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Showing posts from February, 2020

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USA | States Continue to Oppose DNA Testing in Death Penalty Appeals, Attorneys Ask Why Don’t They Want to Learn the Truth?

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The last 3 men scheduled for execution in Georgia said they did not commit the killing and that DNA testing that was not available at the time of trial could prove it. In 2 of the cases, victim family members supported the request for testing. Prosecutors opposed the requests, and the courts refused to allow the testing. 2 of the 3 men were executed, with doubts still swirling as to their guilt.
Shawn Nolan, a federal defender who represented Georgia prisoner Ray “Jeff” Cromartie, summed up the sentiments of the prisoners, families, and defense attorneys in these cases. “I’d like to know what the state is so scared of,” he said. “Why are they afraid of the truth? This is sad and so disturbing.”
“We have the capability of testing a wide range of forensic evidence that we couldn’t test in the past,” said Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham. “It is a powerful tool to get to the truth and to get important answers as to whether the criminal legal system has b…

India | Nirbhaya case convicts to be executed on March 3

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Today's death warrant was issued after the Tihar jail authorities informed the trial court that three of the four convicts -- Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh and Akshay Singh -- have exhausted all legal options
New Delhi: The four convicts, who got death penalty for the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi - dubbed Nirbhaya by the media -- more than seven years ago, will be hanged on March 3, at 6 am. 
This is the third death warrant issued by the court. The two earlier ones could not be carried out as the convicts took it in turns to use every legal option available to them.
Today's death warrant was issued after the Tihar jail authorities informed the trial court that three of the four convicts -- Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh and Akshay Singh -- have exhausted all legal options and none of them have any correspondence pending at the moment.
That still leaves one convict who has not filed a curative petition or mercy plea to the Pre…

India | Nirbhaya case: Court order shortly on fresh death warrants

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New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) A Delhi court Monday said it will shortly pronounce order on the pleas seeking fresh death warrants for the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana reserved the order after hearings during which Mukesh Kumar Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the case told the court that he does not want to be represented by advocate Vrinda Grover.
The court then appointed advocate Ravi Qazi to represent Mukesh.
The court was also informed that another death row convict, Vinay Sharma, is on hunger strike in Tihar jail.
Vinay was assaulted in jail and has head injuries, his lawyer told the court, adding that he was suffering from acute mental illness and hence the death sentence cannot be carried out.
The court directed the Tihar jail superintendent to take appropriate care of Vinay as per law.
Another convict Pawan Gupta''s counsel told the court that he wanted to move curative petition befor…

China introduces death penalty for concealing coronavirus symptoms

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SKYNEWS - The Chinese authorities have criminalized the intentional concealment of the new Covid-19 coronavirus symptoms or distortion of information about the patient's condition. It is reported by Deutsche Welle with reference to a statement by a Chinese court.
The court ruling also said that concealing the history of one's travels could also be considered a criminal offense. Thus, the person who became the source of the infection and led to the spread of the virus will be accused of creating a threat to public safety and may be sentenced to 10 years in prison or life imprisonment or death penalty.
It is also reported that China’s National Health Commission has forbidden residents with coughing, fever, and other symptoms of a viral disease from traveling around the country in buses, trains, and airplanes. In addition, all citizens returning home after the holidays from the outbreak zone must remain at home or under the supervision of doctors for 14 days, and those who refus…

Japan | Prosecutors want death penalty for man accused of murdering 19 care home residents

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TOKYO: Japanese prosecutors on Monday (Feb 17) called for a 30-year-old man to be given the death penalty for allegedly murdering 19 disabled care home residents in one of the country's worst mass killings.
Satoshi Uematsu, a former care home employee, did not dispute his involvement in the 2016 stabbing rampage during his first court appearance last month in Yokohama.

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But his lawyers entered a plea of not guilty, saying their client was suffering a "mental disorder" linked to his use of marijuana.
Prosecutors have argued Uematsu was capable of taking responsibility for the attack, adding the rampage was "inhumane" and left "no room for leniency."
Hearings are to be concluded later this week, with the verdict expected on Mar 16, according to the local court.
Uematsu had reportedly said he wanted to eradicate all people with disabilities in the horr…

India | SC decides to fast-track hearing of criminal appeals in death penalty cases

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) In the backdrop of procedural delay in the Nirbhaya case, the Supreme Court has decided to fast-track the hearing of criminal appeals involving death penalty.
A circular was issued on Friday by the apex court saying all appeals must be listed for hearing not later than six months, no matter if the appeal is ready or not, a significant departure from the past when appeals from high courts did not come up for hearing for years.
"In a matter wherein, the High Court has confirmed/upheld death penalty, and this court has granted leave, the criminal appeal will be listed for hearing not later than six months before the three-judge bench from the grant of leave, irrespective of the fact that appeal is ready or not", said the circular of the top court.
The Centre has told the apex court that the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case have brazenly exploited the loopholes in the legal procedure in execution of death row convicts.
The circular said, "As soon…

