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Showing posts from May, 2011

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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…

Torture on Death Row in Texas

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POLUNSKY UNIT - WELCOME TO HELL!

Texas' Death Row is a disgrace to the state of Texas. Click HERE to view 50 recent annotated pictures of the 'living' conditions on Texas' Death Row. These photos were provided by the State of Texas in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by attorney Yolanda Torres. They were then posted on Thomas Whitaker's blog, "Minutes Before Six". Mr. Whitaker is currently on Death Row in the state of Texas. _________________________
Use the tags below or the search engine at the top of this page to find updates, older or related articles on this Website.

Two beheaded for murder in Saudi Arabia

May 30, 2011: two men have been beheaded recently in Saudi Arabia for murder.
Ibrahim al-Muwis was executed on May 29 for the fatal stabbing of Sulaiman al-Saqr, also a Saudi, in Al-Ahsa in the east of the kingdom, the interior ministry announced in the state-run news agency SPA.
On May 27 Saudi Arabia beheaded a Sudanese man convicted of murdering a compatriot in the capital Riyadh, the interior ministry announced.
Sadiq Abdel Mullah was sentenced to death for the fatal stabbing of Ahmed Mohammed, it said, quoted by the state-run news agency SPA.
Source: AFP, May 27-29, 2011 _________________________ Use the tags below or the search engine at the top of this page to find updates, older or related articles on this Website.

Supreme Court Takes the "Radical" Stance That Prisoners Are Human Beings

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion to last week's Brown v. Plata decision, called the ruling “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.”  Since Scalia is the ultimate legal literalist, we presumably ought to take his written opinions literally. So what is this decision that the Court's most conservative justice finds more "radical" even than Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education? It is no less than the radical notion that prisoners are human beings, entitled to the most basic human rights even while incarcerated.
In rendering the majority opinion in the Plata case, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: "Prisoners retain the essence of human dignity inherent in all persons. Respect for that dignity animates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."
And cruel and unusual punishment is what California prisoners are receiving, according to the Supreme Cour…

Qatar: Man awaits execution after mercy plea rejected

15 years after he walked into a police station with a severed head and a blood-dripping sword in his hand, Mahendra Nath Das is set to be sent to the gallows with his mercy petition rejected by President Pratibha Patil.
Das, now aged 49, is lodged at the Jorhat Jail in eastern Assam where preparations being made for his execution.
“Already, we have started preparations for the execution, but we need to get a hangman from either Bihar or Uttar Pradesh as we don’t have anyone here in Assam,” a jail official said.
On April 24, 1996 around 7am Das entered the Fancy Bazar police outpost in the heart of Assam’s Guwahati city with a severed head and the weapon before placing it on the verandah. He was immediately arrested and a court in 1997 sentenced him to death.
Das, in a fit of anger, murdered 68-year-old Harakanta Das, then secretary of the Guwahati Truck Drivers Association while he was sipping his morning cup of tea at a roadside stall accompanied by at least half-a-dozen other acquaintan…

China: Food safety violators to face death penalty

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Beijing (CNN) -- Amid deepening public concerns over the country's food safety following a wave of recent scandals, China's highest court has ordered judges nationwide to hand down harsher sentences, including the death penalty, to people convicted of violating food safety regulations.
In a directive released by the state-run Xinhua news agency over the weekend, the Supreme People's Court said in cases where people die from food safety violations, convicted suspects should be given the death sentence, while criminals involved in non-lethal cases should face longer prison terms and larger fines.
It also called for harsher punishment for government officials found protecting food safety violators or accepting bribes from them.
"The overall food safety situation is stable and improving, but incidents that still occur regularly have seriously endangered people's lives and caused strong social reactions," the directive quoted Wang Shengjun, the country's top judg…

