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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

India's SC commutes death penalty of 3 convicts

India's Supreme Court
India's Supreme Court
Sixteen years after they torched a bus and burnt to death three college girls while protesting the arrest of the then AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Friday commuted the death penalty of all three convicts to life imprisonment, saying the incident happened in a flash during mob frenzy and is not pre-meditated.

Rolling back its own judgment confirming the death penalty awarded to the three men, the Supreme Court accepted their defence of “diminished responsibility” and reasoned that the convicts had not even know their victims and their crime did not deserve the death penalty.

A tri-judge Bench, led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, agreed with defence counsel and senior advocate L. Nageshwar Rao that mobs go berserk and possess a demented sight of what is around them.

The State of Tamil Nadu, the prosecuting agency in the case, represented by advocate Yogesh Kanna, submitted that the Bench should decide the review petition on its merits.

In an earlier hearing on the petition, Mr. Rao had referred to the riots after the killing of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to argue that the accused, who were part of a rampaging mob, cannot be held fully criminally liable for the crime as their mental capacity were impaired at the time.

The college students - Kokilavani, Gayathri and Hemalatha of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, died when the bus they were travelling in, along with 44 other students and two teachers, was torched on February 2, 2000.

“Mobs go berserk. Reason does not enter their minds. After the judgment at 10.30 am, the agitations had started. There was absolutely no pre-meditation. There was a workshop nearby, they took petrol from there and started sprinkling it on the buses,” Mr. Rao had recounted the events of the fateful day.

Mr. Kumar said the accused were only “looking for some government property to destroy and were not targeting human lives”.

Mr. Rao argued that death was too harsh a punishment as the convicts had no personal animosity towards their victims and were themselves the victims of mob psychology.

Review petition

The review petition of the three death row convicts – Nedunchezhian, Ravindran and Muniappan – is being heard after a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ordered limited, open court hearing before a three-judge Bench in case of death penalty reviews.

Source: The Hindu, March 12, 2016

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