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Showing posts from June, 2008

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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

TEXAS: impending execution

Days from execution, inmate pins hopes on woman's story


Lester Bower, at the Polunsky Unit in East Texas, has been on death row since 1984. He acknowledges meeting 2 of the victims on the day they died but has denied involvement in their slayings.

Witness says condemned man isn't responsible for 1983 slayings

Since 1984, Lester Leroy Bower Jr. has sat on Texas death row, convicted for the 1983 massacre of 4 men in a Sherman airplane hangar.

The Arlington man now faces execution on July 22, and as time runs out, his lawyers are fighting to save his life by trying to prove he was not the killer after all.

One key witness, a woman who came forward years ago, says it was her then-boyfriend and 3 other drug dealers who were responsible for the slayings.

Though a prosecutor says she is certain that the right man has been convicted, Bowers lawyers say their investigation has verified key details of the woman's story.

But for Bower, will it be too late?

-----------------------------------…

The Murky Evidence for and Against Deterrence

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Although the Supreme Court banned capital punishment for child rape last week, the justices have made it clear that for homicide, states may inflict the ultimate penalty. Last month, capital punishment resumed after a seven-month moratorium. Rapid scheduling of executions followed the Supreme Court's ruling in Baze v. Rees, reaffirming the constitutionality of the death penalty in general and lethal injection in particular.

To support their competing conclusions on the legal issue, different members of the court invoked work by each of us on the deterrent effects of the death penalty. Unfortunately, they misread the evidence.

Justice John Paul Stevens cited recent research by Wolfers (with co-author John Donohue) to justify the claim that "there remains no reliable statistical evidence that capital punishment in fact deters potential offenders." Justice Antonin Scalia cited a suggestion by Sunstein (with co-author Adrian Vermeule) that "a significant body of recent ev…

Die-in de Paris

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Le "die-in" organisé chaque année à Paris pour demander l'abolition de la peine de mort aux Etats-Unis et dans le reste du monde aura lieu le

2 juillet 2008

à18 heures

Place de la Concorde(Paris)

face à l'ambassade des Etats-Unis.

Warden on death penalty: "This is wrong"

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TALLAHASSEE — Murderer Pedro Medina was strapped into "Old Sparky" shortly after midnight on March 25, 1997, at Florida State Prison.
Warden Ron McAndrew stood nearby as a guard placed a wet sponge to conduct more than 2,000 volts of electricity onto Medina's shaved head. The executioner pulled the switch. Within seconds, an arm's length from McAndrew, 6-inch flames leaped out the side of the mask on Medina's head. The cramped chamber immediately filled with smoke and a putrid, acrid odor. The executioner, wearing oversize insulated gloves that protect linemen working on electrical wires, sought advice from the warden. "He looked at me with this big question on his face, and he said, 'Continue?' " McAndrew recalled recently. "I said, 'Continue. Continue.' There's no way we could stop at that point." Medina's searing death and two executions before it led McAndrew down an unlikely path since he quit prison work: …

Iran condemns 'Israeli spy' to death

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran has sentenced to death a man found guilty of spying for Israel, state media reported Monday. Tehran's Revolutionary Court convicted Ali Ashtari, 45, of spying for Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, in exchange for money, the news agencies said. According to Ashtari's "confession," published by the news agency Fars, Ashtari was a salesman who obtained high-end but security-compromised electronic equipment from Mossad and sold them to military and defense centers in Iran. During the trial prosecutors displayed spying tools that Mossad had allegedly provided, Iranian Student's News Agency said. Ashtari can appeal his verdict, the Islamic Republic News Agency said. Iran and Israel have been engaged in an escalating war of words. Iran accuses Israel of trying to destabilize the republic. Israel has not ruled out military action to halt Iran's nuclear aspirations.Source: CNN.com

Florida prepares for 1st execution since foul up

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Florida's new procedure for lethal injections could be tested Tuesday when executioners strap down a condemned inmate for the 1st time since a botched execution.

Mark Dean Schwab, 39, is scheduled to die exactly 16 years after he was sentenced in the 1991 kidnapping, rape and murder of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez.

Florida officials say they have resolved problems with the December 2006 execution of Angel Diaz when needles were accidentally pushed through his veins, causing the lethal chemicals to go into his muscles instead, delaying his death for 34 minutes - twice as long as normal. Some experts said that would cause intense pain.

