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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…

U.N. Rapporteurs Call on U.S. Government to Halt Doyle Hamm’s Execution

Doyle Hamm
Planned US execution of seriously ill Doyle Hamm may amount to torture, UN experts warn

Press Release: United Nations Human Rights Commissioner

GENEVA (16 February 2018) – Two UN human rights experts have called on the US Government to halt the execution of a seriously ill man amid concerns that the use of a lethal injection could amount to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and possibly torture.

The Special Rapporteurs also expressed concern that Doyle Hamm, who is due be executed in Alabama on 22 February, may not have received a fair trial. Mr. Hamm was convicted of robbery and murder in 1987 and has been on death row for more than three decades.

The execution is due to go ahead even though Mr. Hamm has cancer and medical professionals have previously had difficulty accessing his veins.

“We are seriously concerned that attempts to insert needles into Mr. Hamm’s veins to carry out the lethal injection would inflict pain and suffering that may amount to torture,” said the experts.

“The planned method of execution, using Alabama’s three-drug protocol, may also have torturous effects, because the sedative used is incapable of keeping a convict unconscious in the presence of the excruciating pain likely to be induced by the other drugs.

“We urge the authorities to halt his execution, annul his death sentence, and hold a re-trial that complies with international standards, as we have received information indicating that his original trial did not fully respect the most stringent due process and fair trial guarantees.”

The experts said that imposing the death penalty in a manner that constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment would render the execution arbitrary in nature and thus be in violation of the fundamental right to life.

The experts have written to the US Government to express their concerns about the case.

Judges have ordered a fresh medical report to be delivered by 20 February, two days before the scheduled execution.

Source: blogs.law.columbia.edu, February 18, 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?