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Why Tom Daley saying he’s a proud gay Olympian is ‘necessary’: 10 nations taking part in this year’s Tokyo Olympics prescribe the death penalty for homosexuals

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An author has expertly explained why Tom Daley saying he’s proud to be gay at the Olympics is necessary, actually. Following Tom Daley’s groundbreaking victory in the men’s synchronised 10m platform dive during the Tokyo Olympics, the Team GB athlete said: “I am proud to say I am a gay man and an Olympic champion.” While many celebrated Daley’s win and his pride in being a part of the LBGT+ community, others were critical and argued that “mentioning his sexuality” wasn’t necessary. One particular troll tweeted: “His sexual preference bears no relation to his skills.” Author of The Complete David Bowie Nicholas Pegg expertly replied to the thread, explaining that it was in fact “necessary” for Daley to mention his sexuality at the Olympics because many countries competing oppose LGBT+ rights. He wrote: “There are 10 nations taking part in this year’s Tokyo Olympics which prescribe the death penalty for homosexuality. “They would literally execute Tom Daley.” The list includes Afghanista

USA | Man whose case helped end death penalty in Illinois dies

Anthony Porter
A former Illinois death row inmate whose exoneration became an incentive to end the death penalty in Illinois has died

A former death row inmate—whose exoneration led to the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois—has died at 66.

Anthony Porter died this week, his former attorney Jim Montgomery told WBBM Radio.

"Tony had a pretty tough lifestyle. He was a man who came up on the street and did not make much changes in his lifestyle from the time he exited the penitentiary," Montgomery said.

According to Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, Porter died from an "anoxic brain injury, probable opioid toxicity." His death was ruled an accident.

Porter was sentenced to death for the 1982 murder of a teenage couple, Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green, in a park on Chicago's South Side.

In 1998, he was two days away from being executed when a judge granted a stay after his attorneys argued that his low IQ meant he was not capable of understanding why he was being executed.

The following year, Porter was exonerated and freed after almost 17 years on death row because another man, Alstory Simon, confessed to the double murder on videotape during an investigation by a team of journalism students from Northwestern University.

Simon was convicted and sentenced to 37 years in prison in 1999.

However, Cook County State's Attorney's Office re-examined Simon's conviction in 2013 after he recanted his confession, saying he had been tricked into making it by a private investigator who was working with David Protess, a journalism professor at Northwestern.

Simon said the investigator, Paul Ciolino, had told him he would serve only a short sentence and would receive a share of the profits from a book and movie deals generated by the case. The investigator strongly denies framing Simon and is suing for defamation over the claims.

Jennifer Bonjean, a lawyer representing Ciolino, told Newsweek on Thursday: "We finally will have the opportunity to prove that a group of strongly pro-police lawyers, their investigator, and a Chicago Police officer publicly peddled the lie that Ciolino framed Alstory Simon by coercing a videotaped confession from him.

"The goal of this group was to discredit Ciolino personally and more broadly to discredit the community of lawyers, journalists and activists exposing wrongful convictions in Illinois. There will be a trial and the truth will be revealed, which is that Porter was innocent of the Hillard-Green murders and Simon voluntarily confessed to committing the crimes because he did, in fact, commit the crimes."

Simon was released from prison in October 2014. The murders of Hillard and Green remain unsolved.

In a 2014 press conference about Simon's release, then State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said the investigation of the case was "so deeply corroded and corrupted that we can no longer maintain the legitimacy of this conviction."

Alvarez also said the case against Simon had been tainted by the questionable methods employed by Protess, who left Northwestern in 2011. A 2014 documentary, A Murder in the Park, examined the Northwestern investigation.

After his release, Porter filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Chicago. But the city argued that he was guilty of the murders, and Porter lost the lawsuit, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Porter's exoneration in 1999 reignited the debate about the death penalty in Illinois and helped persuade former Gov. George Ryan to halt all executions in the state. In 2003, just before leaving office, Ryan emptied death row by commuting all death sentences to life in prison.

The Illinois state legislature abolished the death penalty in 2011.

Porter was arrested in 2011 for stealing deodorant from a Chicago pharmacy. He pleaded guilty to retail theft and was sentenced in 2012 to one year in prison.

Source: NEWSWEEK, K. Rahman, July 8, 2021

Anthony Porter, Exoneree Whose Case Spurred Abolition of Death Penalty in Illinois, Has Died


George Ryan
Anthony Porter, an Illinois death-row exoneree whose case sparked a chain of events that ultimately led the state to abolish the death penalty, has died. He was 66 years old.

