Tag Archives | capital punishment

Exonerated Seventy Years After Execution

Earlier this week, a judge vacated the decision against George Stinney Jr, a black teen who was convicted of murdering two white girls in South Carolina. For Stinney, this came 70 years too late.

Despite not having evidence that Stinney committed the crime, and Stinney’s sister testifying that she was with him the entire day, it took the all-white jury just 10 minutes to convict and sentence him to death. At 14 years old, Stinney was one of the youngest people executed in the US and actually had to sit on a phone book to fit in the electric chair.

Unfortunately, Stinney is not the only innocent person which has been put to death. Today, it is estimated that 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death in the US are, in fact, innocent.

Capital punishment is still widely supported in the United States and legal in 32 states.… Read the rest

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From America’s Busiest Death Chamber, a Catalog of Last Rants, Pleas and Apologies

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Texas Department of Criminal Justice
The injection gurney, with an overhead microphone, in the execution chamber at the Walls Unit prison in Huntsville, Tex.

Not only are the executed noted down at the Walls Unit prison in Huntsville  Texas, but so are their last words. via The New York Times

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. — Karl Eugene Chamberlain went to his neighbor’s apartment that night in Dallas under the pretense of borrowing sugar. He returned later, forced her into a bedroom, bound her hands and feet, raped her and then used a rifle to shoot and kill her. His victim, Felecia Prechtl, 29, was a single mother with a 5-year-old son.

Eleven years after he was convicted of capital murder, Mr. Chamberlain, 37, was strapped to a gurney in Texas’ execution chamber at the Walls Unit prison here and was asked by a warden if he had any last words. “Thank you for being here today to honor Felecia Prechtl, whom I didn’t even know,” he told her son, parents and brother on June 11, 2008.

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China To Introduce Death Penalty For Egregious Polluters

pollutersHarsh but fair? Via Scientific American:

Chinese authorities have given courts the powers to hand down the death penalty in serious pollution cases, state media said, as the government tries to assuage growing public anger at environmental desecration.

A new judicial interpretation which took effect on Wednesday would impose “harsher punishments” and tighten “lax and superficial” enforcement of the country’s environmental protection laws, the official Xinhua news agency reported: “In the most serious cases the death penalty could be handed down.”

Protests over pollution have unnerved the stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party. Thousands of people took to the streets in the southwestern city of Kunming last month to protest against the planned production of a chemical at a refinery.

Severe air pollution in Beijing and large parts of northern China this winter have added to the sense of unease among the population.

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Was 14-Year-Old Executed By South Carolina Innocent?

George-Junius-Stinney-Jr-commonsThe saddest part is that I’m not 100 percent certain that something like this could never happen again today. Raw Story writes:

Over 67 years after 14-year-old George Junius Stinney Jr. was put to death by the state of South Carolina, he may soon be cleared of the crime that people familiar with the case say he never could have committed.

A lawyer and an activist both told Raw Story recently that new evidence will show that the black boy could not have possibly murdered two white girls, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and seven-year-old Mary Emma Thames.

Stinney, the youngest person to receive the death penalty in the last 100 years, was executed on June 16, 1944. At five feet one inch and only 95 pounds, the straps of the electric chair did not fit the boy. His feet could not touch the floor. As he was hit with the first 2,400-volt surge of electricity, the mask covering his face slipped off, “revealing his wide-open, tearful eyes and saliva coming from his mouth.”

Less than three months earlier, Stinney, who had no previous history of violence, had been accused of the crime after he admitted speaking to the girls when they stopped by a field in Alcolu where he was grazing his cow to ask where they could find maypops, a type of flower.

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Texas Blocked From Debuting Controversial New Lethal-Injection Cocktail

ap_texas_execution_cleve_foster_nt_110405_mnThe state of Texas will have to wait until another day to try out a newly formulated death-inducing mixture which critics say could cause agonizing suffering. Cleve Foster, a Desert Storm veteran convicted of the murder of a woman he’d met in a bar, was scheduled to be executed tonight; this afternoon the Supreme Court blocked his execution for reasons including “questions related to his guilt.” The Atlantic Wire elaborates:

Foster has maintained his innocence for years, writing that he is “on death row waiting to die for a crime another man has confessed to.” He’s referring to Sheldon Ward, who was convicted alongside Foster in 2004 and has since died in prison of a brain tumor.

The drugs the state would have used to execute Foster–a cocktail of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride–have never been used in a Texas execution before.

If the cocktail doesn’t work properly, says Stafford Smith, director of the human-rights organization Reprieve, then during his execution, Foster will experience “excruciating pain that has been likened to having one’s veins set on fire.”

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Iran On ‘Execution Binge’ With 57 Executions In 2011

iran_map CNN reports:
Iranian authorities hanged 10 convicted drug smugglers early Wednesday morning, according to state media. The 10 men were executed at a prison in the city of Karaj, west of the capital Tehran, according to IRIB news agency. They were charged with smuggling, storing, and selling narcotics, charges that have lead to the majority of the reported executions in Iran. The latest executions brings the total number to 57, since the beginning of 2011, according to a human rights group. The New York-based group, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, says the Iranian regime has been on an "execution binge", hanging on average one person every eight hours...
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United States Saves Money By Executing Fewer People

You know the U.S. is in trouble when it cuts back on one of it’s world-beating businesses — executions. Reuters reports:

death penalty report

The United States executed fewer people this year, in part because there is a shortage of the drug used in lethal injections and because executions are too expensive in tough economic times, a report released on Tuesday said.

The Death Penalty Information Center said in its annual report that executions decreased 12 percent this year and new death sentences stayed near the lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

Texas led the nation with 17 of the 46 executions carried out this year in the United States. The total is down from 52 in 2009 and less than half the number put to death in 1999.

“Whether it’s concerns about the high costs of the death penalty at a time when budgets are being slashed, the risks of executing the innocent, unfairness, or other reasons, the nation continued to move away from the death penalty in 2010,” Richard Dieter, the center’s executive director and author of the report, said in a statement…

[continues at Reuters]

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The Tea Party is Perverted and Irrelevant

Photo: HKDP (CC)

Photo: HKDP (CC)

Matt Taibbi mouths off in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod affair, at Rolling Stone:

“You don’t get control of the White House and two governors and the Justice Department, and then start arguing with people carrying signs.”Al Sharpton

Years ago a friend of mine in the media told me a story about an experience he had covering the execution of John Wayne Gacy in Joliet, Illinois. You won’t find anyone in the world who’d have been sad to see serial child murderer in a clown suit like Gacy die, but this reporter friend of mine said the crowd outside the prison on execution night freaked him out almost as much as Gacy had. There were something like 400 people outside the gates at Joliet and there were people selling commemorative t-shirts and pounding beers and chanting (“Kill the Clown!” was a popular one) all night.

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Ten Executions That Defined The 2000s

Executed Today, the site from which I get all of my news, has its rundown of the “ten executions that defined the 2000s.” The earliest one on the list is Timothy McVeigh, who comes in ranked only seventh:

The Gulf War veteran was the face of terrorism in the U.S. from the time of his arrest for the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building, until three months after his June 11, 2001, execution.

Timothy_McVeigh_arrest

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