Nebraska Supreme Court issues stay of execution in the case of Carey Dean Moore

The Supreme Court of Nebraska has issued a stay of execution in the case of Carey Dean Moore, who was scheduled to be put to death on 14 June. The execution warrant has been withdrawn.
Carey Dean Moore’s lawyer filed an emergency motion in the Nebraska Supreme Court requesting a stay of execution on 17 May. He also filed a legal brief in a lower court raising certain challenges relating to the state’s lethal injection protocol, including concerns surrounding the state’s recent purchase of sodium thiopental from a company in India.
Nebraska was the last state in the USA to use electrocution as its sole execution method. In 2008, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that use of the electric chair violated the state’s constitution. In 2009, a bill providing for lethal injection in Nebraska passed into law. The state’s adoption of lethal injection has coincided with a national shortage of sodium thiopental – one of the three drugs used in such executions - and the decision in early 2011 by th…

Two men were hanged in western Iran this morning- 54 executions in the month of May

Iran Human Rights, May 29: Three days after executing 11 people, five of whom were hanged in public, Iranian authorities publicly hanged two prisoners in the city of Kermanshah (western Iran) this morning.
According to the official site of the Kermanshah Judiciary, two men were hanged on Azadi Square this morning. The men were identified as P. Mohammadi Poshtehrizeh, convicted of raping a 12-year-old boy, and A. Namaki, convicted of raping a 9-year-old girl. The charges have not been confirmed by independent sources.
According to official reports, Iranian authorities have executed at least 54 people in the month of May 2011.15 of the executions were carried out in public.
On May 26th five men were hanged in two different cities in Iran. One man was hanged in Qazvin, and a young civilian citizen was used to carry out the public execution.
It is believed that the Iranian authorities have increased the number of public executions to spread fear among Iranian citizens as the anniversary of th…

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

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To live or not to live?
That is THE question for the Danish government.
12 Lundbeck patients have already been killed in the US, 8 more Lundbeck patients are scheduled to be executed for the sole month of June 2011. Act Now!If you are a Danish citizen, why don’t you SEND A MESSAGE to Mr. Bertel Haarder, Minister of Interior and Health, in Copenhagen, to ask: How can a European pharmaceutical company be allowed to participate in the death trade with impunity?How much longer is the Danish government going to tolerate such a violation of European and ethical standards?How is the Danish government going to handle its presidency of the European Union in 2012 with regards to the death penalty?If you are not a Danish citizen, why don’t you send a message to the Danish Consular representative in your country to submit the same questions? You can find the relevant contact information per country HERE.
Be civil and courteous, insults and angry messages would be counterproductive and damaging.
Pent…

British writer Alan Shadrake to be jailed for book on death penalty in Singapore

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A British writer is set to serve a 6-week jail term for insulting Singapore's judiciary in a book about the death penalty in the city-state after a court on Friday rejected his appeal against the sentence and a fine.
The Court of Appeal allowed Alan Shadrake, author of Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, to undergo a medical check before starting his prison term on Wednesday, said his lawyer M Ravi.
In his book Shadrake, 76, accused Singapore's courts of succumbing to political influence and of favouring the rich over the poor, basing his allegations on interviews with a former executioner, human rights activists and police officers.
In addition to the jail term, Shadrake was fined 20,000 Singapore dollars (15,400 US dollars).
Based in Malaysia, Shadrake was arrested in Singapore in July following the launch of his book in the city-state.
Human Rights Watch condemned the court's decision.
'The prosecution of Alan Shadrake for doing nothing more than calling …

Serbia: Executions Were Mladic’s Signature, and Downfall

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With video cameras capturing the moment, Gen. Ratko Mladic’s bodyguards handed out chocolates to Bosnian Muslim children, promising terrified women that the violence was over.
“No one will be harmed,” the Bosnian Serb commander said on July 12, 1995, gently patting a young boy on the head. “You have nothing to fear. You will all be evacuated."
As he spoke, thousands of his soldiers formed a vast cordon around the town of Srebrenica, a United Nations-protected “safe area” that had just fallen to his forces. Over the next 10 days, his soldiers hunted down, captured and summarily executed 8,000 men and boys from the town. Women were raped. And pleas for restraint from the international community were mocked.
“Over 500 victims of the Srebrenica genocide were boys under the age of 18,” said Hasan Nuhanovic, a survivor from Srebrenica whose father, mother and brother were executed by Mr. Mladic’s forces. “They were 16, 17 years old when they were executed."
The mass executions around …

