Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Pardon 'best scenario' in Veloso case - DOJ

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
The Philippines is also asking for access to convicted OFW Mary Jane Veloso, after a string of cases were filed against her alleged recruiters

When asked whether there's a possibility that Filipina death row inmate convicted of drug trafficking Mary Jane Veloso will be released from prison soon, Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima said such possibility is still far out of the picture.

Following the release of the preliminary investigation findings, De Lima said the best scenario for the Philippine government is that Indonesia is convinced Veloso is innocent, and she is granted a pardon.

Commutation of sentence and re-opening of her case are other possibilities.

The Philippine government is asking Indonesia for access to Veloso, after a string of cases were filed against her alleged recruiters, Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao, by the DOJ.

De Lima also disclosed that the government requested Indonesia to allow them to see Veloso so they could get her supplemental affidavit, to be used for a case build-up.

"Case build-up does not, or ought not to, stop upon filing of the criminal informations in court. Remember, the required threshold now is guilt beyond reasonable doubt and not just probable cause which was the requirement during the preliminary investigation stage," De Lima clarified.

Veloso was convicted of smuggling 2.6 kg of heroin into Indonesia and was scheduled for execution by firing squad along with 8 other drug convicts on April 29, but Indonesian President Joko Widodo, granted a reprieve to allow Philippine authorities to pursue criminal charges against her supposed recruiters.

The DOJ recommended the filing of information for violation of Republic Act No. 8402 or The Migrant Worker's Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 and for estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) against Sergio and Lacanilao.

This time, the cases stemmed from the complaint of Veloso's family and several other victims of Sergio and Lacanilao.

"The evidence proves that exploitation is the ultimare pupose of complainant's recruitment. She was exploited, deceived and made to believe that a job as a domestic helper was available for her in Malaysia. Instead, complainant, without her knowledge and against her will, was made to transport prohibited drugs from Malaysia to Indonesia," the DOJ resolution said.

"The exploitative purpose of using complainant in transporting illegal drugs resulted in the incarceration of herein complainant. Worse, complainant, who was referred and considered by respondents as 'victim' will eventually suffer the penalty of death," it added.

"They (Indonesian authorities) will see that there is basis for the cases against the recruiters who allegedly victimized Mary Jane," De Lima said. "A finding of probable cause is a finding of probable cause, which we hope to strengthen to meet the threshold of proof beyond reasonable doubt for purposes of trial."

Source: rappler.com, July 14, 2015

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