Iran: Annual report on the death penalty 2017

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 13, 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
This number is comparable with the execution figures in 2016 and confirms the relative reduction in the use of the death penalty compared to the period between 2010 and 2015. 
Nevertheless, with an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per one million inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
2017 Annual Report at a Glance:
At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges - 98 more than in 2016.At le…

Famous Death Penalty Lawyer Closes the Book on His Last Capital Case

Jury box
Veteran death penalty defense attorney Jimmy Berry of Marietta closed the book on his last open capital murder case Tuesday.

It wasn't a win; it wasn't a loss. The case went to dead docket, his client committed to a psychiatric prison, declared incompetent to stand trial.

In Berry's line of work, it was the best he could do. And it got him started talking to a reporter late in the day about the 50 death penalty cases he's handled over nearly half a century.

"I'm 74. I've been doing this 47 years," Berry said. "I've tried a lot of murder cases, a lot of death penalty cases. It's sad to see the suffering of people in the victims' families, what they have to go through, and the families of the people charged."

"It's a tough doing these kinds of cases—a lot tougher than people think," he added.

Asked what drove him to choose this work, Berry paused. "I don't know. I like a challenge, I guess," he said. "I want to try to help people the best way I can."

It's not for appreciation, he said: "Generally the public doesn't like criminal defense lawyers. It's sad. You need criminal defense lawyers to make sure the system runs properly. If some things are not done properly or against the Constitution, it won't work. You've got to have both sides."

He said he still has three murder cases open, but none of them will involve the death penalty. He doesn't know if he'll take another capital case.

Tuesday's case was unusual, Berry said. After seven years of attempts to prosecute Berry's client, Jesse James Warren will go to a prison psychiatric hospital indefinitely. Warren has been charged with killing four people and seriously wounding a fifth at the Penske truck-leasing facility in Kennesaw on Jan. 12, 2010. Psychiatrists have found him incompetent to stand trial and said he refuses to take medication to control his schizophrenia and delusions. The state tried to forcibly medicate him in an attempt restore his competency, but the Georgia Supreme Court overruled that effort in 2015. Among the high court's concerns were that the meds might not work.

On Tuesday, Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark signed a civil commitment order, granting a request from Berry and co-counsel Gerald Word of the Georgia Capital Defender office. Warren will be held and evaluated in much the same way he would have been if he'd been tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity. The court will re-evaluate his status annually, but Berry said he doesn't expect it to change. Warren, he said, is unable to assist in his own defense because he continues to believe the delusions that he was acting under seven years ago.

"He believes all that was a conspiracy," Berry said of Warren. Even at their last meeting on Friday, he said Warren was concerned not with defending himself but of making sure his legal team presented documentation of his delusions.

This was a textbook case for the insanity defense, if it had gone that far, Berry said. Most are not so clear, although many involve mental illness, he said. He has taken some encouragement in the development of mental health courts that have come with criminal justice reform.

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Source: Daily Report, Katheryn Hayes Tucker, August 2, 2017

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