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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 -…

Indonesia: Absence of interpreters causes problems for foreign defendants

Indonesia: Absence of interpreters causes problems for foreign defendants
The Indonesian justice system often fails to protect the rights of foreign defendants, particularly the right to be accompanied by an interpreter during legal processes, an activist has said.

The absence of interpreters is a serious matter, particularly for defendants accused of committing serious crimes who could face heavy sentences, including the death penalty, Indonesian Judicial Watch Society researcher Anugerah Rizki Akbari said on Thursday.

He gave an example of Filipino suspect Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, who was on death row in 2015.

“Mary was given an English interpreter during trials when she actually needed a Tagalog interpreter,” Rizki said at the Celebrating Life event held at Plaza Indonesia shopping mall on Thursday.

Indonesia halted the execution of Veloso after the Attorney General’s Office last year received information suggesting she was a victim of human trafficking. Her execution was postponed, pending legal processes in the Philippines.

A similar situation occurred in 2002 when Nonthanam M. Saicon, a Thai national, was sentenced to death for smuggling narcotics, Rizki said.

In a court hearing for a judicial review this year, the Supreme Court decided to reduce Nonthanam’s sentence from the death penalty to life in prison because the Tangerang District Court had failed to provide a Thai interpreter during the trial.

The Supreme Court believed she could not fully understand the indictment against her, so justices reduced her sentence.

Source: Jakarta Post, Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, September 8, 2016

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