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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Judge OKs second death penalty expert for Tsarnaev defense

Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev added a second death penalty expert to his defense team today, less than a month after federal prosecutors announced they would seek execution if he is convicted in the deadly attacks, according to court papers.

U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. allowed the appointment of David A. Bruck, an attorney with extensive experience in death penalty cases — including seven that appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court. Bruck will join Judy Clarke, a death penalty expert who won life sentences for several high-profile mass killers, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Tucson, Ariz., mass shooter Jared Loughner.

Tsarnaev’s attorneys previously had a request to appoint Bruck denied without prejudice. In their most recent request “the defendant has made a satisfactory showing that the appointment of Mr. Buck is ‘necessary for adequate representation,’” according to O’Toole’s order.

The motion prompting O’Toole’s order was sealed.

Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of killing three and wounding more than 260 in the April 15 attack, then murdering a Massachusetts Institute of Technology cop later in a desperate bid to escape capture.

Source: AP, Feb. 21, 2014

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