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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…

Chinese courts call for death penalty for researchers who commit fraud

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth — a life for a lab book?

In the past few months, China has announced two new crackdowns on research misconduct — one of which could lead to executions for scientists who doctor their data.

Scientists have been sounding alarms for years about the integrity of research in China. One recent survey estimated that 40 percent of biomedical papers by Chinese scholars were tainted by misconduct. Funding bodies there have in the past announced efforts to crack down on fraud, including clawing back money from scientists who cheat on their grants.

This month, in the wake of a fake peer review scandal that claimed 107 papers by Chinese scholars, the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology proclaimed a “no tolerance” policy for research misconduct — although it’s not clear what that might look like. According to the Financial Times, the ministry said the mass retractions “seriously harmed the international reputation of our country’s scientific research and the dignity of Chinese scientists at large.”

But a prior court decision in the country threatened the equivalent of the nuclear option. In April courts approved a new policy calling for stiff prison sentences for researchers who fabricate data in studies that lead to drug approvals. If the misconduct ends up harming people, then the punishment on the table even includes the death penalty. The move, as Nature explained, groups clinical trial data fraud with counterfeiting so that “if the approved drug causes health problems, it can result in a 10-year prison term or the death penalty, in the case of severe or fatal consequences.”

We’ve long called for sterner treatment of science cheats, including the possibility of jail time — which, by the way, most Americans agree is appropriate. But we can’t support the Chinese solution. Even if we didn’t abhor the death penalty (which we do), the punishment here far outweighs the crime.

Yet if extremity in the name of virtue can be vice, it serves as reminder that science fraud is, simply put, fraud. And when it involves funding — taxpayer or otherwise — that fraud becomes theft. Think about it the same way as you would running a bogus investment fund or kiting checks. So, jail for major offenders — yes. Execution — no.

One objection to our position here might be that financial criminals typically don’t kill anyone — directly, at least. If you drain my bank account or steal my 401(k), I’m still alive. A scientist who cheats on a drug study could, at least in theory, jeopardize the health of the people who take that medication, with potentially fatal consequences.

But the reality is quite different. In the United States, at least, drug approvals hinge on data generated from many scientists or groups of researchers. They never rest on a single person. So unless everyone involved in a study is cheating, a fraudster’s data would stick out if they strayed too much from the aggregate. Ironically, then, to succeed, a would-be fraudster would be most successful if they made their bogus results look like everyone else’s — thus diluting their influence on the outcome of the trial.

And stopping short of capital punishment, jail time for fraud would itself be a big change. According to our own research, only 39 scientists worldwide between 1975 and 2015 received criminal penalties for misdeeds somehow related to their work. However, some of those cases didn’t involve research directly but instead related to incidental infractions, such as misusing funds, bribery, and even murder facilitated by access to cyanide

Click here to read the full article

Source: statnews.com, ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, June 23, 2017


Shanghai: Female drug trafficker gets suspended death sentence


A woman has been sentenced to death - with a 2-year reprieve - for selling and transporting drugs.

Shanghai No.3 Intermediate People's Court said yesterday that the woman, a 26-year-old mother of 2 children, had previously been sentenced to prison for the same crime but had avoided serving out her terms.

From June 1 last year, the woman surnamed Zhang, a native of Anhui Province, sold 400 grams of crystal meth to a man surnamed Chen and bought about 2,000 grams from another man surnamed Li.

Li was sentenced to life, while Chen was sentenced for his involvement in another case.

According to China's Criminal Law, smuggling, selling, transporting and producing drugs amounting to over 50 grams of heroin or crystal meth face a life sentence or the death penalty.

In another case, a woman who is an Indonesian citizen, was sentenced to life for smuggling about 1,500 grams of cocaine into China, the court said.

She arrived at Pudong airport from Cambodia on May 4 last year with a backpack, and an X-ray machine detected a suspicious substance in the backpack, later confirmed to be cocaine.

The woman had previously traveled between China, Vietnam and Cambodia on several occasions, transporting drugs for others in exchange for thousands of dollars in return, the court said.

In the past 12 months, the court has closed 13 drug cases and handed down sentences to 19 people with 15 of them sentenced to at least 5 years in prison.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 22, 2017

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Comments

today twig said…
I think capital punishment should not be there, unless it falls under the rarest of the rare category.

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