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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…

Georgia: Judge rejects condemned inmate's argument for resentencing

Robert Earl Butts Jr.
A judge on Friday declined to hold a new sentencing for a condemned Georgia inmate who argued he should be resentenced because he wouldn't get the death penalty if he were sentenced today.

Robert Earl Butts Jr., 40, is scheduled to die May 3. He and 41-year-old Marion Wilson Jr. were convicted and sentenced to death in the March 1996 slaying of Donovan Corey Parks in central Georgia.

Butts' lawyers argued in a court filing earlier this week that he should have a new sentencing.

The murder for which Butts and Wilson were sentenced had a single victim. There was just one aggravating factor, a circumstance that increases the severity of a crime and increases the possible sentence. According to sentencing data obtained and analyzed by Butts' lawyers, no one has been sentenced to death for a murder with one victim and one aggravating factor in over a decade.

That fact, they argue, "raises a threshold inference that Butts' death sentence is grossly disproportionate," they argue.

Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Chief Judge William Prior Jr. on Friday declined to hold a new sentencing. The state Supreme Court has the responsibility of judging proportionality and has already determined Butts' sentence is not disproportionate, he wrote.

But even if his court were the appropriate place for the argument, Prior wrote, Butts unnecessarily waited until right before his execution to make the argument and failed to show that the data presented would be likely to result in a different result.

Butts and Wilson asked Parks for a ride outside a Walmart store in Milledgeville, about 93 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of Atlanta. After they'd gone a short distance they ordered him to stop the car, dragged him out and killed him with a single shot to the back of his head, prosecutors said.

They tried unsuccessfully to sell Parks' car and ended up driving it to a remote part of Macon and setting fire to it.

Appeals in Wilson's case are still pending.

Source: abc.news, Kate Brumback, The Associated Press, April, 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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