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Showing posts from October, 2023

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‘A Short Film About Killing’: The movie that brought an end to the Polish death penalty

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The most intellectually challenging film I have ever seen about capital punishment. Definitely a must-see. DPN review and YouTube trailer available in our 'Films & Documentaries' section — DPN editor As far as European cinema goes, there are few figures quite admired in critical circles as the inimitable Krzysztof Kieślowski. Known for his Dekalog series of 1989, as well as The Double Life of Veronique and the Three Colours trilogy, Kieślowski embodied everything so extraordinary about the power of European cinema and that of his native Poland in turn.

SCOTUS Denies Review to Texas Prisoner Sentenced to Death with Contested Junk Science

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On October 30, 2023, the United States Supreme Court denied Texas death-sentenced prisoner Brent Brewer’s petition for certiorari and clearing the way for his scheduled execution on November 9th. Mr. Brewer’s attorneys argue that unreliable “future dangerousness” junk science testimony from a psychiatrist who never even met Mr. Brewer resulted in his death sentence. At trial, the prosecution called Dr. Richard Coons as an expert witness to opine about Mr. Brewer’s future behavior. Despite never meeting with Mr. Brewer, Dr. Coons testified that he would “probably” join a prison gang while incarcerated, depicting him “as a terminally dangerous menace to society.” After hearing Dr. Coons’ testimony, the jury sentenced Mr. Brewer to death.

Texas | Brent Brewer was sentenced to death based on testimony of discredited psychiatrist who’d never met with him. Texas plans to execute Brewer on November 9

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Will junk science prevail? By April 1990, 19-year-old Brent Brewer was in the midst of a full-blown crisis.  A few weeks earlier, he’d been released from a hospital in Texas, where he’d been involuntarily committed for several months after his grandmother, with whom he was living, found a suicide note he’d written. In the midst of a relapse and with no place to stay, Brent and his girlfriend, whom he’d met at the hospital, asked a flooring store owner named Robert Doyle Laminack for a ride to an Amarillo-area Salvation Army. In the car, Brent and his girlfriend tried to rob Laminack at knifepoint. In the ensuing struggle, Brewer stabbed Laminack in the neck, killing him.

Japan | The Case of Iwao Hakamada: A Journey from Death Row to New Hope

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In the annals of Japan's criminal justice system, few cases have captured the nation's attention and stirred global outrage as much as that of Iwao Hakamada. His story is a tragic tale of wrongful conviction, decades spent on death row, and an ongoing fight for justice.  Circumstantial Evidence Iwao Hakamada's ordeal began in 1966 when he was arrested and charged with the brutal murder of a family of four in Shizuoka, Japan. 

Japan | Judge filed statement opposing prosecutors appeal against Hakamada retrial

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A new fact has come to light involving the retrial of Hakamada Iwao , who has been sentenced to death but has been pleading innocent for a murder case that occurred more than half a century ago. NHK has learned that Murayama Hiroaki, who was a presiding judge at the Shizuoka District Court in 2014, made a rare move of submitting a statement to a higher court 9 years ago.  It opposed an appeal by prosecutors against a retrial for Hakamada, who was convicted of killing a family of four in 1966.

Michigan | Federal prosecutors won’t seek death penalty against man charged in kidnapping, murder of 2-year-old

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This week, federal prosecutors said they won’t seek the death penalty against the man charged in the kidnapping and killing of 2-year-old, Wynter Smith. Defense Attorney, Sarissa Montague, shared how rare it is for someone in Michigan to face the execution chamber. Montague said the death penalty is meant for the very worst crimes. While allowed for some federal crimes, the death penalty was abolished in Michigan’s constitution back in 1846.

Alabama Death Row inmate ‘at peace’ three weeks before execution

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Casey McWhorter is scheduled to be the 1st man from Marshall County to die by execution. McWhorter, now 49 years old, was sentenced to the death penalty in 1994, following the 1993 murder of Edward Lee Williams. Earlier this month, Governor Kay Ivey set a 30-hour time frame for McWhorter’s execution. It is set to start at 12:00am on Thursday, November 16th and runs through 6:00am on Friday, November 17th.

Texas Execution Back On for David Renteria Ahead of November 16, 2023

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David Renteria is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. local time on Thursday, November 16, 2023, inside the Walls Unit execution chamber at the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  53-year-old David is convicted of kidnapping and murdering 5-year-old Alexandra Flores on November 18, 2001, in El Paso, Texas.  David has spent the last 19 years of his life on death row in Texas.

