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Showing posts from October, 2007

FEATURED POST

Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Earl Berry: stay of execution

Earl Wesley Berry, a Mississippi death row inmate, received a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, adding to a series of reprieves since the justices last month agreed to rule on the lethal injection method.

Source : REUTERS/Mississippi Department of Corrections

Seeks pen-pals / Cherche correspondants

My name is Anthony Neal Washington.
I am 48 years old. I weight 185lbs solid. I stand 5'8" tall.
I have hazel eyes and a pretty light skin complexion.
I have various interests as writing, sports, and music to name a few.
I currently have a death sentence. I beg you not to judge me. I am honest, good hearted, caring and non-judgmental.

I am really looking for a good friend or pen-pal to write - who is caring and understanding - so if you are interested please feel free to drop me a few lines at any time.
Until then God bless you all and thank for your time.

Anthony Washington
075465
P.6103
Union Correctional Institution
7819 N.W. - 288th Street
RAIFORD - FLORIDA
32026-4420 - USA

Breaking news out of Arkansas October 30, 2007

In 1994, 3 teenagers in the small city of West Memphis, Ark., were convicted of killing 3 8-year-old boys in what prosecutors portrayed as a satanic sacrifice involving sexual abuse and genital mutilation. So shocking were the crimes that when the teenagers were led from the courthouse after their arrest, they were met by 200 local residents yelling, "Burn in hell."

But according to long-awaited new evidence filed by the defense in federal court on Monday, there was no DNA from the 3 defendants found at the scene, the mutilation was actually the work of animals and at least 1 person other than the defendants may have been present at the crime scene.

Supporters of the defendants hope the legal filing will provide the defense with a breakthrough. 2 of the men, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, are serving life in prison, while one, Damien W. Echols, is on death row. There was no physical evidence linking the teenagers, now known as the West Memphis 3, to the crime.

"This …

Indonesian court rejects challenge to death penalty by drug trio

The three from the so-called "Bali Nine" gang attempted to argue their death sentences violated the section of the Indonesian constitution guaranteeing the right to life.

However, the Constitutional Court of Indonesia ruled on Tuesday that the sentences were not unconstitutional.

The three - Scott Rush, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan - can still appeal against their death sentences.

The Bali Nine - eight men and one woman - were arrested in Bali in April 2005 while trying to smuggle more than 8.2kg of heroin to Australia.

Three other members of the group were sentenced to death, but were not included in the petition.

Two members were given life sentences and the only woman in the group is serving 20 years in prison.

Indonesia imposes the death sentence for many narcotics offences.

Source : Radio New Zealand

Iran: imminent execution of Makwan Moloudzadeh, 21 years old

Child offender Makwan Moloudzadeh, an Iranian Kurd, is believed to be at risk of imminent execution. He has reportedly been convicted of lavat-e iqabi (anal sex) for the alleged rape of a 13-year-old boy. Makwan Moloudzadeh was aged 13 at the time of the alleged offence... For more information please visit http://www.irqo.net/

ABA: Freeze executions nationwide

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Serious problems in state death penalty systems compromise fairness and accuracy in capital punishment cases and justify a nationwide freeze on executions, the American Bar Association says.

Problems cited in a report released Sunday by the lawyers' organization include:

Spotty collection and preservation of DNA evidence, which has been used to exonerate more than 200 inmates;

Misidentification by eyewitnesses;

False confessions from defendants; and

Persistent racial disparities that make death sentences more likely when victims are white.

The report is a compilation of separate reviews done over the past three years of how the death penalty operates in eight states: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Teams that studied the systems in Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania did not call for a halt to executions in those states. But the ABA said every state with the death penalty should review its execution procedures before putting…

Australian may face Bali death sentence

A former Australian airline executive could face the death penalty if he is convicted of drug trafficking in Bali.

Barry Wilfred Hess, 50, faced Denpasar District Court on Wednesday for the first time since his arrest two months ago on the Indonesian resort island.

