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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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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…

Japanese drug smuggler loses last chance to escape the gallows in Malaysia

Mariko Takeuchi
Mariko Takeuchi
KUALA LUMPUR — A 41-year-old Japanese woman has lost her last chance to escape the gallows with Malaysia’s highest court affirming the death sentence meted out by a lower court for trafficking drugs into the Southeast Asian country, her lawyer said Friday.

The five-man bench of the Federal Court unanimously rejected Mariko Takeuchi’s appeal on Thursday.

“Basically, the court does not believe her defense,” her lawyer Teh Poh Teik told Kyodo News.

Teh had argued that there was a defect in the chemical analysis of the drug and questioned why the assistant chemist who conducted a particular test was not called to testify by the prosecution.

He also suggested to the court that Takeuchi, a former nurse, should have been charged with “possession,” for which the heaviest punishment is life imprisonment, instead of trafficking, which carries a mandatory death sentence.

“But in the end, just like the high court and the court of appeal, the federal court found her story not credible,” Teh said.

Takeuchi was convicted by the high court and sentenced to death in October 2011 for trafficking 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamines into Malaysia on Oct 30, 2009. In March 2013, she failed to get the appellate court to overturn her conviction and she took her case to the Federal Court where she again lost.

Under Malaysian law, anyone found possessing a minimum of 50 grams of methamphetamine is considered to be trafficking in a dangerous drug, which is punishable by death.

Takeuchi had pleaded innocent in her first trial. She testified that she did not know about the drugs found in a suitcase she brought to Malaysia from Dubai. She said she was carrying the suitcase as a favor for an Iranian acquaintance.

Takeuchi, who has been incarcerated since her arrest, is the first Japanese national to be tried on a drug trafficking charge in Malaysia and the first sentenced to hang.

Teh said her last resort is to seek a pardon from the Sultan of Selangor state. Meantime, Takeuchi is being held at a women’s prison in northeastern Kelantan state.

Source: Japan Today, October 16, 2015

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