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Showing posts from September, 2018

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Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

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Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

Japan: Few question the death penalty for heinous crimes

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Should murderers be put to death? Yes, says Japan. No, says (increasingly) much of the rest of the world. Japan swims against the current.
The execution of criminals — not just murderers — was formerly, in Japan as elsewhere, a matter of course. The social order was sacred, no quarter given to the disorderly — a broad swath that might include thieves, adulterers, abettors of adultery, Christians, even persons found lacking in Confucian filial piety.
Beheading, as befits a sword-wielding nation, was the preferred method of dispatch, but crucifixion and burning at the stake were alternate possibilities. Executions were public. They were entertainment; they were deterrent. Severed heads were displayed for public gawking on specially constructed gibbets.
We congratulate ourselves today on living in more humane times. Amnesty International in its charter expresses the broad current of world opinion: “The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-…

Malaysia: Lens on Death Penalty

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AGILANDEWARI Mainthan was just three years old when she was last held by her father.
Her father, Mainthan, has spent the last 14 years on death row after being convicted of murder, a murder he claims he did not commit. Multiple discrepancies abound in the case, yet, Mainthan remains behind bars.
The impact and effect of the death penalty in Malaysia has long been debated, hence, when lawyers Seira Sacha Abu Bakar and Sherrie Razak heard about Mainthan’s case from their friend, human rights lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad who represented him for his second review application at the Federal Court, they knew straight away that they have to highlight his story in a documentary.
“We wanted to let people know about the severity of the death penalty and the impact it brings to individuals, that is why we created our story of Menunggu Masa, which means waiting for time,” says Sherrie, who with her long-time friend Seira Sacha form the documentary filmmaking duo S-Ploited.
Since they won the Freedo…

Pakistan: Former judge handed death penalty for murder

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KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court here on Saturday handed down death penalty to a former district judge, Sikandar Lashari, in a case pertaining to the murder of his fellow judge’s son in Hyderabad. 
The then district and session judge Mithi, Sikandar Lashari, was among half a dozen accused charged with the murder of 19-year-old Aqib Shahani, son of judge Khalid Hussain Shahani on February 19, 2014.
He was taken into custody on March 5 after the Sindh High Court suspended him from his post.
According to the case (FIR 12/2014) lodged on a complaint of the deceased’s cousin Hunain, Aqib, alias Kashif, was driving his car when armed men in another car intercepted him on Thandi Sarak, Hyderabad.
They took him out of his car and sprayed him with bullets. He was shot dead in front of his mother, Shamsunissa, sisters, Komal and Nimra, and a cousin, Hunain, near Niaz Cricket Stadium on February 19, 2014.
The FIR was registered at GOR police station under sections 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code…

Judge stops Nevada from using drug in execution

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A judge on Friday prohibited the Nevada prison system from using its supply of a sedative in the lethal injection of condemned killer Scott Dozier, essentially halting the possible execution for the foreseeable future.
While District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez denied a preliminary injunction regarding two other drugs in the state's 3-drug cocktail, Department of Corrections officials have stated repeatedly that they would only proceed with the trio of drugs in the execution protocol.
In a 43-page order handed down late Friday afternoon, Gonzalez wrote that prison officials obtained Alvogen's sedative midazolam through "subterfuge," adding that the purchase was made in "stark contrast" to previous attempts to buy medication for capital punishment.
Nevada's prison director, James Dzurenda, testified earlier this month that he disregarded letters from 3 drug manufacturers who did not want their medication used in an execution.
He acknowledged receiving a me…

EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemn death sentences issued in Gaza

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The European Union Representative and the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned on Thursday the death sentences issued in the Gaza Strip on 9 September against 2 Palestinians convicted of murder.
A statement by the Missions said the EU considers capital punishment to be "cruel and inhuman" and therefore "abolition of the death penalty contributes to the protection of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights."
They called on the "de facto authorities in Gaza" to "refrain from carrying out any executions of prisoners and comply with the moratorium on executions put in place by the Palestinian Authority, pending the abolition of the death penalty in line with the global trend and following the signing of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
Gaza courts issued 2 separate death sentences on September 9 against 2 people convicted of murder in Gaza City and Kh…