Then-Gov. Jeb Bush stopped all executions after Diaz was killed, but Florida and other states were also held up as they waited for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule the three-drug method of lethal injection used by Kentucky was constitutional. 34 other states, including Florida, use a
similar method.

Florida's new procedure requires the warden to make …

China: six executed for drug related crimes

June 26, 2008: six people were executed in Yunnan and Henan provinces, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region for dealing in large quantities of drugs in three separate cases, the Chinese Supreme People's Court (SPC) said.

In one case, Han Yongwan and Duan Biwu were involved in smuggling, trading and transporting more than 775 kg of heroin from February 2001 to September 2005, along the border areas of Myanmar, and Yunnan and Guangdong provinces. Under the law, dealing in a minimum of 50 g of heroin warrants the death penalty in some provinces of China. The amount differs in other provinces.

In the second case, Gao Guoliang and Li Yongwang were found to have produced nearly 9.8 kg of 'magu', a new type of drug. It is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine.

The haul was seized in Henan province in 2006.

In the third case, He Jianjun and Zhang Fuyou were both repeat offenders. They trafficked 604 g of heroin from January to March 2007 in Nanning, capital of Guangxi.

KUWAIT ROYAL'S DEATH SENTENCE CONFIRMED

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June 24, 2008: Kuwait's Supreme Court upheld a death sentence against a member of the emirate's ruling Al-Sabah family for drug trafficking.

The sentence against the royal, named only as Sheikh Talal, was already upheld by an appeals court in December. The final decision can only be carried out after being signed by the emir, who also has the right to commute it.

The appeals court also confirmed a life term against three accomplices, a stateless Arab, a Bangladeshi and an Indian. Two others, a Lebanese and an Iraqi, were sentenced to seven years in jail each. It is not clear if those rulings were revised by the Supreme Court.

Police arrested the group in April 2007 and seized a large drugs haul, including at least 10kg of cocaine and 120kg of hashish.

Source: The Age, 24/06/2008

More on the death penalty in Kuwait

Japan: Fear of imminent execution

MAKINO Tadashi (m), born 1950

Makino Tadashi, who lost his final appeal on 29 May, was in danger of execution in June, when a new round of executions was expected to take place.

Three men were hanged on 17 June, but Makino Tadashi was not among them. He remains on death row.

Source: Amnesty International

CHINA EXECUTES THREE FOR DRUG DEALING

June 25, 2008: China executed three drug dealers and sentenced five more to death on the eve of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the state media reported.

Among the executed was a drug dealer from Taiwan, Tseng Fu-wen, who was executed in the eastern province of Fujian after the country's apex court approved a lower court's sentence against him.

A Shanghai court handed down sentences in four drug trafficking cases on June 23, giving capital punishment in three of them.

"As the number and scale of drug dealing cases have been increasing in recent years, the court has raised its strength to crack down," Zhang Zhijie, Deputy Chief Judge of the Second Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai Municipality, was quoted as saying by official Xinhua news agency.

Two others were sentenced to death by the Intermediate People's Court at Shenzhen in Guangdong province which pronounced sentences in seven cases, it said.

Sources: chinaview.cn, 24…

Iran: Execution of Minors Opposed

The European Union urged Iran not to execute a teenager who was convicted of committing a murder when he was 15. Contending that executing minors violated Iran’s international obligations and commitments, the European Union urged the government not to carry out the death sentence against Selah Taseh, who was born in 1992. It also called on Iran to halt plans to execute at least five other minors currently on death row. Under Iran’s laws in effect since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the crimes of murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, homosexuality and drug trafficking are all punishable by death.

Source: The New York Times

Missouri schedules July 30 execution

A northern Missouri methamphetamine dealer is set to be the state’s first inmate put to death since October 2005.

The Missouri Supreme Court today set a July 30 execution date for John C. Middleton, who was convicted of killing two people in Mercer County in 1995.

Middleton, now 48, also was convicted in a separate case of killing a third person. He also received a death sentence in that case.

Prosecutors said Middleton killed the three to keep them from telling police about his methamphetamine operation.

Missouri has not executed an inmate since October 2005 when Marlin Gray was put to death.

Executions in the state and across the country had been put on hold while inmates raised legal questions about the constitutionality of the lethal injection method used in Missouri and most other capital punishment states.

But since April when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol, states have once again begun carrying out death sentences.

Nine men …

Penn & Teller on the Death Penalty (1/3)

The Texas Law of Parties Snares Another Innocent Man

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It only feels like only yesterday that people from all parts of the world were fighting to free Kenneth Foster from the deadly net only known to Texas called the "Law of Parties".

