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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…

Northeast Texas man on death row for strangling girlfriend turned down by SCOTUS

Daniel Acker
The U.S. Supreme Court turned down Daniel Acker's appeal on Monday.

A northeast Texas man convicted of strangling his girlfriend moved one step closer to a possible execution date after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down his appeal despite what his lawyer described as a "compelling case of actual innocence."

Daniel Acker was sent to death row in 2001 for the slaying of Marquetta George. The two were sharing a rented trailer in Hopkins County in March 2000 when they got in a fight after a night at the Bustin' Loose nightclub.

Afterward, they parted ways and later Acker went searching for the 32-year-old Sulphur Springs woman, according to court filings. Her body was eventually found bloodied and beaten on the side of a road, and investigators fingered Acker for the killing.

At trial, the defense argued that George jumped out of the couple's truck and was hit. Prosecutors said her boyfriend strangled her, then dumped her body.

Acker was sentenced to death and has spent the past 18 years fighting his case, at times filing appeals on his own.

The latest appeal, filed by attorney A. Richard Ellis, argued that prosecutors used false testimony from experts and repeatedly changed their theory of the crime. The case at trial was predicated on the theory that George was strangled - and the defense argued that she wasn't, and that an expert for the state later admitted it.

Ellis also contended that the trial court of wrongly refused to allow evidence that could have shown Acker's innocence.

But this week the nation's highest court without comment turned down the case.

"I am of course very disappointed that the Supreme Court declined to review Mr. Acker's compelling case of actual innocence," Ellis said.

"This was a tragic accident, where the victim jumped from Mr. Acker's truck -- an accident for which he has taken full responsibility from the time he turned himself in to the authorities -- but not a murder," he continued. "Going forward, we will be assessing our options to prevent a terrible miscarriage of justice."

Acker does not yet have an execution date set.

Source: Houston Chronicle, Keri Blakinger, April 16, 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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