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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Alabama death row inmate Borden found dead in cell

Jeffrey Borden
Alabama death row inmate Jeffrey Lynn Borden, 57, has died of an apparent suicide, according to the state Department of Corrections.

According to information released Sunday afternoon by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), Borden was found "hanging by a bed sheet in his cell at approximately 2:30 a.m. during a security check." Borden was pronounced dead at 3 p.m.

The ADOC statement said Borden's remains had been turned over to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

John Palombi, a federal defender who'd represented Borden, issued the following statement: "We are saddened to hear of Mr. Borden's apparent suicide. Mr. Borden suffered from severe mental illness and chronic physical pain, both of which were undertreated by the Department of Corrections despite their knowledge of these issues. We hope that the conditions that led to underfunding and understaffing of the Department, and thus contributed to Mr. Borden's death, will be remedied."

Borden had been on death row since 1995, when he was sentenced for the 1993 murders of Cheryl Borden and Roland Harris. The murders took place at a family gathering in Gardendale on Christmas Eve; according to a summary presented at trial, Borden had traveled from Huntsville to Gardendale to deliver his three children by Cheryl Borden, his legally separate wife. After Cheryl Borden arrived on the scene, Jeffrey Borden shot her in the back of her head outside the house in the presence of the children. Borden then shot Roland Harris, his wife's father, in the back as Harris tried to run into the house. The jury recommended death on a 10-2 vote.

In August 2017, the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sought execution dates for Borden and two other inmates, Doyle Lee Hamm and Torrey Twane McNabb. 

McNabb was executed on Oct. 19; an attempt to execute Hamm if February was called off after difficulties preparing Hamm for lethal injection. Since then, the state has been ordered to release its execution protocol.

Borden had been scheduled to die Oct. 5. That was postponed after a stay was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Keith Watkins. Watkins lifted that stay in November and in February rejected a request from Borden's attorneys to reinstate it.

According to ADOC information, as of Sunday Borden had spent 24 years, five months and 4 days in prison.

Source: AL.com, Lawrence Specker, June 3, 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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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?