Prosecutors upgraded their charges against the former Ansett manager to include trafficking, which carries the death penalty.

He has been charged under the same article used in the Bali Nine heroin smuggling case. Six of the nine Australians involved are now on death row.

Hess, formerly of Melbourne, was arrested in August near his Kuta home after police discovered 14.4 grams of hashish and 2.7g marijuana.

"The primary charge is that the defendant ... on August 19 tried to offer for selling, distributing, handing over, or to become a broker in a drug deal," the indictment read to the court said.

"The drugs squad searched his body, his things, his house and the officers found in a table drawer in his room a plastic …

Islamic Republic of Iran's punishment code on Homosexuality

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Complete Text of the Iranian Law on Homosexuality

Part Two: The Hadd of Lavat

Chapter One: The Definition of Lavat

Article 108: Lavat is an act of congress [vati] between males whether in [the form of] penetration or of tafkhiz (the rubbing of thighs/of the penis against thighs).
Article 109: Both the active and passive partners to lavat are subject to the hadd [punishment].
Article 110: The hadd [punishment] for lavat where penetration has occurred is death and the method of execution is at the discretion of the Sharia judge.
Article 111: Lavat is punishable by death so long as both the active and passive partners are mature, of sound mind, and have acted of free will.
Article 112: If a mature man commits an act of lavat with a minor the active partner [i.e. mature man] will be executed and the passive partner will, unless he has acted under duress, receive up to 74 lashes of the whip.
Article 113: Whenever a minor commits an act of congress [vati: i.e. whether penetrative or in the form of …

Lethal Injection Controversy Rises to National Importance with Stays of Execution

With the stays of execution in Virginia on October 17 and in Georgia on October 18, it appears likely that no more lethal injections will take place in this country until the U.S. Supreme Court renders a decision in Baze v. Rees, a case challenging the lethal injection process in Kentucky. Christopher Emmett in Virginia was granted a stay by the U.S. Supreme Court just hours before his execution. Jack Alderman's lethal injection was stayed by the Georgia Supreme Court a day before it was to occur. Stays have also been granted in numerous other states by other federal courts, by state courts, and by governors.

Source : Death Penalty Information Center

China : organs from executed inmates for relatives only

China will no longer transplant organs from executed prisoners except for their immediate relatives, state media reported on October 9 citing the Chinese Medical Association.

International rights groups have long accused China of harvesting organs from executed prisoners for transplant without either their or their family's consent.

Hospitals have also been regularly accused of secretly taking organs from road accident victims and other dead patients without telling relatives.

The government has denied such charges, saying most organs are voluntarily donated by ordinary citizens and executed criminals who gave consent before their death.

The Chinese Medical Association, an official body which represents nearly half a million doctors, promised at an international meeting in Europe last week to strengthen management of human organ transplants to ensure standards were implemented, the China Daily reported.

But it was unclear from the report if the association has the power to make sure…

Mali abolishes the death penalty

October 18, 2007: the Mali government announced it adopted a bill for the abolition of the death penalty. In a statement issued at the end of a cabinet meeting, the Government said under the bill, the death penalty will be replaced with life imprisonment.

Source: Agence France Presse, 18/10/2007

Iran: 8 men, 1 woman hanged in Tehran prison

October 17, 2007: Iranian authorities hanged eight men and a woman in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, state media reported.

Six of the men were identified by their first names Babak, Seddiq, Morteza, Kiyan, Behzad, and Hamid. Babak, 23, was sentenced to death for the murder by suffocation of his room-mate, which took place on 12 January 2002. It is unclear whether he was under 18 years of age at the time, or if either of two others convicted in the same case were under 18.

The woman was identified as Fakhteh Samadi, a 24 year old, who was sentenced to death for the murder of a man, aged 80, at his house. Fakhteh S reportedly worked as a caretaker at the man’s residence and was found by the court to have stolen some of his property. She alleged that he was trying to rape her when she stabbed him. The names of the other two men were not given. All nine were accused of murder.

