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2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

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With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from the previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the t…

Ohio Death Penalty Sentencing Process Ruled Constitutional

Jury box
Ohio's death penalty sentencing process is different in critical ways from a Florida sentencing scheme struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today. 

The state's high court unanimously rejected a Marion County man's challenge to the Ohio process, which he claimed violated an accused murderer's constitutional rights.

The ruling affirmed the death penalty of Maurice Mason, who was convicted of the rape and murder of Robbin Dennis in 1993. Mason had won the right to challenge his original death sentence in 2008. When his case went before the Marion County Common Pleas Court in 2016, he argued the U.S. Supreme Court's 2016 Hurst v. Florida decision, which invalidated that state's death penalty sentencing process, applies to Ohio. 

The trial court agreed that Ohio's scheme was unconstitutional based on Hurst. Marion County prosecutors appealed the decision, and later in 2016, the Third District Court of Appeals reversed the decision and affirmed the death sentence.

In Hurst, the U.S. Supreme Court found Florida's law violated the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's Sixth Amendment. 

Writing for the Ohio Supreme Court today, Justice Patrick F. Fischer explained that unlike procedures in Florida and other states, an Ohio jury makes every necessary finding to impose a death sentence, and that satisfies the Sixth Amendment requirements.

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and Justices Judith L. French and R. Patrick DeWine joined Justice Fischer's opinion. Sixth District Court of Appeals Judge James D. Jensen, sitting for recused Justice Terrence O'Donnell, and Second District Court of Appeals Judge Michael T. Hall, sitting for recused former Justice William M. O'Neill, also joined the majority opinion.

Justice Sharon L. Kennedy delivered a concurring opinion, in which she wrote that the Ohio Supreme Court's 2016 State v. Belton decision already determined the that Hurst ruling did not invalidate Ohio's death penalty sentencing process.

Source: Court News Ohio, April 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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