Alabama Gives Casey McWhorter Execution Date of November 16, 2023

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Casey McWhorter is scheduled to be executed anytime between 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 16, 2023, and 6:00 a.m. on Friday, November 17, 2023, at the Holman Correctional Facility near Atmore, Alabama.  49-year-old Casey is convicted of murdering Edward Lee Williams, Sr., on February 18, 1993, in Albertville, Alabama.  For the last 29 years, Casey has resided on Alabama’s death row.

Pakistan | Death sentence awarded in 14-year-old boy kidnapping, murder case

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A local court has convicted a man of kidnapping and killing a 14-year-old boy and handed down death sentence. Additional district and sessions judge Mohammad Ayaz Khan also ordered the convict, Sher Afzal of Rano Garhi area here, to pay Rs2 million compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased. He declared that “strong circumstantial and corroborative” evidence of the crime was available against the accused, while the mode and manner in which the prosecution had mentioned the commission of the offence and the connectivity of the accused with the commission of the offence was proved beyond any shadow of doubt.

Malaysia | Appeals court commutes death sentence for 3 convicted of murder

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The 3 men were previously sentenced to death on Oct 15, 2021 for causing the death of a 58-year-old man. The Court of Appeal today commuted the death sentence of 3 friends convicted of murder to imprisonment. A panel of 3 judges unanimously allowed the appeal by B Davendran, 30, K Neelamegan, 29, and P Hurisudhan, 32, to set aside their conviction under Section 302 of the Penal Code, replacing it with a conviction and punishment under Section 304(a) of the same Code.

Iran | Executions in Birjand, Karaj, Qazvin, Kerman

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); October 27, 2023: Four more men are reported to have been executed for drug-related charges in Birjand Central Prison on Thursday, increasing the number of executions that day at the prison to five people. According to Hal Vash, four men including a Baluch minority were executed in Birjand Central Prison on 26 October. Their identities have been reported as 55-year-old Mohammad Nabi Shahuzehi (Baluch), Mohammad Mirshah, Reza Shahraki and Omid Javini. All four men were sentenced to death for drug-related charges.

Vietnam sentences 6 to death for drug trafficking

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A Ho Chi Minh City court sentenced six people to death on Friday for trafficking 5.6 kg of heroin. The committee of judges said the convicted were involved with larger trafficking rings that distributed massive amounts of methamphetamine and ketamine, and thus deserved the harshest punishment. The convicted are: Tran Nhat Thuan, his brother Tran Nhat Thu, Ngo Van Loc and his wife Nguyen Thi My Kha, Huynh Thanh Hai and Nguyen Thanh Phu. Thuan, 47, said he met a person named Pham Trung Hieu, who is currently a fugitive from police, in 2019 and accepted Hieu’s offer to deliver drugs to his customers.

How Norway is Helping to Restore Humanity Inside U.S. Prisons

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As part of an innovative prison reform program, the Oregon State Penitentiary created a healing garden on its grounds to provide some respite from the concrete and resemble the outside world. One incarcerated man who had spent most of the past two decades in solitary confinement described going to the garden as, “the first time I walked on grass in 20 years.” “Many of us have found beauty in weeds and flowers growing through the cracks in the pavement,” he told UC San Francisco researchers, who helped institute and then evaluated the reforms. “There is both beauty and inspiration in knowing that we, who have fallen through the proverbial cracks in the system, can, if properly motivated and cultivated, grow through those very cracks.”

Indonesia sentences Iranian drug gang to death

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An Indonesian court on Friday handed death sentences to eight Iranian drug traffickers found guilty of smuggling more than 300 kilograms of crystal meth into the Southeast Asian country. Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws but has held off conducting executions for several years.  A judge in Banten province on Java island ordered that all eight men be executed by firing squad for the gang’s role in smuggling 319 kilograms (703 pounds) of the illegal drug.

Japan | Retrial of Hakamata: Speedy Proceedings, Early Verdict Should Be Given Highest Importance

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The 87-year-old defendant was deemed unfit to appear in court due to communication difficulties engendered by his long detention. His trial must not be prolonged. The Shizuoka District Court has begun the retrial of Iwao Hakamata, whose death sentence was previously finalized over the 1966 murder and robbery of a family of four in Shizuoka Prefecture. Retrials are held in cases when sufficient evidence that is likely to prove the defendant’s innocence is newly found.

