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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Morocco sentences man to death over MP killing

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Morocco has not abolished the death penalty but has not carried out any executions since 1993.
A Moroccan court sentenced to death a man over the murder of a member of parliament and jailed his widow, in a case involving sex and money, the government said Tuesday.
Abdellatif Merdas, who was a member of the liberal Constitutional Union party, was gunned down near his house in Casablanca in March last year.
A local councillor, Hicham Mouchtari, was sentenced to death on Monday after he was convicted of "premeditated murder", the justice ministry said.
Merdas's widow, Ouafae Bensamadi, was given a life sentence, and a female acquaintance of hers described as a "fortune-teller" was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
According to media reports of the investigation, Bensamadi had been having an affair with Mouchtari, who killed Merdas with the help of a nephew -- who was sentenced Monday to 30 years in jail.
The motives were "sex, money and vengeance," the stat…

Saudi court begins trial of ISIS member who killed his cousin

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The crime shook the kingdom as it was videotaped, and the man's cousin is seen begging for him not to kill him, repeatedly screaming "enough Saad".
Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court is commencing the trial of the man accused of murdering his cousin. The crime shook the kingdom as it was videotaped, and the man's cousin is seen begging for him not to kill him, repeatedly screaming "enough Saad". The case also caused outrage as it took place on the 1st day of Eid al-Adha in 2014.
Abdul Aziz bin Batel, a lawyer and legal adviser, told Al Arabiya that what the criminal did is a sign of cruelty and corruption in the land, where he purposefully killed a tied up, innocent soul.
Batel said that according to judiciary laws, he who betrays and kills a person who entrusted him should be sentenced to death, with no punishment or amnesty to be accepted by any means.
The General Authority of the Supreme Court studied the case to find the most fitting punishme…

India: Experts say lethal injection is not an alternative to hanging

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Although the law commission report discussed whether the discretion of mode of execution should lie with the judge or the convict, the question of who would provide the injections to convicts remains unanswered.
A lawyer had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of a provision in the Criminal Procedure Code which provides that the mode of execution of death penalty would be hanging by the neck. The SC, however, said that it's the Centre's prerogative to decide the modes of carrying out capital punishment. "We can't say what should be the mode of carrying out a death sentence. Tell us what is happening in other countries," the apex court asked the Centre. In its reply, the Centre said lethal injection was "not workable" as there were several instances of it failing.
Rishi Malhotra, the petitioner, said the provision of Criminal Procedure Code stating death penalty is "violative of Article 21 (right to life and…

Execution of Juvenile Offender Postponed in Iran

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Iran Human Rights (Jan 17, 2018): The execution of Abolfazl Chezahi Sharahi, a juvenile-offender who was in a death-row to be executed this morning at Qom Central Prison, was delayed for unknown reasons. 
A day before, the IHR and other international organizations called for immediate action of the international community. 
According to a close source, authorities had informed Abolfazl Chezahi Sharahi’s family that his execution was scheduled to be carried out on Wednesday, January 17. 
However, the execution of this juvenile-offender was delayed today for unknown reasons and he still stays in danger of execution.
Abolfazl is sentenced to death on the charge of murder during a street fight. 
He was born on January 16, 1999, and he was only 15 at the time of committing the crime on December 26, 2013.
His public defender asked for a checkup by the forensics on July 20, 2014, and the forensics report states: “The 15-year-old defendant who committed murder last winter, is mentally mature…

Houston killer facing execution this week admitted to 2 more slayings in morbid hoax

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He didn't scream or laugh. He didn't plead or apologize.
Anthony Shore was calm, almost stoic, when he confessed to the murders - just like he was 20 years ago.
But this time, apparently, it was a lie.
Days before his aborted execution in October, the notorious Houston serial killer admitted to 2 more gruesome slayings in an apparent ruse to test investigators, sources familiar with the case told the Chronicle this week. Now, he's scheduled once again to meet his fate Thursday in Huntsville's death chamber, leaving behind a swirl of unanswered questions.
"With a serial killer like Shore, there is always a possibility he has committed other crimes, left other unknown victims behind," said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
At the moment, prosecutors said, he's officially not a suspect in any unsolved killings and has no unresolved appeals.
After 4 brutal strangulations, a pair of apparently false confessions, a bizarre death row plot and a slew of c…

