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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Virginia: Federal Appeals Court Declines to Halt Ivan Teleguz's Execution

Ivan Teleguz
Ivan Teleguz
A federal appeals court has refused to put a Virginia death row inmate's execution on hold so he can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has refused to put a Virginia death row inmate's execution on hold so he can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond issued an order Thursday declining the request from Ivan Teleguz, who is scheduled to be executed April 25.

Teleguz, who is from Ukraine, was sentenced to death in 2006 for hiring a man to kill Stephanie Sipe, the mother of his child.

She was stabbed to death in her Harrisonburg apartment, and prosecutors said Teleguz wanted get out of paying child support.

He has maintained his innocence, and two key prosecution witnesses have recanted since his conviction.

An appeals court in 2012 ordered a hearing on his innocence claim, but a judge refused to overturn his conviction after one of the witnesses who recanted refused to testify and the other didn’t show up.

In October, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Teleguz, who argued that his 2006 trial attorneys were inadequate because they introduced testimony that Teleguz was involved in another killing that he says never happened.

Teleguz asked the 4th Circuit last week to stay his execution so the high court could review his argument that he was denied the right to effective counsel.

His attorneys said in a statement that Teleguz will now petition Gov. Terry McAuliffe to grant him clemency.

Source: Associated Press, March 16, 2017

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