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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Lawyer: Alabama won't try again to kill inmate who survived February execution attempt

Doyle Lee Hamm
The state of Alabama has agreed to not set any more execution dates for an inmate who survived his February execution attempt after officials couldn't start his IV before midnight.

According to a press release from Hamm's lawyer Bernard Harcourt, he and lawyers from the Alabama Attorney General's Office entered into a confidential settlement agreement Monday that resolves all pending litigation in both federal and state courts regarding Doyle Lee Hamm's execution.

The settlement will end efforts to set another execution date, the press release stated.

Harcourt said the settlement "comes after lengthy, fruitful discussions" with the AG's Office. "I cannot discuss the terms of the agreement, but I will say that Doyle, his family, and his legal team are extremely relieved," Harcourt said.

The Feb. 22 execution date came after months of legal battles revolving around whether Hamm's veins were able to handle the IV required for the lethal drugs. Harcourt argued that Hamm's veins had become nearly impossible to access after years of intravenous drug use and Hamm's diagnosis, and treatment, of lymphatic cancer. The AG's Office argued Hamm's cancer is in remission and there was no reason he shouldn't be executed after spending 30 years on death row. [Take a deep breath and read that last sentence again, this time aloud. Then come back to the 21st century. - DPN Editor]

Hamm's scheduled execution was on Feb. 22 at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. Hamm, 61, was set to die at 6 p.m., but Alabama Department of Corrections officials did not begin preparing him for the execution until approximately 9 p.m., after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a temporary stay.

At approximately 11:30 p.m., ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn announced the state wouldn't be executing Hamm that night because medical personnel would not be able to prepare him for the procedure by midnight when the death warrant expired.

Dunn did not specify what exactly the problem was and what medical personnel had been doing for more than two hours between when the stay was lifted and when medical personnel advised officials on the situation. Court records filed the next day stated the execution team couldn't find a vein to insert the catheter needed for the lethal drugs.

Filings by Harcourt in the following days said staff tried to use Hamm's peripheral veins on his lower extremities, as a previous court order directed them to, but they couldn't find a vein on either leg or either ankle. After those attempts failed, medical personnel moved on to try a central venous line in Hamm's right groin--where, days earlier, an independent doctor who evaluated Hamm said there were abnormal lymph nodes. 

The settlement discussions began after that execution attempt.

Harcourt previously said Hamm was traumatized by the incident, but Tuesday called said the settlement "rewarding."

Hamm has been on death row for over 30 years, after he was convicted in the 1987 murder of Patrick Cunningham. Cunningham was shot in the head while working the overnight shift at Anderson's Motel in Cullman.

Assistant Attorney Generals Thomas Govan Jr. and Beth Jackson Hughes prosecuted the case. Harcourt was assisted by several law students from Columbia on his legal team.

Source: al.com,  Ivana Hrynkiw, March 27, 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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