Iran hangs eight, five of them in public

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TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran has hanged eight men convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking, including five who were executed in public on Thursday, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The report said "serial killer" Mehdi Faraji, convicted of murdering five middle-aged women who boarded his minibus, was hanged in public in the city of Qazvin (graphic content), northwest of the capital Tehran.
Two more men, Hamid Ranjbar and Hamid Reza Baqeri, were also hanged in public after they were convicted of armed robbery and abduction. The two were executed in the southern city of Shiraz.
Another two, Masoud Dehqan and Mehdi Alipour, were hanged in public in the same city after being found guilty of rape, the report added.
In addition, two men convicted of drug trafficking were hanged on Thursday in a prison in the northern city of Sari, IRNA reported, quoting the city's prosecutor Asadollah Jafari. The report did not name the convicts.
Another man, meanwhile, was hange…

Young boy used to carry out public execution in Iran early this morning

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Iran Human Rights, May 26: A man was hanged in public in the city of Qazvin, west of Tehran, early this morning.
According to the official Iranian news agencies the man who was identified as "Mehdi Faraji" (37) was hanged in public, in the beginning of Qazvin’s "Isfahan street" early this morning.
Mehdi Faraji was convicted of murdering five women between May 2009 and March 2010.
This is the eighth public hanging that has taken in May 2011 in Iran.
According to our reports a young boy (minor) was used to draw the chair Mehdi was standing on and carry out the execution. The picture on the left shows the boy (arrow) while carrying out the execution.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights strongly condemned today’s execution and said : "These barbaric executions and using ordinary citizens, especially the minors to conduct these executions must be condemned by the world community". He added : "Iranian leaders must be held accountable …

Arizona executes Donald Beaty

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Convicted killer Donald Beaty was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday night after hours of legal delays in which his defense team fought to challenge a change in the drugs used to kill him.
Beaty, 56, was put to death at about 8 p.m. at Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence for the 1984 murder of 13-year-old Christy Ann Fornoff. Fornoff disappeared on the evening of May 9, 1984, while collecting money on her newspaper-delivery route at a Tempe apartment complex.
A string of last-minute state and federal appeals filed by Beaty's attorneys Wednesday focused on whether Arizona Department of Corrections officials could legally substitute the drug pentobarbital for sodium thiopental as part of the lethal 3-drug cocktail injected into Arizona's condemned prisoners, including Beaty.
8 hours of legal debate took place in 3 cities - Phoenix, Washington D.C. and San Francisco - before appeals were exhausted and final preparations were made for Beaty's execution.
In arguing for a …

Nebraska Supreme Court stays Moore's June 14 execution

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday staying what was to be the state's first execution using lethal injection, giving attorneys for Carey Dean Moore a chance to challenge one of the execution drugs on appeal.
Moore, 53, was scheduled in April to be executed June 14 for the 1979 slayings of two Omaha cabbies.
But the high court said in its two-page order that Moore can't be executed until his appeal in Douglas County District Court is resolved.
"The matter needs to be litigated in the post-conviction motion," Moore's attorney, Jerry Soucie, said. "Once that's done, the state and the defense will move on from there."
A message left Wednesday with the Nebraska Attorney General's Office wasn't immediately returned.
In the pending appeal, Moore challenged the state's purchase of one of the three drugs used in its lethal-injection protocol in district court. Soucie, has questioned the legality of Nebraska's p…

