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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Killer at Dallas-area Subway store holdup set to die in May; Man Found Incompetent for Trial in Houston Deputy's Death

Texas Death Chamber
Texas Death Chamber
A 42-year-old man sent to death row for a fatal shooting during a Dallas-area sandwich shop robbery in 2002 has received an execution date.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said Tuesday convicted killer Terry Darnell Edwards is scheduled for lethal injection May 11. 

The U.S. Supreme Court in November refused to review his case.

Edwards was convicted of killing 26-year-old Mickell Goodwin at a Balch Springs Subway store where she worked. 

The store manager, 34-year-old Tommy Walker, also was gunned down.

Evidence showed Edwards had been fired from the sandwich store a few weeks before the July 2002 shootings. About $3,000 was taken in the holdup.

Edwards is among 10 inmates scheduled for execution in the coming months in Texas, the nation's most active death penalty state.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2016


Man Found Incompetent for Trial in Houston Deputy's Death

A Houston man accused of fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy at a gas station last summer has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial for capital murder.

State District Judge Susan Brown ordered 31-year-old Shannon Miles be sent to a mental hospital. 

After four months of medication and treatment, his competency will be re-evaluated.

Harris County prosecutors Tuesday didn't dispute arguments from Miles' lawyers that he's schizophrenic and doesn't understand the seriousness of the legal proceedings.

Miles is a charged in the Aug. 28 slaying of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth. 

The deputy was shot 15 times while putting gasoline in his patrol car. If convicted, Miles could face the death penalty.

Records show Miles has been committed to mental health facilities at least twice in recent years.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2016

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