Iranian teen allegedly attacked by morality police for not wearing a hijab dies

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Armita Geravand’s death comes after her being in a coma for weeks and threatens to reignite popular anger, protests over Iran’s mandatory headscarf law for women DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian teenage girl injured weeks ago in a mysterious incident on Tehran’s Metro while not wearing a headscarf has died, state media reported Saturday. The death of Armita Geravand comes after her being in a coma for weeks in Tehran and after the one-year anniversary of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini which sparked nationwide protests at the time.

Does Maine Have the Death Penalty? What Mass Shooter Could Face if Caught Alive

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Robert Card is the person of interest police are looking for following Wednesday night's mass shootings in a bowling alley and nearby bar Police continue to hunt Thursday morning for the man who allegedly killed at least 18 people last night in multiple shootings in Maine. Robert Card, the person of interest police whom police are searching for, is a 40-year-old U.S. military firearms instructor believed to have opened fire in a bowling alley and nearby bar Wednesday evening.

Judge to decide future of Utah's death penalty

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SALT LAKE CITY — A judge will decide whether a group of inmates can proceed with a lawsuit challenging Utah's death penalty. Five death row inmates — Ralph Menzies, Troy Kell, Michael Archuleta, Douglas Carter and Taberon Honie — are suing the state, challenging the methods and protocols surrounding their pending executions.  In arguments, their attorney argued it was cruel and unusual punishment and accused the state of not providing details about how executions are carried out.

Texas’ top criminal court halts William Speer’s execution hours before he was scheduled to die

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Speer has been on death row for decades after strangling another inmate at a Texas prison. The victim’s sister and faith leaders have both called on the parole board to halt the execution . The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution of William Speer on Thursday, just hours before he was scheduled to be executed. He was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of a fellow prison inmate. Speer’s attorneys alleged that prosecutors did not disclose evidence and presented false testimony during his 2001 trial, which prosecutors deny. Additionally, his current legal team said Speer’s trial lawyers did not include evidence about the physical and sexual abuse he endured as a child.

8 Indians sentenced to death sentence in Qatar for allegedly spying for Israel -New Delhi ‘deeply shocked’

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Eight former Indian Navy personnel were on Thursday handed down death sentence by a court in Qatar, a verdict that was described as “deeply” shocking by India as it vowed to explore all legal options in the case. The Indian nationals, who worked with private security company Al Dahra, were arrested in August last year reportedly in an alleged case of espionage. However, neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against the Indian nationals public.

Qatar court hands down death penalty for eight Indians

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NEW DELHI, Oct 26, (Agencies): A Qatar court has delivered the death penalty to eight Indian nationals who were detained in the country last year, as confirmed by the Indian government in a statement issued on Thursday.  The announcement of this verdict has left the Indian authorities deeply shocked. The statement further mentioned that India is actively pursuing all available legal avenues in response to this situation. To date, neither the Indian nor Qatari governments have officially disclosed the charges brought against these eight men. 

Ohio | Death row inmate to now serve life in prison for 2001 murders

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A Columbus man who has been on death row since his 2020 conviction on two murder charges will now serve life in prison under a 2021 Ohio law forbidding the execution of people who were severely mentally ill at the time of their offense. Michael R. Turner, 64, was sentenced to death for the June 12, 2001, killing of his estranged wife, Jennifer Lyles Turner, and her boyfriend, Ronald Seggerman, at her Reynoldsburg apartment. A three-judge panel sentenced Turner to death after he pleaded guilty in 2002 to two counts of aggravated murder with death-penalty specifications.

Court postpones hearing of Spanish murder-accused on Thai island

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Koh Samui, Thailand, Oct 26 (EFE).- A court on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Thursday postponed the hearing of murder-accused Spaniard Daniel Sancho until next month. Sancho, 29, has been charged in the case of the murder and dismemberment of Colombian surgeon Edwin Arrieta on the neighboring island of Koh Phangan in August. Thursday’s hearing, which began at 9 am local time (GMT+7) with Sancho in attendance, was first postponed by the court for a few hours, and then until Nov. 13, due to the defendant’s request for a Spanish interpreter.

Oklahoma | Death row spiritual advisor says the trauma is worth the work

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The Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood said his work as a spiritual advisor for death row inmates is more than getting them saved “wrap it up in a bow and send them to heaven.” “My work has never been like that,” Hood said. “I’ve always felt like there is a deep connection between the soul and the body and that you can’t claim to be working for the benefit of someone’s soul and not care about their body.” Hood is a spiritual advisor for several death row inmates across the country and has been present inside the execution chamber three times this year — Scott Eizember and Anthony Sanchez in Oklahoma and Arthur Brown Jr. in Texas.

