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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

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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