UN rights experts call on Iran to halt execution of second juvenile offender in as many weeks

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GENEVA (16 January 2018) – UN human rights experts* have appealed to Iran to halt the execution of Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi, who was 15 when he was sentenced to death. He is due to be executed on Wednesday [Jan. 17], less than two weeks after the execution of another juvenile offender.
“The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the execution of this juvenile offender and annul the death sentence against him and afford him a fair trial in compliance with their international obligations,” the experts said. “This planned execution represents a flagrant disregard for international human rights law, which is all the more shocking given the most recent execution of another juvenile offender.”
Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday for a crime that he was convicted of committing at the age of 15. He was sentenced to death in 2014 after being convicted of murder for the fatal stabbing of a man during a fight. In sentencing him to death, the court cited an exper…

U.S.: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with clerk hires, signals desire to outlast Trump

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(CNN) - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg marks her 25th anniversary on the Supreme Court this year, and the cultural icon known as the "Notorious RBG" recently signaled that she intends to stay at least through 2020 by hiring law clerks for at least two more terms.
Ginsburg, who turns 85 in March, would have to stay another decade to near the record of William O. Douglas, who served the longest at 36 years. But Ginsburg has already distinguished herself among justices for an intriguing second act, the product of pop culture passion.
If Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the presidency in 2016, liberal Ginsburg would likely have announced her retirement by this spring. Instead the justice who made her name as a women's rights lawyer in the 1970s apparently is not counting on leaving the stage any time soon.
The law clerk news, reported by Above the Law, triggered a tweet storm through the weekend, some of which included links to a classic 2016 Saturday Night Live "Gins-bur…

Antonin Scalia Liked Trump's Candidacy — Is Anyone Surprised?

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Notorious homophobe Antonin Scalia was reportedly intrigued by the candidacy of Donald Trump and spoke favorably of him for president, reports the Wall Street Journal in a not-so-suprising revelation. 
The Supreme Court justice known for his unvarnished dissent considered Trump “refreshing,” according to Bryan Garner, the author of a new book about Scalia, Nino and Me
“Justice Scalia thought it was most refreshing to have a candidate who was pretty much unfiltered and utterly frank,” Garner told the Wall Street Journal. He apparently made the comments in the last months before his death in February 2016.
The feeling was mutual, with Trump promising on the campaign trail to appoint a justice “in the mold” of the late justice. 
Trump went onto appoint Neil Gorsuch, saying it was Scalia “whose image and genius was in my mind throughout the decision-making process."
Scalia isn’t known among LGBT people for genius. Instead, he’s known for defending a ban on an anti-discrimination l…

India: Execution of convicts: Let them die in peace and not in pain

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The Government has claimed that hanging is the most workable mode and lethal injection method is found to have failed on many occasions in different parts of the world, hence it is not as workable as hanging.
In a response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking abolition of executing death row convict by hanging the Supreme Court recently held that it was the prerogative of the Government to decide on modes of execution of convicts. Execution of convicts is provided under section 354(5) of Cr.P.C. 1973 which says, 'When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead.' The Court had asked the Centre to respond to a notice issued by the Court however, it had also said that the legislature could think of changing the law so that a convict facing death penalty dies in peace and not in pain.
The Government has claimed that hanging is the most workable mode and lethal injection method is found to have failed on many …

Iran: Execution of 8 Prisoners During the Uprising in Order to Intensify the Atmosphere of Intimidation

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Simultaneous with the nationwide uprising of the Iranian people and in order to intimidate the people, the mullahs' regime's executioners executed 8 young prisoners in various cities in the period of January 1 to January 11.
On Thursday, January 11, 2 prisoners were executed publicly in Salmas and Qazvin. 
The prisoner executed in Salmas suffered from mental illness. 
The young man executed in Qazvin Prison was on death row for 8 years.
On January 8, 2 prisoners were executed in Sari and on January 4; 2 other prisoners were executed in Gohardasht, Karaj. Amir Hossein Pour Jafar, 1 of the executed, was 16 years old at the time of committing alleged crime. 
On January 2, a prisoner was executed in Dizelabad prison in Kermanshah, and the day before, a 22-year-old youth was executed in Mashhad Central Prison.
These executions are taking place while 8,000 young people are arrested during the first 2 weeks of the uprising of the Iranian people and are in grave conditions. 
The resp…