Family of executed Vietnamese man receives his final letter

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Le Van Manh was executed last month despite protesting his innocence. The family of a man executed in Vietnam in spite of his claims of innocence told Radio Free Asia this week they would continue to fight to clear his name, honoring a request in his final letter to them. Le Van Manh, 41, was sentenced to death for the alleged rape and murder of a female student in his village in Thanh Hoa province in 2005.  He was convicted even though he continuously pleaded his innocence and said he had been tortured into confessing.

Texas BPP denies Speer’s clemency application

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The case of prison convert Will Speer shows the significance of ‘peers’ leading ministry behind bars. The first death row prisoner to help lead a death row ministry in Texas’s Allan B. Polunsky Unit, a state prison with maximum security units, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, October 26. On Tuesday, Texas denied Will Speer ’s application for clemency, meaning his execution will go forward.

Kuwait | Child assault case against Islamic school teacher adjourned

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KUWAIT CITY, Oct 25, (Agencies): The Criminal Court decided to adjourn the case of an Islamic education teacher accused of assaulting six children in the areas of Khitan and Farwaniya. The accused has previously faced the death penalty in another case, during which he uttered the phrase, “I am a defender on Judgment Day, a police officer, and our rights will not be violated…” The accused stated, “I have been an Islamic education teacher for 15 years, and no one has ever complained about me. They claim I took the boy behind the grocery store and assaulted him. There are surveillance cameras in the grocery store. How could I take the boy there? There is nothing behind the grocery store; it’s a factory with cameras in every corner. I am a defender on Judgment Day.”

Algeria | 38 sentenced to the death penalty will have sentences commuted to life

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On Monday, October 23, the Algiers Court of Appeal sentenced thirty-eight people to the death penalty for the lynching to death of a man wrongly mistaken for an arsonist after helping to put out deadly fires during the summer 2021, according to the official Algérie Presse Service (APS) agency.  These sentences will be commuted to life imprisonment because a moratorium on the application of the death penalty has been in force in Algeria since 1993.  The lynching, which took place in the region of Kabylie (north-west), had raised a wave of indignation throughout the country.

Iran | Executions in Gonbad Kavous, Khorramabad, Zahedan, Aligudarz

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); October 20, 2023: Mohammad Ali Vahidi, a Baluch man sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder, was executed in Gonbad Kavous Prison. According to Hal Vash, a Baluch man was executed in Gonbad Kavous Prison, in Golestan province on 19 October. His identity has been reported as 56-year-old Mohammad Ali Vahidi who was a retired teacher from the Dahmardeh tribe in Kalaleh, Golestan.

Texas | No Path to Redemption for Devout Death-Row inmates

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Texas offers religious education to the condemned but rarely values spiritual growth when considering clemency requests. Every day at 6 a.m., Will Speer’s testimony is broadcast across the airwaves on the Polunsky Unit’s radio station. He talks to his fellow prisoners about redemption, salvation, and faith.  He is scheduled to be executed October 26.   Speer was convicted and sent to prison for the murder of his friend’s father when he was 16 years old. While incarcerated at the Telford Unit, he killed fellow prisoner Gary Dickerson in an attempt to gain membership to a prison gang. He was sentenced to death. 

India | SC Sets Aside Death Penalty Awarded To Man For Rape, Murder Of Three-Month-Old Infant Girl

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The apex court observed that the trial was conducted in a "hurried manner" The Supreme Court has set aside the conviction of a man who was awarded the death sentence for the alleged rape and murder of a three-month-old infant girl and has ordered a retrial in the case, noting that the accused was not provided the "proper opportunity" by the trial court to defend himself.  The apex court observed that the trial was conducted in a "hurried manner". 

US | Death Penalty Information Center Releases Update to Death Row Census

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The Death Penalty Information Center has updated its Death Penalty Census, a database of every death sentence imposed since 1972.  The database now contains information accurate as of January 1, 2022, inclusive of the 50th year of the modern death penalty.  The Census contains information on 9,820 death sentences imposed on 8,842 defendants. It includes the name, race, and gender of each defendant, along with the region, state, county, and year in which the sentence was imposed.

Death row: The secret hunt for lethal drugs used in US executions

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When the supply of drugs used for lethal injections began to run out, a couple of prison guards in the US had to go out and find another source. For over 20 years, Randy Workman was the man who walked people to their death. As a senior corrections officer in the state of Oklahoma, he personally participated in 32 executions in various roles, including escorting prisoners, selecting executioners and sourcing lethal injection drugs. "You could tell the moment they expired. You watch enough of them, you can just tell immediately they were gone," he told the BBC.

