Showing posts from September, 2015


USA | Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is a terrible opportunity for Trump

"Sometimes it felt like she was America’s last hope. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court judge since 1993, achieved celebrity status during Trump’s four years. Affectionately given the nickname “Notorious R.B.G” by a slew of online followers, she was the subject of superhero memes and the inspiration for much light-hearted merchandise (Urban Outfitters stocks T-shirts emblazoned with her face and her famously blunt quotes, and I gifted a friend in Brooklyn a cuddly Ginsburg doll for her newborn last year.)
Beneath the jokes, the quotes and the well-designed tote bags, however, ran an undercurrent of anxiety and fear. The fact that Supreme Court judges have lifetime appointments meant that many were morbidly obsessed with Ginsburg — who battled cancer on numerous occasions, and died of its complications today — staying alive long enough to get to the election. She herself clearly felt the same way, if NPR’s reports about her dying wishes are to be believed: “My most fervent wish is …

Oklahoma: Richard Glossip gets 37-day stay of execution


Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has issued a 37-day stay of Richard Glossip’s execution to address legal questions raised about execution protocol.

Source: DPN Editor, Sept 30, 2015 (11:08 pm CEST)

Oklahoma governor issues last-minute stay and halts execution of Richard Glossip

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin called off the execution of Richard Glossip on Wednesday afternoon, delaying the execution for more than a month due to issues with the drugs that would have been used.
Glossip’s execution had been scheduled for 3 p.m. He had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution, arguing that more time was needed to allow officials to review new evidence in the case, but the justices rejected his request shortly before his lethal injection was intended to begin.
More than an hour later, Fallin issued an unexpected stay, ordering that the execution be postponed until Nov. 6. In her executive order declaring the stay, she said it was due to the state Department of Corrections receivi…

Attorneys, advocates want Missouri execution scheduled for next week halted

Missourians who oppose the death penalty are asking courts and Governor Jay Nixon to consider the testimony of a confessed murderer, that the man sentenced to death for hiring him is innocent, before that man is executed for that hiring next week.
Kimber Edwards is scheduled to die by lethal injection October 6 at the state prison at Bonne Terre. He was convicted of hiring Orthell Wilson to kill his ex-wife, Kimberly Cantrell, 15 years ago at her University City home.
Wilson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in April he lied to investigators about Edwards' involvement to secure a plea deal that would allow him to avoid the death penalty. Wilson's claim now is that he had been secretly carrying on a relationship with Cantrell and killed her after an argument.
"15-years later he has decided to finally tell the truth, and the truth is that he wasn't paid, that he was in a relationship with Miss Cantrell, that he knew her independent of any connection to our client, Kimbe…

Is Oklahoma About to Execute an Innocent Man?

Just after Pope Francis called for an end to the death penalty in his address to Congress, six death-row inmates are set to be put to death over the next two weeks. 
It's the biggest burst of executions in the U.S. in more than two years, and there are many legal and moral issues surrounding the cases. 
Early on Wednesday morning, Georgia executed Kelly Renee Gissendaner for conspiring to kill her husband, though he was stabbed to death by her lover and she went on to become a model prisoner. This afternoon Oklahoma is set to execute another inmate who wasn't even present when the murder in question was committed - and in this case, there are serious doubts about whether he had any involvement in the crime.
Richard Glossip has been convicted twice for the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese, his boss at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. Fellow employee Justin Sneed admitted to killing Van Treese, but he claims Glossip pressured him into committing the murder because he was em…

Washington and Lee law professor to represent Charleston church shooting defendant

The accused shooter is the latest notorious defendant to be represented by David Bruck.
A Washington and Lee University law professor is defending the man charged with federal hate crimes in the fatal shootings of nine people during a Bible study at a historic African-American church.
David Bruck was appointed lead attorney for Dylann Roof because of his "extensive experience" in death penalty cases across the country, Judge Richard Gergel wrote in a July 23 order filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston, South Carolina.
At W&L, Bruck directs the Virginia Capital Case Clearing House, a law school program that serves as a resource center for court-appointed defense lawyers in death penalty cases.
Bruck has also been in the national spotlight as a member of the defense team for several high-profile defendants. Earlier this year, he represented Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
The case involving Roof is equa…

The U.S. Is Ignoring Pope Francis' Call to Abolish the Death Penalty

Peter denied Jesus 3 times. Today and over the next several days, we will deny Peter's apostolic successor 3 times. Pope Francis, during his visit last week to the United States, reiterated his and the Catholic Church's current opposition to capital punishment; yet, 3 executions are imminent.
As I write this, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole is meeting and listening to Kelly Gissendaner's son, Brandon, whose brother and sister have already pleaded for mercy for their mother. In 1997 Kelly Gissendaner murdered Doug Gissendaner, who was the stepfather to Gissendaner's sons and father to her daughter. Other inmates, officials, clergy, and theologians - including Jurgen Moltmann - have asked that Gissendaner not be executed.
The 2nd execution is scheduled for Sept. 30 in Oklahoma. However, death row inmate Richard Glossip's case raises many doubts, especially since he was convicted solely on the testimony of only one witness, who confessed to the crime and rece…