Kenneth Foster, Jr. (born October 22, 1976) was a prisoner formerly on death row in Texas. He was convicted of murdering Michael LaHood in August 1996. His conviction and execution were contested because he was convicted under a law of parties, not for physically committing the crime.

The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment only three hours before the execution was scheduled to take place on August 30, 2007. Kenneth Foster, Jr. will be eligible for parole in 2037. He is currently located at the Byrd Unit of the Texes Department of Justice to be reprocessed as a general population prisoner.

Though there may be some slight differences in their cases one fact stands out, just as Kenneth Foster, Jeff Wood did not physically commit the crime in question: murde…

Lawmakers vow to execute child rapists

Angry politicians vowed to keep writing laws that condemn child rapists to death, despite a Supreme Court decision saying such punishment is unconstitutional.

"Anybody in the country who cares about children should be outraged that we have a Supreme Court that would issue a decision like this," said Alabama Attorney General Troy King, a Republican. The justices, he said, are "creating a situation where the country is a less safe place to grow up."

The court's 5-4 decision Wednesday derailed the efforts of nearly a dozen states supporting the right to kill those convicted of raping a child and said execution was confined to attacks that take a life and to other crimes including treason and espionage.

At issue before the high court was a Louisiana case involving Patrick Kennedy, sentenced to die for raping his 8-year-old daughter in her bed, an assault so severe she required surgery.

In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that "the death penalty …

Indonesia executions a blow to Bali 3

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June 27, 2008

JAKARTA: Indonesia has executed two foreign drug traffickers, in a major blow for the three Australians on death row for heroin smuggling.

The first drug executions in four years came as Indonesia vowed to expedite the execution of the other traffickers on death row.

Nigerian nationals Hansen Anthony Nwaolisa, 40, and Samuel Iwuchukwu Okoye, 37, were shot by firing squad at midnight local time (3am AEST), Central Java police mobile brigade chief Colonel Dicky Atotoy said.

“At 0000 the execution was carried out on the two Nigerians,” he said.

“Before the execution they were blessed by two priests.

“They were handcuffed to poles, standing side by side and shot by two sniper squads.”

Nwaolisa was sentenced to death for trafficking 600 grams of heroin in 43 capsules which he had swallowed in Pakistan before arriving at Jakarta airport in January 2001.

Okoye was caught carrying 3.8kg of heroin in the lining of two pieces of luggage at Jakarta airport, after arriving from India, also …

Indonesia to speed up drug executions

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INDONESIA says it will speed up the execution process of drug traffickers, in a major blow for three Australians on death row for heroin smuggling.

As authorities prepared for the executions last night of 2 Nigerian heroin smugglers, Attorney-General Hendarman Supandji said other drug offenders on death row could expect their cases to be expedited.

The head of Indonesia's anti-drugs group also said executions must take place more quickly to deter traffickers.

"To give them a lesson, drug traffickers must be executed immediately," Police chief and National Anti-Narcotic Body chairman General Sutanto said.

"With a quick trial and execution process it will give a deterrent effect to the perpetrators, and perpetrators-to-be," he said.

The comments are a blow for the 3 Australians on death row over the failed Bali 9 plot to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin into Australiain 2005.

The Nigerians were expected to be the 1st drug offenders put to death in Indonesia …

Jindal vows to secure death sentence for child rape

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Washington, June 26 (IANS) Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal has said he will seek to enact laws that would invalidate a US Supreme Court ruling which struck down the death penalty for raping a child. “One thing is clear,” said Republican Jindal, “the five members of the court who issued the opinion do not share the same standards of decency as the people of Louisiana.”
In a 5-4 decision Wednesday, the top US court ruled as unconstitutional a Louisiana law that permits the death penalty for people convicted of raping children younger than 12. Louisiana had the only two inmates in the country facing death for raping a child.
Besides Jindal, the first Indian American chief executive of a US state, the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, have also opposed the ruling.
McCain said it was “profoundly disturbing” that “there is a judge anywhere in America, who does not believe that the rape of a child represents the most heinous of crimes, which is …

Anger and Restraint

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For the law to be just, it must temper society’s anger over even the most horrible acts with decency and restraint. The Supreme Court exemplified that principle on Wednesday, striking down the death penalty for the rape of a child. While acknowledging the horror of the crime, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion drew on widely shared standards of decency, constitutional law and real-world impact to explain why the Constitution forbids punishing it with death.

