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Showing posts from November, 2021

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Lethal injection: can pharma kill the death penalty?

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A recent problematic execution by lethal injection has reignited the debate about the ethics of using medical products to kill. In October, Oklahoma prison inmate John Marion Grant was executed by a lethal injection. Strapped to a gurney, Grant convulsed and vomited – highly unusual for the procedure – after being given midazolam, a sedative and the first of three drugs that are usually administered for lethal injection. Grant was declared unconscious around 15 minutes after receiving the first injection and died roughly six minutes after that. Extreme shortages resulting from the EU’s and pharma companies’ anti-execution moves have seen states seek alternative supplies illicitly from overseas manufacturers , obtain them from less-than-reputable compounding facilities and manufacturers , and experiment with alternative drugs and untested combinations . Now, this botched procedure – Oklahoma’s first lethal injection in six years after a spate of flawed executions in 2014 and 2015 – h

Florida | Father of Parkland Victim Wants Shooter 'Removed From This Earth the Fastest Way Possible'

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Fred Guttenberg, the father of a Parkland school shooting victim, said he wants to see Nikolas Cruz "removed from this earth the fastest way possible" as the 23-year-old waits for a jury to sentence him early next year. Guttenberg said that result could come "through a death penalty conviction or time in a prison with a general population," he told CNN on Monday. "But he serves no useful purpose, and I'd like to be able to move on from ever thinking of him again." Last month, Cruz pleaded guilty to killing 17 people during a 2018 shooting spree at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, in what became the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. His guilty plea to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder means 12 jurors will decide whether he gets the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Jury selection is scheduled to begin January 4. Last week, the families of dozens of Parkland shooting victims reached a record $13

Singapore | Appeal postponed for intellectually disabled Malaysian on death row

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KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore’s top court has postponed an appeal hearing challenging the death sentence of a Malaysian man who is believed to be mentally disabled, his lawyer said Tuesday (Nov 30). Defence lawyer M. Ravi said he had requested the hearing scheduled for Tuesday be delayed.  The Court of Appeal has not informed him of a new date, the lawyer added. The court didn't immediately reply to a request for comment from The Associated Press. The hearing was originally scheduled for Nov 10, a day before Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam was to be executed by hanging for trying to smuggle less than 43g (1.5 ounces) of heroin into the country. The appeal was postponed after the defendant was diagnosed with Covid-19. Previous attempts to reduce the 33-year-old Malaysian national's sentence to life in prison or receive a presidential pardon have failed, despite pleas from the international community and rights groups. Death penalty opponents say Nagaenthran’s IQ of 69 was disclosed during

Oklahoma | Eyewitnesses to John Grant's execution give conflicting accounts

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Strapped down to a gurney, the condemned inmate screamed profanities inside the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. The eyewitnesses to the state's first execution in more than six years agree on that point. RELATED | Oklahoma perfects the botching of executions They also agree convicted murderer John Marion Grant threw up on the gurney Oct. 28 . Their descriptions of what else happened during the lethal injection procedure differ sharply. Was it fast and smooth or horrifying? Did the inmate convulse violently, dry heave or simply cough? Did he go unconscious quickly or appear to be still awake minutes into it? Did he stop breathing 45 seconds after getting the first drug or continue to breathe for several minutes? RELATED |  Oklahoma | Physician: Governor should put an end to 'shameful' executions once and for all Across the country, Grant's execution is widely seen as Oklahoma's latest death penalty failure because of the media repor

California | Scott Peterson transferred from death row ahead of resentencing

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Peterson expected to receive life sentence without possibility of parole after state Supreme Court overturned death penalty Scott Peterson, who spent more than 15 years on death row in the 2002 murders of his pregnant wife and unborn son, was transferred from death row, officials confirmed Monday. Ahead of his resentencing where he is expected to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole, a spokesperson with San Mateo County's Superior Court told KCRA 3 Peterson was moved to a jail in the county on Monday. He is not able to post bail. Peterson was convicted in 2004 for the murders of his wife Laci and unborn son Conner. Laci was 28 years old and eight months pregnant at the time of her killing. He originally received a death sentence but that was overturned last year by the California Supreme Court because jurors who personally disagreed with the death penalty but were willing to impose it were improperly dismissed. He will no longer face the death penalty, but he c

Texas | Commentary: Death row inmate right; test DNA

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Ruben Gutierrez, who is facing execution , has asked for DNA testing of crime scene evidence for more than 10 years. The reasonable position is to test the DNA. The prosecutor’s position — blocking testing — is the unreasonable one. There should be nothing controversial about wanting to learn the truth. As a former elected Bexar County district attorney, I find the prosecution’s refusal to ensure accuracy in this case mystifying. The prosecutor has a moral, ethical and legal duty to see that justice is done. The prosecutor should be the one requesting DNA testing, not refusing it at every turn. At trial, the prosecution argued Gutierrez, either alone or with others, stabbed Escolastica Harrison. Gutierrez maintains he did not kill Harrison and that he had no knowledge that others were going to assault or kill her. The Brownsville police collected several pieces of evidence with biological material that are likely to contain the DNA of the person or people who killed Harrison. These ite