"Some Anxiety" in Oklahoma Ahead of Glossip Execution

Gov. Mary Fallin will not intervene in the case of Richard Glossip, who is scheduled for execution tomorrow afternoon.
"Richard Glossip has had almost 18 years of hearings, trials, appeals. He's had 3 stays on his execution. He took it all the way to the Court of Criminal Appeals," Fallin said during a day-long visit to Tulsa. "It's the law of the state of Oklahoma; my job as the governor is just to make sure the law is carried forth."
Barring action by the U.S. Supreme Court, Glossip will be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a request Monday from Glossip's attorneys for a new hearing.
They say new evidence shows the man Glossip purportedly hired to kill their boss, Oklahoma City motel owner Barry Van Treese, acted alone.
Fallin said the criminal justice system has worked as it should in Glossip's case.
"I will say, I still believe in the death penalty, which is the current law in …

Paraplegic set to hang in Pakistan appeals to President for mercy

A paraplegic - whose execution was stayed after he had been dressed in black, had his hands and feet tied, and was about to be lifted onto the gallows - has appealed to Pakistan's President for mercy, in a petition filed yesterday (Tuesday).
Abdul Basit, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since contracting meningitis in jail and receiving inadequate treatment, was due to be hanged last week. Basit’s family told his lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan that on the day of his planned execution, Abdul was made to change into black clothes and had his hands and feet tied. He was about to be mounted onto the scaffold when prison officials announced that the execution would be stopped. After several hours of waiting it was confirmed that Basit's hanging would not proceed that night.
Basit’s family, acting through his lawyers, yesterday filed a petition for mercy to the Pakistani President asking that his execution be permanently halted because Pakistan’s Prison Rules do not …

Saudi juvenile “has hope” he will escape ‘crucifixion’

A Saudi juvenile facing imminent ‘crucifixion’ has spoken of his hope for the future, despite a recent decision by the country’s courts to uphold his sentence.
During a prison visit from his family on Friday, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is said to have confirmed that he had just learned about the sentence. He said: “I just want to be released”, but added: “I have faith and I live with hope. If things change [with my sentence], I will thank God – and if not, I lived happily with my hope.”
Ali was 17 when he was arrested in February 2012 in the country’s Eastern Province. He was tortured into ‘confessing’ to a role in protests, and despite later recanting his statement, he was sentenced to be ‘crucified’ by the country’s secretive Specialized Criminal Court. Several days ago, it emerged that his sentence had been upheld without his knowledge.
Ali has never been permitted to meet with his lawyer, and with legal avenues now exhausted, he could be executed at any moment with no prior not…

Georgia executes Kelly Gissendaner

The U.S. state of Georgia executed its only woman on death row on Wednesday, marking the first time in 70 years the state has carried out a death sentence on a woman, a prison official said.
Kelly Gissendaner, 47, died by lethal injection at 12:21 a.m. EDT at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, a prison spokeswoman said.
Gissendaner was sentenced to death after being convicted of what is known in the state as malice murder for her role in plotting the killing of her husband, Douglas, in 1997.
Pope Francis, who concluded a six-day U.S. trip on Sunday and is an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, had urged officials to commute her death sentence.
Gissendaner's execution marks the first death sentence carried out against a woman in Georgia in 70 years. She was the 16th woman executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied last-minute requests for a stay of execution.
The st…

Clemency Denied, Kelly Gissendaner Nears Execution in Georgia

ATLANTA — Georgia is poised to execute on Tuesday the only woman on its death row, hours after the state Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected her latest plea for clemency and nearly seven months after her execution was postponed because a drug used in the lethal injection had become “cloudy.”
The inmate, Kelly Renee Gissendaner, who was convicted of orchestrating her husband’s 1997 murder, is scheduled for execution Tuesday night at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, southeast of Atlanta.
Although Ms. Gissendaner’s lawyers have asked the federal courts to intercede, Tuesday’s decision by the five-member state board was a significant setback for a condemned inmate who drew wide attention for her spiritual development during her incarceration. The panel, which in February rejected a plea for mercy for Ms. Gissendaner, denied her latest request for clemency after it convened here in a closed session.
Ms. Gissendaner’s guilt in the death of her husband, Douglas…

Glossip's attorneys plan to appeal U.S. Supreme Court for stay of execution

While the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a death row inmate's plea for a stay, his attorneys say they will not stop fighting.
Richard Glossip is set to die on Wednesday, Sept.
Glossip was convicted of murder for the 1997 death of motel owner Barry Van Treese, though Glossip wasn't the actual killer.
The man who bludgeoned Van Treese to death, Justin Sneed, testified that Glossip hired him for the murder.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Glossip's request for a stay of execution.
Source:, Sept. 29, 2015

Divided Oklahoma Court Refuses To Halt Richard Glossip's Execution
The majority said "the legal principle of finality of judgment" trumps Glossip's claims of innocence.
A deeply divided Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals declined to halt again the upcoming execution of Richard Glossip, the Oklahoma inmate who was spared just hours before the state's third execution attempt on Sept. 16.
In a pair of order…

Pro-death penalty group raised, spent more than $900K on petition drive to put issue before voters

LINCOLN — The organization that successfully collected signatures for a voter referendum on Nebraska’s death penalty raised and spent more than $900,000 on its petition drive.
A group that opposes capital punishment, meanwhile, collected and spent about half as much to combat the petition drive.
Nebraskans for the Death Penalty raised $261,000 from July 28 to Sept. 21, according to a report filed Monday with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. The sum was on top of the $652,000 it had raised earlier.
The largest donors during the most recent reporting period were the Judicial Crisis Network and Robert Mercer, who gave $100,000 each.
The network also gave $200,000 in early July, making it the largest overall donor to the petition drive. The Washington, D.C.-based group describes itself as “dedicated to strengthening liberty and justice” with a commitment to limited government, the rule of law and a fair and impartial judiciary.
Mercer, a New York hedge fund manager …