The 5-to-4 ruling also laid down a critical standard: in cases of crimes against individuals (which excludes treason and espionage) the death penalty can be applied only when the victim’s life is taken. That rule should deter efforts to extend the use of capital punishment.

Justice Kennedy wrote that defendant Patrick Kennedy’s rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter was an act “that cannot be recounted in these pages in a way sufficient to capture in full the hurt and horror inflicted.” But the Eighth Amendment, he noted, requir…

Obama disagrees with high court on child rape case

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Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday he disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision outlawing executions of people who rape children, a crime he said states have the right to consider for capital punishment.

"I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes," Obama said at a news conference. "I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that that does not violate our Constitution."

The court's 5-4 decision Wednesday struck down a Louisiana law that allows capital punishment for people convicted of raping children under 12,saying it violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling spares the only people in the U.S. under sentence of death for that crime -- 2 Louisiana men …

Virginia executes its 100th inmate

Virginia's 100th execution in modern times was carried out tonight [June 25th, 2008].

Robert Stacy Yarbrough, 30, was pronounced dead at the GreensvilleCorrectional Center at 9:28 p.m. He died by injection.

Yarbrough was sentenced to die for the May 8, 1997, capital murder of Mecklenburg County store owner Cyril H. Hamby, 77. Hamby was tied up and nearly decapitated with a knife during a robbery of the business he operated for more than 50 years.

Virginia is the 2nd state to execute 100 people since the U.S. SupremeCourt allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. Texas, with 406 executions, leads the country.

The 2 states account for nearly 1/2 of all executions carried out acrossthe U.S. since 1976. Virginia's 100th was marked by about 30 protesters holding a vigil in a field in front of the rural prison last night.

At 9 p.m., the scheduled execution time, the protesters took turns ringing a bell for each person executed in Virginia.

Anne Gray, a Richmond Quaker, said she comes e…

China executes three drug dealers

China has executed 3 drug dealers and sentenced at least 7 others to death, state media reported, on the eve of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The death penalties were among a series of harsh sentences handed down in more than 20 separate cases by courts from Shanghai in the east to Shenzhen in the south, the Xinhua news agency said.

Among the 3 executed in southeastern Fujian province was a drug dealer from Taiwan, identified as Tseng Fu-wen, it said.

"As the number and scale of drug dealing cases have been increasing in recent years, the court has raised its strength to crack down," the report quoted Zhang Zhijie, deputy chief judge at Shanghai's Second Intermediate People's Court, as saying.

Zhang was speaking after his court handed down 3 death sentences,including 1 for an unemployed man caught with 3.5kg of drugs, Xinhua said.

2 other death sentences were handed down at a court in Shenzhen on Monday, it said.

It did not specify…

USA: Supreme Court rejects death penalty for raping children

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a law that allows the execution of people convicted of a raping a child.

In a 5-4 vote, the court said the Louisiana law allowing the death penalty to be imposed in such cases violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. His 4 liberal colleagues joined him, while the 4 more conservative justices dissented.

There has not been an execution in the United States for a crime that did not also involve the death of the victim in 44 years.

Patrick Kennedy, 43, was sentenced to death for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter in Louisiana. He is 1 of 2 people in the United States, both in Louisiana, who have been condemned to death for a rape that was not also accompanied by a killing.

The Supreme Court banned executions for rape in 1977 in a case in which the victim was an adult woman.

45 st…

Virginia: Robert Stacy Yarbrough set to die by lethal injection

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The nation's second busiest death chamber is preparing for a grim milestone.

Unless the courts or Gov. Timothy M. Kaine intervene, Robert Stacy Yarbrough, 30, will die by lethal injection Wednesday night at the Greensville Correctional Center, becoming the 100th person executed in Virginia since capital punishment was reinstated three decades ago.

Virginia ranks second in modern-era executions to Texas, which has had 406. But a decreasing number of death sentences, a dwindling death row and the state's changing political climate could allow others to surpass Virginia.

Oklahoma isn't far behind with 86 executions. Missouri and Florida also have put more than 60 inmates to death.

"I think five years from now Virginia won't be in that position," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. "It will still have the death penalty and it will still be executing people, but one or two a year perhaps."

Fiv…

SAUDI ARABIA: MAN BEHEADED BY SWORD FOR MURDER

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June 21, 2008: a Saudi Arabian man was beheaded by the sword afterbeing convicted of killing a compatriot.

