Showing posts from December, 2017


USA | Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is a terrible opportunity for Trump

"Sometimes it felt like she was America’s last hope. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court judge since 1993, achieved celebrity status during Trump’s four years. Affectionately given the nickname “Notorious R.B.G” by a slew of online followers, she was the subject of superhero memes and the inspiration for much light-hearted merchandise (Urban Outfitters stocks T-shirts emblazoned with her face and her famously blunt quotes, and I gifted a friend in Brooklyn a cuddly Ginsburg doll for her newborn last year.)
Beneath the jokes, the quotes and the well-designed tote bags, however, ran an undercurrent of anxiety and fear. The fact that Supreme Court judges have lifetime appointments meant that many were morbidly obsessed with Ginsburg — who battled cancer on numerous occasions, and died of its complications today — staying alive long enough to get to the election. She herself clearly felt the same way, if NPR’s reports about her dying wishes are to be believed: “My most fervent wish is …

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Source: DPN Admin, Paris, France, December 31, 2017

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Texas sends just 4 killers to death row as Texans lose taste for eye-for-an-eye justice

Dallas County twice tried to condemn killers but didn't send anyone to death row in 2017. 
It hasn't for three years — and neither has Harris County.
Both were once leaders in a state known for putting convicted killers to death. 
And although Texas remained the national leader in executions in 2017 — with seven — executions and new death sentences have been steadily declining over the past decade. 
Nationwide, there were 39 death sentences issued in 2017, and 31 percent of those came from just three counties: Riverside County, Calif.; Clark County, Nev.; and Maricopa County, Ariz., according to a year-end study by the Death Penalty Information Center.
In Texas, only four people were sent to death row this year. 
And for the first time in more than 30 years, no one from Harris County was executed in 2017. Only one from Dallas was executed. 
Terry Edwards, 43, was put to death by lethal injection in January after judges denied multiple appeals claiming he had deficient legal co…

Death penalty cases of 2017 featured botched executions, claims of innocence, 'flawed' evidence

The death penalty was again on the decline in 2017, but the problems that accompany the finality of capital punishment remain.
This year, 23 people were executed—the second fewest executions in the past 25 years, coming in just behind the 20 inmates who were put to death in 2016. Since 2009, the number of executions across the United States has generally declined, with public support for capital punishment dropping by 5 percent to 55 percent this year, marking the lowest level since 1972, the year the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.
“There will be times when numbers fluctuate—particularly following historic highs or lows—but the steady long-term decline in the death penalty since the 1990s suggests that in most of the country, the death penalty is becoming obsolete,” said Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
But even as the numbers of executions fall, the flaws and controversies surrounding capital punishment could be found in the…

The Australians who were sentenced to death by foreign courts

AUSTRALIAN authorities are assisting a Sydney grandmother held in Malaysian custody after being cleared in Malaysia’s High Court of drug trafficking charges as local prosecutors consider mounting an appeal.
Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto,54, was found not guilty of attempting to import more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine into Kuala Lumpur.
Under Malaysian law the prosecution can appeal an acquittal, meaning Exposto now faces an anxious two-week wait to see if she will be finally freed or face further court hearings.
If she had been sentenced to death, she would have joined a grim but growing list of Australians hanged in Malaysia and other Asian nations.
Australians Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers were executed in Malaysia on July 7, 1986, convicted of heroin trafficking.
They had 179 grams of heroin hidden in a suitcase and intended flying to Sydney from Kuala Lumpur.
Seven years later Queenslander Michael McAuliffe was hanged, on June 19, 1993, after being arrested at Penan…

Iraq: Quick trials send alleged Daesh members to death

BAGHDAD: The two Turkish men shuffled into the courtroom, their closely cropped hair, clean shaven faces and chubby waistlines hardly the look of fearsome fighters of Daesh.
Appearing in court for the first time since being arrested in August on charges of belonging to Daesh, they professed their innocence, telling the judge they were simply plumbers who migrated to Iraq from Turkey looking for work.
After an 18-minute trial, they were sentenced to death by hanging.
The men are among hundreds of foreigners detained in Iraq on terrorism charges after the toppling of Daesh’s self-declared caliphate. The defendants — men, women and children hailing from Asia, Europe and Africa — are coursing their way through Iraq’s criminal justice system, receiving harsh sentences in rapid-fire trials.
The trials and capital sentences are presenting foreign governments with a moral and political dilemma. Do they object to the Iraqi trials and claim their citizens, who could threaten their home countri…