Singapore | Two teenagers, 14, arrested in island-wide anti-drug operation that led to US$400,000 worth of drugs seized

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They were the youngest of the 134 suspected drug offenders arrested in an island-wide anti-drug operation. Two teenage boys, both 14 years old, were arrested for suspected drug offences in Yishun on Oct. 8, 2023, said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in an Oct. 21, 2023, news release . The two boys were the youngest of the 134 suspected drug offenders arrested by CNB in an island-wide anti-drug operation that took place between Oct. 8 and Oct. 20.

Belarus | Father who tortured and starved three-year-old son to death gets death penalty

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A wealthy father who tortured and starved his three-year-old son to death and made his short life 'pure hell' will be executed with a bullet to the head in Belarus . Alexander Taratuta, 48, has been sentenced to death for the brutal torture and murder of his son Semyon.  He will be shot in the back of the head in Belarus, the only country in Europe to carry out capital punishment.   His wife Anastasia Taratuta, 37, was sentenced to 25 years in a strict regime penal colony for the murder of Semyon.

Armenia becomes 45th member state to abolish the death penalty in all circumstances

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The Permanent Representative of Armenia to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Arman Khachatryan, in the presence of Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, has deposited the ratification instrument, thereby completing the process of ratification by Armenia of Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which represents the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances.

Two transformed lives intersect at Texas Death Chamber

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LIVINGSTON—If Texas Death Row inmate William Keith Speer is executed as scheduled Oct. 26, two men whose lives have been transformed by God will be present—one on the death chamber gurney and one in the adjacent viewing area. Speer is a convicted two-time killer who committed his life to Christ while in prison and was baptized in June 2022 after spending six months in the faith-based program at the Allan B. Polunksy Unit, a maximum-security facility near Livingston. Later, he was selected as inmate coordinator for the program and has mentored fellow prisoners on Death Row.

Execution date set for Alabama man convicted in 1993 shooting, robbery

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An execution date for an Alabama man convicted of a shooting three decades ago is set for next month. Casey A. McWhorter is set to die for the 1993 shooting death of Edward Lee Williams in Marshall County. He has been on Alabama Death Row since 1994, after a jury voted 10-2 for him to be executed. Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday set a 30-hour time frame for the execution to occur, meaning the 49-year-old can be put to death via lethal injection at any point during that period. That time frame begins 12 a.m. Thursday, November 16, and ends at 6 a.m. on Friday, November 17. 

USA | Delaware Lawmaker Proposes Death Penalty for Cop Killers

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After the swift verdict for the murderer of Delmar Police Corporal Keith Heacook, there is renewed debate on capital punishment in the first state. Some are now suggesting a reconsideration of the death penalty for specific crimes. State Representative Tim Dukes, a Republican who represents Delmar says he knew Corporal Heacook. In honor of the fallen officer, Dukes is considering the introduction of legislation that would impose the death penalty for those convicted of murdering law enforcement or public safety personnel, like paramedics. However, he acknowledges that getting such a bill passed would be a challenging endeavor.

Iran | Executions in Khorramabad, Gorgan, Ardabil, Zanjan, Tabriz

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); October 17, 2023: Sajad Moradi and Yaser Golzardian, two men sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were executed in Khorramabad Central Prison. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, two men were executed in Khorramabad Central Prison on 17 October. Their identities have been established as 38-year-old Sajad Moradi from Doroud and Yasser Golzardian from Kouhdasht who were sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court.

Idaho’s first execution in 11 years delayed as parole board grants inmate clemency review

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Idaho death row inmate Thomas Creech’s scheduled execution next month was delayed Wednesday after the state’s parole board granted him a clemency hearing to consider dropping his death sentence to life in prison.  An Ada County judge last week signed a death warrant for Creech, a convicted quadruple-murderer and the state’s longest-serving death row inmate. Idaho prison officials quickly issued notice that they already have the lethal injection drugs needed to end Creech’s life. It would be the state’s first execution in more than 11 years. The judge set a Nov. 8 date for his execution by lethal injection, which now will be canceled. The parole board has yet to schedule a date for Creech’s clemency hearing, Ashley Dowell, executive director of the state’s Commission of Pardons and Parole, told the Idaho Statesman by email.