Deyab bin Dhahawial-Shimmari was found guilty of shooting dead Mansur bin Saad al-Ajmiduring in a fight, said a statement carried by the official SPA newsagency. He was executed in the region of Riyadh.
Source : Agence France Presse, 21/06/2008

Pakistan clears death row in Bhutto tribute

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Pakistani officials commemorated Benazir Bhutto's birthday Saturday with plans to rename an airport after the former prime minister, build a monument on the site of her assassination and grant clemency to thousands of death row inmates.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced the measures in a speech to Parliament, which observed a minute of silence for the slain leader, who would have turned 55 Saturday.

Bhutto, who was head of the Pakistan People's Party, was assassinated in a bombing and shooting attack outside a December election rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi. The country was stunned by her death, and Bhutto's party went on to win February elections and form the new governing coalition.

Her birthday was marked in low-key ceremonies at her mausoleum in the town of Naudero, where dozens of somber supporters gathered to offer prayers. Some carried large portraits of Bhutto and demanded the arrest of her killers. Her widower and successor as party leader, Asif …

South Carolina executes man in electric chair

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MIAMI (Reuters) - South Carolina on Friday electrocuted a man for murdering his ex-girlfriend's parents in 1994, the second execution in the state since a Supreme Court ruling lifted a de facto national moratorium, a state official said.

James Earl Reed, 49, was convicted in 1996 of shooting Joseph and Barbara Lafayette multiple times, including execution-style shots in the heads, after they refused to tell him where their daughter was. He had dismissed his attorney during his trial and tried to defend himself in court.

"The execution of James Earl Reed was carried out at 11:27 p.m.," state prison spokesman Josh Gelinas said.

The execution had been scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT but was halted at the last minute and delayed for nearly 5 1/2 hours while lawyers made final appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately cleared the way for the execution.

Reed became the eighth person to be put to death in the United States since the high court in April rejected a legal challenge to t…

Time Runs Out for Execution in Texas

HOUSTON — A day of desperate filings climaxed at midnight on Wednesday when prison officials ran out of time to carry out the execution of a Texas death row inmate who had lost his last-minute bids for a stay.

Gov. Rick Perry then immediately issued a one-time 30-day reprieve, according to The Houston Chronicle.

The inmate, Charles Hood, was shuttled to the death chamber several times as prosecutors, defense lawyers, the United States Supreme Court and Texas courts exchanged more than a dozen appeals and rulings throughout the night.

"We've had a lot of cases in Texas that defy common sense, but this does reach a new low," said Andrea Keilen, executive director of the Texas Defender Service.

The controversy started last week when lawyers for Mr. Hood accused the presiding judge and the lead prosecutor of having had a romantic relationship in 1990 during Mr. Hood's double murder trial.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Hood's lawyers petitioned the Collin County District …

Iran: two hanged

June 16, 2008: Iran hanged a man convicted of a string of offences including membership of a rebel group and being Mohareb, an Islamic legal term for an "enemy of God," the Fars news agency reported.

Ali Reza Barahuwi was sent to the gallows in a prison in the southeastern city of Zahedan for membership of the Sunni militant group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), for taking part in two bombings, and the murder of two people.

On the same day, Younes Rahmandust was hanged in a prison in the port city of Chabahar, in south eastern Iran, after being convicted as a Mohareb, an 'enemy of god.'
No further details were provided according to Fars news agency.

Source: Agence France Presse, 16/06/2008

Report: Exams reveal abuse, torture of detainees

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former terrorist suspects detained by the United States were tortured, according to medical examinations detailed in a report released Wednesday by a human rights group.

The Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights reached that conclusion after two-day clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees, who had been held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan.

The detainees were never charged with crimes.

"We found clear physical and psychological evidence of torture and abuse, often causing lasting suffering," said Dr. Allen Keller, a medical evaluator for the study.

In a 121-page report, the doctors' group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses.

The report is prefaced by retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the Army's investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2003…

Iran: 114 on death row in Iran for crimes committed as minors

Iran has sentenced 177 people under the age of 18 to death over the past decade and has executed nearly 3 dozen of them, a human rights group said Tuesday.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran published on its Web site a list of the 114 minors who still remain in prison awaiting execution, some of whom are now older than 18. The youngest person on the list was a 12-year-old boy sentenced by a court in 2005. The group did not specify what crime he was convicted of.

