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

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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…

Texas: Sherin Mathews' father charged with capital murder in 3-year-old's death

Wesley Mathews, Sherin Mathews, Sini Mathews
The father of Sherin Mathews has been charged with capital murder in the 3-year-old's October death, court records show.

Sherin was killed with "homicidal violence" before her adoptive father, Wesley Mathews hid her body in a Richardson culvert where it went undiscovered for weeks.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted him on the capital murder charge this week. The indictment says Mathews killed Sherin "by a manner and means unknown to the grand jury," court records show.

If convicted, Mathews could face the death penalty, should prosecutors choose to pursue it, or an automatic sentence of life without parole.

"We have not decided if we are actually going to seek death," Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said Friday.

Mathews, 37, was arrested in October on a felony injury to a child charge after the girl's body was found Oct. 22. He originally said he put her outside Oct. 7 because she wouldn't drink her milk. He later changed that story to say that the child choked on her milk.

He now faces 4 felony charges, including injury to a child and capital murder. He is also charged with abandoning a child and tampering with physical evidence.

Sherin's disappearance and death attracted worldwide attention and fascination to a little girl whose family appeared to favor their biological daughter to Sherin, who was adopted from India in 2016. The family's Richardson house had many but none of Sherin.

The Indian government suspended the U.S. adoption agency involved in placing Sherin with the Mathews family.

Her adoptive mother, Sini Mathews, was arrested on a charge of child abandonment or endangerment based on her husband's admission to investigators that they went out to dinner and left Sherin alone the night before she died. Sini Mathews is a registered nurse.

Autopsy results were pending for several months. The Dallas County medical examiner's office said on Jan. 3 that Sherin's death had been ruled a homicide. It did not offer many details on what may have caused Sherin's death.

The couple is also involved in a custody case for the surviving, biological daughter.

A Dallas juvenile court judge, Cheryl Lee Shannon, has already blocked Wesley and Sini Mathews from having contact with their surviving daughter. The girl is living with relatives although the court has not yet decided on a permanent solution and whether the Mathewses will retain their parental rights.

Sherin's death isn't the first time suspicions were raised.

A doctor contacted CPS after finding multiple fractures in various stages of healing in March. Sherin suffered injuries to her upper-arm bones and fractures in her leg bones that were in various stages of healing, according to court testimony.

The doctor, Suzanne Dakil of the Referral and Evaluation of At Risk Children Clinic, testified at a hearing involving custody of the couple's biological daughter that she suspected Sherin had been injured at the hands of her parents.

"I had no explanation other than this child had been physically abused," Dakil testified.

Source: Dallas Morning News, Tasha Tsiaperas  Jennifer Emily, January 13, 2018


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