In 1983, Porter was convicted and sentenced to death of the murder of 2 teenagers in a southside Chicago park. No physical evidence linked him to the murders, but after more than 17 hours of coercive interrogation, another man, William Taylor, told police that he had seen Porter commit the murders.

Porter came within 50 hours of execution in September 1998, when the Illinois Supreme Court, concerned that Porter was mentally incompetent because of his low IQ, issued a stay and ordered a hearing on his mental capacity. While that hearing was pending, journalism students at Northwestern University began investigating his case and found that Taylor, who was in the park’s swimming pool at the time of the murders, could not have seen the killings. Taylor recanted his testimony and signed an affidavit saying that Chicago police had threatened, harassed, and intimidated him into naming Porter.

The students’ investigation led them to another man who was arrested for the murders. Porter was exonerated in 1999.

After gaining his freedom, Porter’s 17 years of wrongful incarceration, intellectual impairments, and lack of meaningful compensation left him unable to care for himself. He told the Chicago Tribune in February 1999, “Everybody keeps talking about a job. A job is all right but they took 17 years out of my life. What kind of job am I going to do?” The $145,875 in restitution from Illinois in 2000 was the sole compensation he received.

Porter’s death was announced July 7, 2021 by Jim Montgomery, who represented Porter in an unsuccessful civil suit against the city of Chicago arising out of Porter’s wrongful conviction. Montgomery told WBBM Newsradio that Porter had died earlier in the week.

In the wake of Porter’s exoneration, Governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on executions in January 2000 and established a special governor’s commission to study the state’s death penalty system. In announcing the moratorium, Ryan said, “I cannot support a system which … has proven so fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state’s taking of innocent life.”

On January 10, 2003, 3 days before his term of office ended, Ryan issued pardons to four death-row prisoners whom he concluded were innocent. The following day, he issued the largest blanket grant of clemency to death-row prisoners in U.S. history, commuting the sentences of the state’s 167 death row prisoners to life terms. Ryan’s 171 grants of clemency account for nearly 60% of the 294 humanitarian grants of clemency to U.S. death-row prisoners since 1976.

Porter’s post-conviction lawyer, Lawrence Marshall, who later became co-founder and legal director of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, called Porter’s case “perhaps the most significant” of the Illinois cases that led to Governor Ryan’s clemencies. Marshall, who is now a professor at Stanford Law School, told the Chicago Tribune that “[t]he spectacle of [Porter] having come so close to execution, literally within two days, literally having been fit for a suit for the coffin, and only later through Northwestern students for the truth to emerge about his absolute innocence was something that was hard for any fair-minded person to ignore. It generated a sense of outrage. I remember it being said that several people said, ‘What does it mean that we need college students to be able to determine that we have an innocent man we’re about to kill?’ So it was very moving.”

Ryan’s action precipitated the end of the death penalty in Illinois. On March 9, 2011, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill repealing the death penalty, replacing it with a sentence of life without parole. Quinn also commuted the death sentences of the 15 people then on the state’s death row to life without parole.

In a Discussions With DPIC podcast in October 2020, Governor Ryan told DPIC Executive Director Robert Dunham that Porter’s exoneration and release opened his eyes to problems with capital punishment as administered in Illinois. “I was just a few months into my term when I was sitting in the Mansion in Springfield, Illinois, watching the news out of Chicago,” Ryan said. “My wife and I were there. The news says that here’s a … guy named Anthony Porter, who just been released after 16 years on death row. …

“I said to my wife, how does that happen in America? How do you … put somebody in jail for 16 years of their life and each morning, when they wake up, they have to wonder, ‘Today, am I going to get executed or not?’ … So that’s what really triggered my total thought on it. And that’s when I started to look into things.”

Many exonerees are targets of efforts by police and prosecutors to disparage their innocence, and Porter faced a virulent version of that phenomenon. In 2014, Simon recanted his confession, claiming that Paul Ciolino, an investigator working with the students, and their professor David Protess had coerced him into admitting having committed the killings. Without going so far as to say Porter was guilty, then-State Attorney Anita Alvarez asked the Illinois courts to release Simon, citing alleged uncertainty over who had committed the murders.

Ciolino has filed a defamation suit against Simon alleging, in the words of his attorney, Jennifer Bonjean “that a group of strongly pro-police lawyers, their investigator, and a Chicago Police officer publicly peddled the lie that Ciolino framed Alstory Simon by coercing a videotaped confession from him.”

15 people have been exonerated from death-row in Cook County since 1973, more than twice as many as in any other county in the United States. A DPIC analysis of the exoneration data found that all of those cases involved either official misconduct or perjury/false accusation and 13 of the 15 involved both.

Source: Death Penalty Information Center, Staff, July 10, 2021


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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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