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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Japan: Justice Minister orders all Aum doomsday cult’s trial, execution records to be permanently preserved

Aum cult leader Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara.
Authorities have decided to permanently preserve trial records of criminal cases involving the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult as part of efforts to prevent a repeat of the serious crimes committed by its members, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Friday.

“Their crimes were unprecedented, and similar crimes should never happen again. It is my important duty to stop (the records) from being discarded while ensuring they are passed down to future generations,” said Kamikawa, under whose orders all 13 Aum death-row inmates, including founder Shoko Asahara, were executed last month.

It is extremely rare for the ministry to announce which criminal cases will have their trial records permanently preserved.

In addition to the trial documents, administrative records related to the executions are to be retained indefinitely, Kamikawa said. “I expect them to be stored in the National Archives in the future.”

Trial records, such as defendants’ statements, are normally disposed of after being held by prosecutors for a prescribed period of time.

When a case is considered meaningful for academic research or helpful for investigations of future crimes, the justice minister can order the preservation of related documents. As of the end of July, documents from 722 cases had been listed for conservation, but the ministry has not revealed the names of the people involved.

Most Aum-related records have been retained, but some — such as cases in which defendants were charged for minor crimes and sentenced to a fine — have already been discarded. A total of 190 people, including the 13 senior members hanged in July, were convicted.

A group of academics and journalists petitioned the ministry to retain the documents in April. They said the records should be retained because they are the property of the public and will be valuable for research into issues involving cults and terrorism.

Shizue Takahashi, whose husband died in the 1995 Aum sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway system, assented to the petition and expressed her hope that it will be successful.

Source: japantimes.co.jp, August 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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