Source: Iran Focus, Kurdish Aspect, 18/10/2007

Three more public hangings in Iran

Iran hanged three convicted rapists in public in the southern city of Shiraz, the latest in a spate of executions officials say are aimed at improving security in society.

The three men, identified as Vahid E, Mohammad A and Ahmad E were hanged in public for having abducted two women and raping them, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The local prosecutor Jaber Baneshi chose the occasion to urge women to dress in line with Iran's Islamic rules, saying women who did not cover their heads properly were more at risk from sexual predators.

"Badly veiled women are more likely to be the target of these crimes than others. The veil protects women and prevents society from heading towards corruption," he added.

Source: Times of India, 18/10/2007

U.S. Supreme Court stays execution amid lethal injection concerns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the pending execution of a Virginia man convicted of beating a co-worker to death in 2001 for drug money.

It's the latest in a number of executions the court has blocked recently amid questions about the constitutionality of lethal injection -- the primary method of execution in all states with the death penalty.

Christopher Scott Emmett killed co-worker John Langley during a botched robbery in Danville, Virginia, by beating him to death as he slept, then used his cash to buy crack cocaine, according to documents filed in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

He was set to die at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The Supreme Court order stays Emmett's execution pending final disposition of the appeal by the 4th Circuit. But if the 4th Circuit allows the execution to proceed, another round of appeals to the high court would be expected.

The Supreme Court had rejected an earlier stay of execution in June, before agreeing to hear Kentucky cases on the const…

IRAN: YOUNG WOMAN FACING EXECUTION

October 15, 2007: a young Iranian woman accused of killing an 80 year old man who allegedly held her prisoner in his home may be executed within days.

Fakhteh Samadi, a former law student, had to end her studies after her marriage failed. She was working as a career for an 80 year old man who allegedly held her captive and tried to rape her several times.

The woman claims to have suffered from deep depression and was deprived of medicines prescribed by her 'jailer'. After the umpteenth attempt to rape her, she hit his head with a metal object killing him.

According to medical experts who visited her in prison, Fakhteh was in a state of panic and reacted unconsciously. The court, without taking account of medical or legal opinion, condemned Fakhteh to death.

According to the woman's lawyer, Ali Najaftavana, Fakhteh has been told that her execution is imminent.

Source: Adnkronos, 15/10/2007

AFGHANISTAN: MORE EXECUTIONS SCHEDULED

October 17, 2007: Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to sign in the near future the death warrants of about 30 prisoners indicted for various crimes by the country's Supreme Court, Abdul Rasheed Rashid, a member of the Supreme Court Council, said.

The prisoners in question, all male, have been sentenced to death for homicide, armed robbery and other crimes by the Supreme Court, Rashid said, adding that the executions would be carried out by firing squad in the eastern outskirts of Kabul once President Karzai gives his approval.

An aide of President Karzai, who preferred anonymity, said Karzai was currently reviewing the Supreme Court's rulings "one-by-one".

Sources: Irin, 17/10/2007

Execution halted with 90 minutes to spare

CARSON CITY, Nevada (AP) -- A killer's execution was halted 90 minutes before he was set to die amid arguments from death penalty opponents that the state should wait until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews the constitutionality of lethal injections.

The Nevada Supreme Court issued the last-minute stay Monday for William Castillo, who beat Isabelle Berndt, 86, to death with a tire iron.

Castillo, 34, had declined to file appeals of his own and prison officials have said he was ready to die. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada appealed to halt any executions in the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed September 25 to review the method of lethal injection used by most states. The high court will hear a challenge early next year from two inmates in Kentucky who claim that lethal injection as practiced by that state amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Executions in at least 10 states have been halted as a result of the litigation over l…

A matter of life and death

According to “A Matter of Life or Death,” a recent four-part news series published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , Georgia's death penalty is “as predictable as a lightning strike.” Based on an investigation of 2,328 murder convictions in Georgia between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2004, the paper determined that the state's capital punishment system is unfairly shaped by racial and geographic bias, and fails to reserve the death penalty for “the worst of the worst.”

