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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Taiwan: Execution of death row inmates deliberated

Under pressure from a legislator to carry out executions of death row inmates, Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay said Tuesday that her ministry will proceed cautiously in evaluating issues related to capital punishment.

Kuomintang lawmaker Wu Yu-sheng questioned Luo at a legislative hearing on Tuesday on why a government that stresses governing based on the rule of law has yet to execute 45 death row inmates who have exhausted all possible judicial remedies.

Wu said he was religious and felt bad about asking that death row inmates be executed, but he noted that capital punishment is legal in Taiwan and that there were currently 52 inmates on death row, some of whom were sentenced to death as long as 10 years ago.

Challenged by Wu on whether the ministry would conduct the executions, Luo said it would, but she stressed that it would carry out its duties prudently.

Luo said that since assuming her post, she has reviewed the cases of these death row prisoners to see whether they have applied for extraordinary appeals, constitutional interpretations or retrials for their cases.

Wu countered, however, that only seven death row inmates are seeking legal remedies, while the other 45 are on the list for immediate execution, and he demanded that Luo promise to activate procedures for the execution of these convicts.

Luo answered, "OK. We will follow our precedures."

Premier Jiang Yi-huah said, meanwhile, that he has discussed issues related to executions with Luo and reached a consensus that the death penalty would be carried out in accordance with the law if death row inmates had exhausted all possible remedies.

It will be up to the ministry, however, to decide when to carry out the executions, Jiang said.

Source: Focus Taiwan, Feb. 25, 2014

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