Alabama | Nathaniel Woods to be executed on March 5

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Nathaniel Woods is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm local time on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at the Holeman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. 
44-year-old Nathaniel was sentenced to death for his part in the murder of three Birmingham police officers: 58-year-old Carlos Owen, 40-year-old Harley Chisholm III, and 33-year-old Charles Robert Bennett. 
Nathaniel has spent the last 14 years on death row in Alabama.
Nathaniel was spent most of his life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he went to high school.
On June 17, 2004, Birmingham police officers Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisholm III, Charles R. Bennett and Michael Collins were serving an arrest warrant on Nathaniel Woods at an apartment in Birmingham, Alabama. 
Woods had been spotted and identified earlier by the police at that location. The arrest warrant was for assault.

RELATED Execution set in 2004 murders of 3 Birmingham police officers
A man outside the apartment before the attempted arrest told the police that he wanted no …

Wyoming legislators won’t consider death penalty repeal

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WYOMING — With opposition to capital punishment mounting across the country, Wyoming toed the water but ultimately struck down any hope of repealing the death penalty.
Support for abolishing the death penalty in Wyoming appears to be growing but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide this time around, where a 2/3 supermajority would be needed in a budget session year. House Bill 166 failed introduction in the House Wednesday by a 37-23 vote.
All three Teton County representatives—Jim Roscoe-I, Andy Schwartz-D, and Michael Yin-D—voted for the repeal.
“We’re disappointed that legislators won’t consider a bill to repeal the death penalty this year, but our resolve to end this abhorrent practice remains strong,” said Sabrina King, director of campaigns for the ACLU of Wyoming who supported the bill. “The death penalty is costly, ineffective and it is disingenuous to keep it part of our criminal justice system. It is clear that a majority of the House supports repeal. We know by next year the …

Iran | 2 hanged in Adelabad Prison of Shiraz

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2 prisoners were hanged on Wednesday morning, February 12, 2020 in Adelabad Prison of Shiraz.
The 2 prisoners had been convicted in a common case of murder and rape.
Hadi Mahi and Sadeq Akbarpour were arrested in 2016 and subsequently sentenced to death. They were detained all the time in Adelabad Prison.
The news of the hangings of these 2 prisoners has not been announced by the state media.
Iran’s deliberate use of capital punishment has been a constant source of international outrage and condemnation. 
According to several independent international bodies, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran and Amnesty International, Iran is the leading state in executions per capita, 2nd only to China in terms of figures. 
Iran also tops the charts in the number of executions of minors and juvenile offenders.
Some 3,800 persons, including dozens of juveniles and 105 women have been executed during Hassan Rouhani’s tenure.
Iran Human Rights Monitor has recorded the executio…

India | Supreme Court Dismisses Vinay's Appeal Against Rejection Of Mercy Plea

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On Friday, a three-judge Supreme Court bench dismissed Nirbhaya case convict Vinay Sharma’s appeal against the President’s rejection of his mercy petition.
On Friday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna dismissed Nirbhaya case convict Vinay Sharma’s appeal against the President’s rejection of his mercy petition. 
Sharma’s counsel had put forth the contention that the President had ignored his adverse mental condition due to the torture in the jail. On the other hand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta denied this claim and asserted that the rapist was fit and of sound mind.  
The apex court agreed with the Centre that Sharma is medically fit and psychologically stable. Moreover, it rejected the argument that relevant materials were not forwarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the President. 
This verdict implies that Vinay Sharma has exhausted all possible legal remedies to stop his execution.  
MHA moves Supreme Court
Till now, Presiden…

Oklahoma to resume lethal injection executions

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Oklahoma will resume executions by the lethal injection method, officials said Thursday.
The surprise announcement came at a news conference by Gov. Kevin Stitt, Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Department Director Scott Crow.
Efforts will continue to develop a way to carry out the punishment with nitrogen gas, officials said. 
However, the law allowing the state to develop a method using nitrogen gas only allows nitrogen to be used if the drugs for lethal injection are unavailable.
It has been more than five years since the last execution in the state. 
The death penalty still has widespread support in Oklahoma despite the national ridicule that followed an injection mistake in 2014 and drug mix-ups in 2015.
"It is important that the state is implementing our death penalty law with a procedure that is humane and swift for those convicted of the most heinous of crimes," Gov. Stitt said. "Director Crow and Attorney General Mike Hunter have worked diligently …