Denmark bans Marmite but not Danish execution drugs

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In response to reports that the Danish Government has banned Marmite, legal action charity Reprieve is calling for them to take real action against a Danish pharmaceutical company which is providing lethal injection drugs to the US.
Pentobarbital (also known as Nembutal) supplied by Copenhagen-headquartered firm Lundbeck has so far been used in 11 executions. This number will grow as more states turn to the Danish company’s drugs in order to carry out executions.
Reprieve has asked both the Danish Government and Lundbeck to act to prevent the use of their drugs in lethal injections, but so far neither has taken effective action to put a stop to this.
Reprieve Investigator Maya Foa said:
“It seems incredible that the Danish Government is capable of banning a harmless spread, but not of taking real action to stop a Danish firm’s drugs being used to deliberately kill people.
“Denmark must put real pressure on Lundbeck, or risk a Danish firm becoming the US executioner in chief.”


1. For furthe…

Arizona inmate Donald Beaty granted temporary stay of execution

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PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court has halted the planned execution of inmate Donald Beaty, who was scheduled to be given a lethal injection Wednesday morning for the rape and murder of a 13-year-old Tempe girl in 1984.
The temporary stay of execution was issued late Tuesday night after Arizona officials said they had planned to replace one of three drugs to be used in the execution because federal officials contended the state failed to fill out a form to import the drug being swapped out.
That prompted Beaty’s lawyers to file motions seeking the stay of execution from the state’s highest court and the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, arguing he hadn’t had adequate opportunity to review the late change in drug protocol.
Defense attorney Dale Baich said “a rush to execute Beaty under these circumstances would be unconscionable.”
The court set a hearing on the matter for Wednesday morning.
The attorney general’s office notified the state Supreme Court on Tuesday that the Corrections Departm…

Exonerated DR inmate Anthony Graves likely to get money, but he still wants justice

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GALVESTON — A bill that would compensate Anthony Graves for the 18 years he spent behind bars for murders he didn't commit is awaiting Gov. Rick Perry's signature, but Graves' attorneys say his fight for justice isn't over.
The House and Senate last week passed a bill with an amendment authored by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, that allows Graves to collect the $80,000 per year allowed by law for each year of wrongful imprisonment. That would add up to $1.4 million for Graves.
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs in February denied him the compensation because the document ordering his release did not contain the words "actual innocence."
Graves said Tuesday that he won't count on getting compensation until Perry signs the legislation.
"I'm glad that they put together a piece of legislation that will allow them to compensate me for the wrongdoing," Graves said. "But as of right now nothing has been done. I'm optimistic it will be done. We'l…

Mississippi: Appeals court blocks Simon execution

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A federal appeal court has stopped the scheduled execution of Mississippi death row inmate Robert Simon Jr. (left)
The 3-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans gave no immediate reason for its decision, which came hours before Simon was to be put to death by lethal injection. The execution had been set for 6 p.m.
Simon was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1990 slayings of Carl Parker; Parker’s wife, Bobbie Jo; and their 12-year-old son, Gregory. The killings occurred a few hours after the family had returned to their rural Quitman County home from church services.
Simon also was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of 9-year-old Charlotte Parker, daughter of the slain couple.
Source: AP, May 24, 2011

Court stays Mississippi execution

(Reuters) - The scheduled execution in Mississippi on Tuesday of a man who killed a family of four in 1990 has been stayed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, according to a court document.

The Mississi…

Hosni Mubarak charged with murder

Former president's sons Alaa and Gamal are also referred to criminal court days before more planned protests in Egypt
Egypt referred Hosni Mubarak to court on Tuesday over the killing of protesters and other charges, defying speculation that Egypt's new military rulers would spare the former president public humiliation.
Mubarak was ousted from power on 11 February after mass demonstrations demanded an end to his 30-year rule. He was then detained by prosecutors investigating corruption during his rule and a crackdown on the protesters.
His two sons, Alaa and Gamal, – the latter of whom many had believed was being groomed by his father to replace him, – were also referred to the criminal court on a range of charges, the public prosecutor said in a statement.
The decision was announced before another demonstration planned for Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the heart of the uprising. Activists have called for a big turnout to demand faster reforms and a public trial for Mubara…