an abrupt halt as Judge Gary Randall, reviewing the case prior to sentence, paused, and stepped away from the bench saying he was in pain. "I apologize," the judge said as he left the courtroom.
Randall appeared moments away from issuing sentencing but stepped away from bench. He said it wasn't nerves, but pain. His breathing was labored for the last few minutes as he read.
Medics were called. They wheeled Judge Randall from the courtroom.
After a delay, the remaining 2 judges from the 3-judge panel resumed the proceedings. District Judge Rick Schreiner of Beatrice was on the bench. He made brief mention that Judge Randall's pain was related to a back issue but details are uncertain.
The sentencing order w…