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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 -…

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turns down John Battaglia's clemency petition

John Battaglia
John Battaglia
HUNTSVILLE — The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has turned down a clemency petition from a Dallas man set to die this week for fatally shooting his two young daughters nearly 15 years ago.

Board spokesman Raymond Estrada says the board voted 7-0 Monday, refusing to recommend that John David Battaglia’s death sentence be commuted to life in prison and denying his request for a reprieve from his scheduled Wednesday evening execution in Huntsville.

Battaglia, 60, was convicted and condemned for the May 2001 slayings of his daughters, 9-year-old Faith and 6-year-old Liberty, at his Dallas apartment. 

The girls’ mother, Battaglia’s ex-wife, was on the phone with him and heard the gunshots and cry of the older daughter.

Battaglia still has appeals in the federal courts seeking to block his punishment.

Source: The Associated Press, March 28, 2016


Fort Worth Man On Death Row Loses Supreme Court Appeal

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a Fort Worth man on death row for smothering an 89-year-old man and robbing him of some $6,000 12 years ago.

The high court, without comment, ruled Monday in the case of 36-year-old Tilon Carter. His appeals have focused on whether his Tarrant County trial attorneys were deficient and whether faulty instructions were given to trial jurors.

Carter was condemned for the 2004 robbery and slaying of James Tomlin. Evidence showed Tomlin, a retired Bell Helicopter worker, kept cash in containers scattered around his home.

Prosecutors portrayed Carter as a longtime criminal and also tied him to a fatal shooting at a drug house.

He does not yet have an execution date.

Source: The Associated Press, March 28, 2016

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