Iran | Lawyer of Mahsa Amini's family sentenced to one year in prison for "propaganda activity" against Islamic Republic

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An Iranian court has sentenced the legal representative of Mahsa Amini's family to one year in prison for "propaganda activity" against the Islamic Republic, according to an activist group. The France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network said that Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Tehran also banned Saleh Nikbakht from online activities for a period of two years. Nikbakht, 72, was put on trial over interviews he gave to domestic and foreign media, in which he criticized the government's handling of Mahsa Amini’s death and its aftermath.

South Carolina | Alex Murdaugh can ask judge to toss out murder conviction, appeals court rules

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Oct 17 (Reuters) - The South Carolina court of appeals on Tuesday ruled that Richard "Alex" Murdaugh, a lawyer found guilty of murdering his wife and son, can ask a lower court judge to toss out his conviction due to allegations of jury tampering.  Lawyers for Murdaugh, who has maintained his innocence, said in a statement that they would now seek "a full blown evidentiary hearing" in a lower court on their allegations that the Colleton County Clerk of Court, Rebecca Hill, improperly communicated with jurors as they weighed Murdaugh's case.

UN urges China not to repatriate DPR Korea escapees

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Experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council urged China not to forcibly repatriate people who have escaped from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), warning that some returnees could even be put to death.  The experts were alarmed that hundreds of escapees – the vast majority of whom are women - have been sent back, despite repeated appeals by multiple international human rights bodies. Hundreds more reportedly are in detention awaiting the same fate.

British Sikh woman gets death penalty in India for killing husband

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Ramandeep Kaur, 38, from Derby, was convicted of the murder of her husband, Sukhjit Singh, 34, during their vacation at his mother’s residence in India in 2016 A court in India’s Uttar Pradesh’s awarded death penalty to a British Sikh woman for murdering her husband with the help of a friend seven years ago. Ramandeep Kaur, 38, from Derby was found guilty of murdering her husband Sukhjit Singh, 34, while they were on holiday in India in 2016. Her friend and accomplice Gurpreet was sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of £2,960 by the court in Shahjahanpur on October 7.

Victim’s Sister, Faith Leaders, and Others Plead for Clemency for Will Speer, Faith Based Coordinator on Texas’ Death Row

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On Friday, October 13, the sole surviving family member of murder victim Gary L. Dickerson joined dozens of faith leaders and others in asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemency for Will Speer.  Mr. Speer is set to be executed on October 26, 2023.  After a childhood of horrific abuse, a life sentence by age 18, and a judgment of death by age 23, Mr. Speer devoted himself to the study of Christianity and has become a prominent prison minister.  “In my heart, I feel that he is not only remorseful for his actions but has been doing good works for others and has something left to offer the world,” said Sammie Gail Martin, Mr. Dickerson’s sister. 

California | Santa Barbara man charged with killing his children in 2021 over conspiracy theories deemed incompetent to stand trial

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Matthew Taylor Coleman, a Santa Barbara surf school owner charged with killing his two young children with a spearfishing gun in Baja, Mexico, was deemed incompetent to stand trial by a federal judge in San Diego on Thursday. According to the San Diego Tribune, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo sealed the order, regarding Coleman. However, the federal case docket entry in the case, indicated the judge, ordered Coleman to be committed for treatment, pausing his case. The federal judge set a status hearing for Dec. 1st and set a competency hearing for March of 2024.

Republican Jeff Landry wins the Louisiana governor's race, reclaims office for GOP

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BATON ROUGE, La. — Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican backed by former President Donald Trump, has won the Louisiana governor's race, holding off a crowded field of candidates. The win is a major victory for the GOP as they reclaim the governor's mansion for the first time in eight years. Landry will replace current Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was unable to seek reelection due to consecutive term limits. Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South.

Morocco Sentences Man Involved in Murder of Policeman to Death Penalty

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The court sentenced two other accomplices to life imprisonment. The Court of First Instance in charge of terrorism cases at the Court of Appeals in Rabat sentenced a man to the death penalty for his involvement in the murder of a policeman. The court issued its verdict on Thursday.  Two other accomplices involved in the murder received life imprisonment sentences, while eight others received a five-year prison sentence. One of the defendants was also sentenced to four years in prison.

Texas | A possible reprieve for the mentally ill on death row

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Scott Panetti was deemed incompetent for execution. What does this mean for other prisoners? A federal judge has declared that Scott Panetti, a longtime resident of Texas’ death row, is incompetent for execution due to the severity of his mental illness. The decision comes more than 15 years after the U.S. Supreme Court determined—also in Panetti’s case—that the Eighth Amendment bars the state from executing someone who doesn’t understand the reason for their execution.