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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…

Malaysia to scrap mandatory death sentence for drug offences

Government agrees to give courts discretion in imposing death penalty for narcotics offences.

The Malaysian government has agreed to do away with the mandatory death sentence imposed for drug offences.

Azalina Othman Said, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, told Parliament that the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 will be amended to allow judges to exercise discretion when deciding on the appropriate sentence.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet after considering a report on the review of the act and the death penalty. The Attorney-General, Mohamed Apandi Ali, had also presented a case in favour of granting judges discretionary powers to the cabinet on 1 March.

Malay Mail said that Apandi, a former judge himself, had previously stated that he had sought discretionary powers for judges, especially in marginal cases where offenders could instead be handed jail sentences. This was aimed at cases where convicts were coerced or duped into becoming drug mules.

"The cabinet agreed to include additional provisions to empower the court when sentencing other than the mandatory death penalty under certain situations in drug trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act," she told Parliament on Thursday (23 March).

Malaysia is still maintaining the death penalty for other serious offences like murder and firearms offences.

"Other countries, including the United States, China, India, Singapore and Thailand still maintain the death penalty as the punishment for serious offences," she said.

The solicitor-general has been directed to speed up the draft amendments to be tabled for approval in Parliament, Azalina added.

When asked whether the government would place a moratorium on pending drug cases until the act was amended, the minister said the issue was still at an early stage and that there were still several processes to go through.

According to the Prison Department statistics, there are almost 800 prisoners on death row for drug trafficking offences under Section 39 (B) of the Act.

Source: IBT, Rachel Middleton, March 24, 2017

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