Alabama | Death-row inmate, 64, dies of cancer four years after surviving botched execution

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Doyle Hamm’s failed execution was likened to ‘torture’ after medical team struggled to find vein for lethal injection A three-decade death row inmate in Alabama has died of cancer four years after his sentence was postponed thanks to an excruciating failed execution . Doyle Hamm , 64, had been awaiting execution since he was convicted of murder in 1987, and was already terminally ill with lymphatic cancer when his execution was finally scheduled in 2017. When prison staff attempted to carry it out the following year, they not only failed to kill him but subjected him to a two-and-a-half hour ordeal of excruciating pain while they tried to find a vein through which he could be injected with lethal drugs. RELATED | Execution of Alabama inmate Doyle Lee Hamm called off RELATED |  Alabama: Lawyer calls aborted execution attempt for Doyle Lee Hamm 'torture' After the failed execution, Mr Hamm’s team filed a medical report detailing the injuries he sustained and the intensity of h

Clemency hearing Tuesday for Idaho death row inmate with cancer

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s parole board is scheduled to hold a hearing this week on a request to reduce the death penalty sentence of an inmate with terminal cancer to a sentence of life in prison. Idaho’s Commission of Pardons and Parole is scheduled to meet Tuesday to hear the request to commute the sentence of Gerald Ross Pizzuto Jr., who was convicted of a double murder in 1985, the Idaho Statesman reports. The commission agreed to the hearing in May, staying Pizzuto’s June 2 execution date. Pizzuto, 65, has been on death row for 35 years after being convicted for the July 1985 slayings of two gold prospectors at a cabin north of McCall. Pizzuto has bladder cancer, diabetes and heart disease and is confined to a wheelchair.  He’s been on hospice care since 2019, when doctors said he likely wouldn’t survive for another year. If the seven-member board grants Pizzuto clemency, Gov. Brad Little must approve the decision. Court records show Pizzuto’s life was marred by violence from ch

Death in Texas: Opinion

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Texas once again demonstrates that it can show the rest of the country the way and is now doing so at considerable expense to itself, by arguing a death penalty case in the United States Supreme Court. The current case is not the first time Texas has taken steps to address death penalty practices that have caught national attention. In 2011 it addressed the question of the death penalty prospect’s cuisine. It has long been a tradition in many states that in order to make the hours immediately preceding the execution of the death penalty more pleasant for its beneficiary, the beneficiary may select the last meal he or she will ever eat. Until 2011, the beneficiary of the death penalty in Texas could select whatever he or she wanted for a last meal. Since it was taking place in Texas, cost was no object. That changed in 2011, however, because of the egregious behavior of Lawrence Russell Brewer. On January 24, 1992, the day on which Lawrence was to be executed, Mr. Brewer could, accordin

Singapore: Call off execution of man with intellectual disability

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Ahead of the set appeal hearing before the planned execution of Malaysian national Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam , Amnesty International’s Singapore Researcher Rachel Chhoa-Howard said: “Singapore authorities must listen to the global outcry against executing Nagaenthran, whose case has shocked people around the world. This appeal hearing provides an opportunity to call off this horrific punishment against a man who may not fully understand what is happening to him.” “Nagaenthran’s case has been marred by multiple human rights violations including deep concerns about Nagaenthran’s intellectual disability, which UN experts have stressed would render his execution unlawful. Recent testimony from his family and lawyer about his current mental health condition reinforces these concerns.” “Singapore must act now to avoid a stain on its international reputation by commuting Nagaenthran’s sentence, and avoiding another case like this by urgently reforming its use of the death penalty, and introd

Iran | Man Executed for Drug Charges in Kerman, Man Executed for Drug Charges in Mashhad, Man Executed for Drug Charges in Zahedan

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 28, 2021: Baluch Heidar Ghaljayi was executed for drug-related offences in Kerman Central Prison. At least 108 prisoners, including two women, have been executed on drug-related charges in Iranian prisons in 2021 compared to 25 in 2020. According to Resanak, a Baluch man was executed in Kerman Central Prison on November 25. His identity has been established as Heidar Ghaljayi who was sentenced to death on drug-related charges. Heidar was arrested at a checkpoint in Kerman three years ago and had been detained at Kerman Central Prison since. He was deprived of the right to visit his family for the last time. At the time of writing, Heidar’s execution has not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran. Iran Human Rights previously reported the executions of Abdolsattar Shehbakhsh and Khan Mohammad Rahmatzehi at the same prison on the same day. According to Iran Human Rights’ Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, at least 25 people were