Alabama and capital punishment 2017: From the execution chamber to legislature

With both arms strapped to a gurney convicted cop-killer Torrey McNabb raised both middle fingers and told the state of Alabama "I hate you mother****ers" just before he was shot up with a lethal combination of drugs on Oct. 19.
Whether it was from the execution chamber at Hollman Correctional facility in Atmore, or inside the state legislature, the death penalty continued to make news across Alabama in 2017.
Alabama also continued to be an outlier from the national downward trend of states executing inmates, according to one national report.
Of the nation's 23 executions this year, 75 percent took place in four southern states: Texas, Arkansas, Florida, and Alabama.
Texas had seven executions, Arkansas four, and Florida tied Alabama each had three executions - McNabb, Tommy Arthur, and Robert Melson.
McNabb was convicted of the 1997 murder of Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon. Arthur, known as the "Houdini of Death Row" for avoiding seven previous exe…

Virginia Governor commutes death sentence of killer found mentally incompetent to be executed

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday commuted the death sentence of a killer who had been found mentally incompetent to be executed.
William Joseph Burns, who was convicted of raping and murdering his 73-year-old mother-in-law in Shenandoah County in September 1998, will now serve life without parole.
Virginia governors have granted clemency to death row inmates nine times since the death penalty was allowed to resume in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
On April 20, McAuliffe commuted the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz to life in prison without the possibility of parole, saying the sentencing phase of Teleguz’s trial in the murder-for-hire case “was terribly flawed and unfair.”
McAuliffe said in a statement on the new commutation that Burns “has long suffered from severe mental illness,” that experts have confirmed that Burns “is not likely to be restored to competence,” and that he “has not showed signs of stabilizing” while in custody.
“There is no doubt that Mr. B…

USA: Executions, Death Sentences Up Slightly in 2017

A majority of Americans still say they are in favor of the death penalty, but support for the punishment fell this year to its lowest point since 1972.
The number of people executed in the U.S. climbed slightly in 2017 but was still poised to finish at its second-lowest point in 25 years as Americans' support for capital punishment continues to wane.
Twenty-three people were executed in 2017, three more than in the previous year but well below a peak of 98 executions in 1999, according to data compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center.
Meanwhile, judges and juries sentenced 39 people to death this year, a slight increase from 31 in 2016 but 276 fewer death sentences than their peak of 315 in 1996.
The U.S. remains a rarity among developed nations in executing criminals, joined by only Japan, Singapore and Taiwan in this practice. Worldwide, the U.S. ranked seventh or eighth in judicial executions in 2016, behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt and possibly …

Once busy Oklahoma death chamber stays quiet into 3rd year

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma, a state with one of the busiest death chambers in the country in recent decades, will enter its third year without an execution in 2018 while prison officials and state attorneys fine tune its procedure for putting condemned inmates to death.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said last week he was planning to meet with top prison officials and that he expected more clarity on the state’s new lethal injection protocols “in the next two or three weeks.”
“We need to feel some urgency, but we also need to get it done right,” Hunter said. “I’d say both of those things are equally important.”
Republican Gov. Mary Fallin said she has confidence in Hunter and Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh to develop new protocols, but acknowledged the challenge the state faces in acquiring the lethal drugs.
“The most solemn responsibility for a state is the taking of a life,” Fallin said in a statement Friday. “The state needs to be certain that its protoc…

From Forensic Science to Lethal Injections, Here Is the Worst Anti-Science BS of 2017

Criminal justice, education, environment, medicine—nothing was spared from the war on science.
On a rainy day in April, 100,000 demonstrators—led by some of the nation’s most prominent scientists—converged on the National Mall for the first ever March for Science. It was Earth Day, and many of them were there to protest the environmental policies of a president who once insisted that global warming was a Chinese hoax. But climate change wasn’t the only thing on the marchers’ minds. Donald Trump, after all, has a history of making dangerously unscientific statements about everything from vaccines to criminal justice to football. Satellite marches took place across the country and around the world; organizers estimated that some 1.1 million people participated.
Many politicians were apparently unimpressed. 2017 obviously wasn’t the first year to be plagued by public policy decisions that disregarded scientific facts, but the Trump era has taken this phenomenon to a whole new level. We’v…