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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 -…

Japan: Death-row inmate convicted of killing 4 in 1993 dies of illness

Gallows trap door, Tokyo Detention Center
Gallows trap door, Tokyo Detention Center
TOKYO — Gen Sekine, a former pet breeder on death row for killing four people in Saitama Prefecture in 1993, died Monday while in detention, a person familiar with his condition said.

The 75-year-old inmate—who was convicted of conspiring with his former wife Hiroko Kazama to kill three people in a financial dispute stemming from his dog breeding business—is believed to have died of an illness, according to the source. Kazama, 60, is also on death row.

Sekine, who was also convicted of a separate killing the same year, died at the Tokyo Detention House on Monday morning. He had collapsed there in November last year, according to the source.

In 1993, he murdered a 39-year-old company employee, a senior member of a crime syndicate and the man’s driver by making them swallow poison capsules. He then dismembered their bodies before incinerating and abandoning the remains, according to a court ruling.

In the separate case, Sekine murdered a 54-year-old woman after selling dogs of foreign origin to her in a scam.

Sekine and Kazama were initially arrested in January 1995. In March 2001, a district court in Saitama Prefecture sentenced them to death for committing, in the words of its presiding judge, “cruelly ruthless and extremely heinous crimes.”

The Tokyo High Court rejected the pair’s appeal in July 2005, and the Supreme Court upheld the decision in June 2009.

Source: Japan Today, March 28, 2017


Murder suspect extradited from Argentina


TOKYO — A 44-year-old Japanese man who has been on the international wanted list in connection with the murder of a Chinese woman in Japan in 2010 has been arrested after he was extradited from Argentina, police said.

The suspect, Tomoyasu Takiya, was arrested upon his arrival at Tokyo’s Haneda airport late Friday night, Fuji TV reported. 

Police said he has initially been charged with stealing a cash card belonging to the Chinese woman, Shi Jieying, who was found strangled to death in her apartment in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, in August of 2010.

Police said convenience store surveillance camera footage showed Takiya, who has admitted he knew the victim, using her cash card to withdraw 10,000 yen from the store’s ATM. 

He left Japan before the victim’s body was discovered and his whereabouts remained a mystery until he was seen in Buenos Aires earlier this month.

Police said they expect to upgrade the charge to murder after interrogating Takiya.

Source: Japan Today, March 26, 2017

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