Aaron Rhodes, a spokesman for the group in Vienna, Austria, said the campaign has called on the international community to take steps to press Iran to abolish the executions.

Rhodes said many of the death sentences were based on confessions obtained from defendants under torture or interrogations in which they had no access to a lawyer.

Iranian judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told reporters in Tehran on Thursday that "there are no executions of individuals under the age of 18 in Iran."

But Jamshidi m…

Oklahoma: Terry Lyn Short executed

McALESTER (AP) - An Oklahoma man convicted of killing a university student from Japan by throwing a firebomb into his apartment complex has been put to death.

Terry Lyn Short was injected with a lethal combination of three chemicals Tuesday evening at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie says Short was pronounced dead at 6:08 p.m.

The 47-year-old Short was the first person executed in Oklahoma since Aug. 21, when Frank Duane Welch was executed for the killing of a Norman woman.

Executions had been put on hold across the country for part of the 10 months in between as the U.S. Supreme Court considered a challenge to the lethal injection procedure.

Short was convicted of killing 22-year-old Ken Yamamoto in 1995. Yamamoto lived one floor above Short's ex-girlfriend and died after Short threw a gasoline-filled bottle into her apartment that ignited the building.

Source: Associated Press

TEXAS: state misses execution deadline

Texas halted the scheduled execution of a former topless club bouncer for a double slaying almost 20 years ago as time ran out.

Prison officials were faced with a midnight CDT deadline Tuesday to administer the lethal drugs to Charles Dean Hood but feared they could not follow the proper procedures in time after lengthy appeals delayed the scheduled punishment.

Hood would have been the 2nd Texas prisoner executed in as many weeks.

Hood was arrested in his native Indiana the day after the 1989 slayings of Ronald Williamson and Tracie Lynn Wallace at Williamson's home in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

Source: Associated Press

Japan Executes 3 for Murders

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: June 17, 2008 TOKYO (AP) — Japan executed three murderers on Tuesday, including a serial killer, Tsutomu Miyazaki, who mutilated the bodies of four young girls in the late 1980s.Mr. Miyazaki, 45, was hanged at a detention center in Tokyo, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said.Mr. Miyazaki had burned the body of one 4-year-old and left her bones on her parents’ doorstep. He also wrote letters to the media and victims’ families taunting the police. Japanese newspaper reports said he ate part of the hand of one of his victims and drank her blood.The two others executed Tuesday were Shinji Mutsuda, 45, who had been on death row for the murder and robbery of two people, and Yoshio Yamasaki, 73, who was convicted of killing two people for the insurance money, Kyodo News agency reported.Japan, one of the few industrialized countries with capital punishment, has now hanged 13 death-row inmates in the past six months.Source: The New York Times

Costs for New California Death Row Soar to $400 Million

A recent audit of the construction costs for a new death row facility at California’s San Quentin prison revealed that estimates have soared over 80% from previous projections.

Ground still has not been broken for the project, but the new death row is likely to require nearly $400 million, instead of the $220 million originally quoted, and it will provide even fewer cells than planned.

As an average of 12 new condemned inmates arrive at San Quentin annually, the new facility will be full only three years after it opens. The lethal injection chamber at San Quentin has already been renovated at a cost of $750,000. The new construction is projected to cost over half a million dollars per cell (more than double the original estimate).

“I think this report is a bombshell,” said Assemblyman Jared Huffman. “They simply want to build a massive monolith to house all our condemned inmates on the most expensive piece of real estate in Northern California.” Assemblyman Juan Arambula cal…

Texas Inmate Says Judge and Prosecutor Had Affair

HOUSTON — Lawyers for a Texas inmate facing execution next week filed court papers on Thursday accusing the judge at his double-murder trial of having an affair with the prosecutor.

The papers, filed in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, argue that the relationship between the judge, Verla Sue Holland, and the man who was district attorney of Collin County, Tom O’Connell, should nullify the conviction of the inmate, Charles Hood, in 1990.

The filing says that Judge Holland had a “personal and direct interest in the outcome of the case” and that “the wall of silence that has long protected Judge Holland must now come down.”

“Under these circumstances,” Gregory Wiercioch, Mr. Hood’s lead lawyer, said in an interview, “Judge Holland had a clear duty to let the parties know about her relationship and to recuse herself, because anybody knowing these facts would be shocked that she presided over this capital murder trial.”

Neither Mr. O’Connell, 66, who has practiced law in Plano after retiri…