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

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…

The Australians who were sentenced to death by foreign courts

Van Tuong Nguyen
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 Penang airport with 141.89 grams of heroin inside condoms packed in a money belt around his waist.

On December 2, 2005 Melbourne man Van Tuong Nguyen was hanged in Singapore’s Changi prison after being convicted of trafficking 396.2 grams of heroin. In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for drug smuggling.

In April 2015 Australian men Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed by Indonesian firing squads after all appeals against their death penalties were exhausted. They had been convicted of attempting to traffic 8.2kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.


Perth man Dominic Bird escaped the death penalty in Malaysia in 2014 after he was acquitted of trying to supply an undercover police officer with 167 grams of methamphetamine in March 2012.

He was acquitted after the prosecution’s case fell apart amid allegations of corruption against the prosecution’s police witness. Set free, he was just about to board a flight home to Australia when he was rearrested at the plane’s boarding gate.

Later the Court of Appeal threw out the prosecution’s bid to overturn the acquittal and Bird was set free for a second time.

He was represented by the same legal team as Exposto.

Melbourne woman Emma Louise L’Aiguille also escaped the death penalty in Malaysia, when in November 2012, prosecutors dropped drug trafficking charges against her after her lawyers, the same representing Exposto, argued there was no evidence she had any knowledge the drugs — 1kg of methamphetamine — were in the car she was driving in Kuala Lumpur.

Source: Daily Telegraph, Cindy Wockner, December 28, 2017

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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