Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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…

Nevada court considers allowing first execution since 2006

Nevada's Supreme Court is considering whether to allow the state to move forward with its 1st execution of a death row inmate in 12 years.

Federal public defenders and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging Nevada's plan to use a combination of 3 drugs never tried before in the United States.

Twice-convicted killer Scott Raymond Dozier says he wants to be put to death as soon as possible, and doesn't care what drugs are used in the fatal injection that a judge in Las Vegas blocked in November after opponents argued one of the drugs could cover up potential suffering.

The Supreme Court scheduled an hour's worth of oral arguments Tuesday in Carson City. A ruling is not expected Tuesday and could be months away.

The ACLU says the experimental mixture of drugs includes a paralytic that's illegal to use when euthanizing pets in Nevada.

It says the execution would violate the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting "cruel and unusual punishment" as well the Nevada constitution, which outlaws "either" cruel or unusual punishment.

Among the questions the federal public defender and ACLU say must be answered is whether the state is required to establish the "severity and duration of pain likely to be produced." They argue Dozier could be "awake and aware for several minutes while suffering and suffocating to death."

ACLU lawyer Amy Rose said it could result "in a tortuous death akin to waterboarding."

"Causing death by suffocation is not only cruel, but torture," she said last week.

Dozier, 47, was found guilty of the 2007 murder and dismemberment of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller, whose torso was found in a suitcase dumped into a trash bin in Las Vegas. He also was convicted in 2005 of second-degree murder of another victim, whose torso was found buried in the Arizona desert.

"My overarching and near singular desire is to get my execution done as expeditiously as possible," Dozier wrote in a handwritten note Dec. 12 letter from Ely state prison.

"The bottom line is: It's his choice," chief Clark County district attorney Jonathan VanBoskerck said.

Nevada has executed 12 inmates since capital punishment was reinstated by the legislature in 1977. The last was Daryl Mack, who was put to death by lethal injection on April 26, 2006 for the 1988 rape and murder of a Reno woman, Betty Jane May.

Nevada is among several states that have struggled in recent years to find drugs after pharmaceutical companies and distributors banned their use in executions.

The Nevada Department of Corrections wants to use a 3-drug mix including the sedative diazepam, commonly known as Valium, the powerful opioid painkiller fentanyl and the paralytic, cisatracurium.

Dozier's execution was called off last November after Clark County Judge Jennifer Togliatti in Las Vegas decided prison officials could use the first 2 drugs, which an expert medical witness testified would probably be enough to cause death. She temporarily banned the use of the paralytic out of concerns that its effect would prevent witnesses from seeing indications of pain if Dozier suffers.

Source:  Associated Press, May 10, 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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