Indonesia: Bengkalis court sentences 2 drug traffickers to death

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The Bengkalis District Court in Riau sentenced 2 people to death on Wednesday after they were found guilty of violating the Narcotics Law by transporting 10 kilograms of powdered methamphetamine. 
According to court documents, the police arrested 38-year-old M. Hanafi of Batubara, North Sumatra, and Riko Fernando of Pekanbaru, Riau, after they were caught transporting pressed methamphetamine powder last December during a raid in Siak Kecil district, Bengkalis regency, Riau. 
Both Hanafi and Riko claimed that they were instructed by a Lampung Prison inmate to deliver the meth packages from Dumai, Riau, to Lampung for Rp 130 million (US$8,700). However, they had only received Rp 4 million as transport money. 
They said they had no idea where the packages of meth had come from as they were only ordered to pick up the packages from Dumai. 
The prosecutor from the Bengkalis District Attorney's Office demanded the defendants receive capital punishment as per the 2009 Narcotic…

U.S. To Seek Death Penalty For Suspect In Bike Path Terror Attack

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New information on 2017’s deadly West Side Highway bike path terror attack.
Federal prosecutors have confirmed that the U.S. Justice Department will seek the death penalty for 30-year-old suspect Sayfullo Saipov.
The horrific scene unfolded on Halloween last year in Lower Manhattan when Saipov allegedly drove a rented pickup truck into cyclists and runners along the bike path. 
Eight people were killed and nearly a dozen more were injured.
MORE: Witnesses Describe Horror Of Deadly Terror Attack On West Side Bike Path
Prosecutors accuse Saipov of being an ISIS sympathizer.
The terror suspect’s defense attorney attempted to have capital punishment taken off the table after President Donald Trump publicly endorsed Saipov’s possible execution on a tweet.
Government filings released Friday declared that the deadly rampage met the legal standards for prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
The trial is expected to begin Oct. 7, 2019.
Source:newyork.cbslocal.com, Septem…

Trump orders FBI probe into Kavanaugh; Senate vote delayed

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Washington (CNN) -- Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation was suddenly thrown into doubt Friday after Republicans and the White House agreed to a one-week delay so that the FBI can investigate sexual assault allegations facing President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
"I've ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh's file," Trump said in a statement. "As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week."
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake first made the demand for the FBI probe after a chaotic scene at a Judiciary Committee meeting in which the panel advanced Kavanaugh by a 11-10 party line vote. Swing votes Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin subsequently backed an FBI investigation before they'll vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there would still be a procedural vote t…

SCOTUS: Why Brett Kavanaugh Wasn’t Believable

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Judge Kavanaugh’s defiant fury might be understandable coming from someone who believes himself innocent of the grotesque charges he’s facing. Yet it was also evidence of an unsettling temperament in a man trying to persuade the nation of his judicial demeanor.
Judge Kavanaugh’s biggest problem was not his demeanor but his credibility, which has been called in question on multiple issues for more than a decade, and has been an issue again throughout his Supreme Court confirmation process.
On Thursday, he gave misleading answers to questions about seemingly small matters — sharpening doubts about his honesty about far more significant ones. He gave coy answers when pressed about what was clearly a sexual innuendo in his high-school yearbook. He insisted over and over that others Dr. Blasey named as attending the gathering had “said it didn’t happen,” when in fact at least two of them have said only that they don’t recall it — and one of them told a reporter that she believes Dr. Blase…

Texas executes Daniel Acker

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Acker was convicted in the 2000 murder of his girlfriend in East Texas. Her body was found on the side of the road after neighbors said they saw him abduct her.
For the second time in two days, Texas carried out an execution Thursday. It was the state’s 10th execution of the year, and the 18th in the nation.
Daniel Acker, 46, was put to death in Huntsville’s execution chamber hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his last appeal, just 24 hours after another man, Troy Clark, died by lethal injection in the same spot.
Acker was sentenced to death in the 2000 East Texas murder of his girlfriend, 32-year-old Marquetta George. Her body was found on the side of the road several miles away from the trailer they shared in Hopkins County after their neighbors said they saw Acker grab her, toss her over his shoulder and shove her into his truck, according to court records. Acker had maintained that he was taking her to confront a man she had slept with and she jumped from his moving vehicle…