The AJC reporters worked with University of Maryland criminologist Ray Paternoster to examine the cases. Though their investigation determined that 1,315 of these cases involved crimes that made defendants eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors sought it in only 25% of those cases. Of those that faced a capital trial, only 1 in 23 was sentenced to death. “It's like a roulette wheel. Arbitrariness is a weakness of the death penalty,” observed former Georgia Chief Justice Norman Fletcher.

The key …

Che Guevara : 40 ans

Che Guevera relate, dans un passage de son journal de la guérilla censuré par les autorités cubaines, qu'il s'est porté volontaire pour réaliser la première exécution décidée par les guérilleros et qu'il a tiré une balle de revolver dans la tête d'un condamné. Devenu, après la victoire des barbudos, commandant en chef de la caserne havanaise de la Cabana, il a mis en œuvre plus du quart des six cents exécutions capitales de l'année 1959. Etait-il un superviseur lointain de cette tâche ou au contraire un chef s'acquittant d'un suivi de détail au jour le jour ? La question n'est pas tranchée.

Source : Dix controverses sur Che Guevara (LeMonde.fr)

Amnesty International Issues Lethal Injection Report

A new report released by Amnesty International, Execution by lethal injection - a quarter century of state poisoning, calls on medical professionals to refuse to participate in executions and details ongoing concerns about current lethal injection protocols that could result in inmates feeling excruciating pain during their executions. “Governments are putting doctors and nurses in an impossible position by asking them to do something that goes against their ethical oath. ... Medical professionals are trained to work for patients’ well-being, not to participate in executions ordered by the state. The simplest way of resolving the ethical dilemmas posed by using doctors and nurses to kill is by abolishing the death penalty,” said Jim Welsh, Amnesty International’s Health and Human Rights coordinator.

In addition to providing a thorough review of the lethal injections issue, the report details botched executions that were not performed by trained medical personnel. It also examines the t…

Troy Anthony Davis: Innocence Matters

Today we are writing to ask you to join us in a creative and fun effort to publicize the case of Troy Anthony Davis, a person on Georgia's death row who many of us believe to be innocent.

Troy was sentenced to die despite the fact that seven of the nine people who testified against him at trial have recanted their testimony. (An 8th "witness" is missing, while the ninth is thought to be the real killer. No physical evidence whatsoever tied Troy to the crime.)

Troy has an important appeal before the Georgia Supreme Court this fall in his quest to secure a new trial. He narrowly escaped execution earlier this summer.
Today we are asking you to take part in the Troy Davis Innocence Matters Video Project
October 9th is Troy Anthony Davis' birthday and in celebration of this occasion we're asking all of his supporters worldwide to send him a video birthday message and to post that message on YouTube.

The Troy video project is simple. Using a webcam, camera phone, camcorde…

Court of Criminal Appeals Decision Signals Likely Shutdown of Executions in Texas

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a stay of execution to Heliberto Chi, following the U.S. Supreme Court's lead after it decided to review Kentucky's lethal injection procedures. Chi was scheduled to be executed on October 3. Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense said that the stay signals a probable slowdown, if not a complete shutdown, of executions in Texas until the Supreme Court issues a decision in the lethal injection case. Andrea Keilen, executive director of the Texas Defender Service, said she was encouraged "that the Texas Court did the right thing instead of waiting for another mandate from the Supreme Court." Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Steven Conder said he was not surprised by the court's decision in light of the Supreme Court's consideration of the issue.

Prior to the Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in the case, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to grant Chi relief, and Texas Governor Rick Pe…