Japan | Hakamada case underscores folly of maintaining death penalty

The Tokyo High Court’s decision on March 13 to grant a retrial for an 87-year-old man who spent decades on death row strongly shows that he was wrongly convicted. The retrial should be held immediately to provide a legal remedy for Iwao Hakamada. In granting the retrial in the high-profile case, the high court said reasonable doubt has arisen on the guilt of Hakamada. He was arrested on suspicion of murder in August 1966, two months after an executive of a miso-producing company and three of his family members were killed in what is now Shizuoka. Hakamada, who had worked at the miso company, spent most of his adult life in detention. His latest request for a retrial was filed 15 years ago.

Texas Withdraws Execution Date to Allow for Mental Competency Consideration

A Grayson County, Texas court has withdrawn the April 5, 2023 execution date for Andre Thomas (pictured), a seriously mentally ill prisoner whose legal team requested more time to demonstrate that Thomas is incompetent to be executed. 

While incarcerated, Thomas gouged out his own eyes and claimed divine direction for his crimes.

More than 100 religious leaders, along with other experts, had asked Gov. Greg Abbott to halt Thomas’ execution.

“The Court was right to follow the Constitution by withdrawing Andre Thomas’s execution date,” said Maurie Levin, an attorney for Thomas. 

“The Constitution and Texas law forbid the execution of people who are insane. Mr. Thomas is such a person, as he is not competent to be executed, lacking a rational understanding of the State’s reason for his execution…Mr. Thomas is one of the most mentally ill prisoners in Texas history, having gouged out both of his eyes and eaten one of them. He has endured a profound and lifelong mental illness … Guiding this blind psychotic man to the gurney for execution offends our sense of humanity and serves no legitimate purpose.”

On March 7, 2023, the same day that Thomas’s execution date was withdrawn, Texas executed Gary Green. 

Green’s attorneys had argued that he was intellectually disabled and that he had schizoaffective disorder. 

Arthur Brown, Jr., who is scheduled to be executed in Texas on March 9, has also raised intellectual disability claims. 

Brown maintains his innocence and is seeking DNA testing of evidence. 

Texas is considering legislation that would bar the execution of those with severe mental illness.

Source: deathpenaltyinfo.org, Staff, March 8, 2023







"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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