Here’s a write-up of the case in The New Yorker, if you’re interested in reading further.
Tag Archives | Death Penalty
Actually it’s “at least” one in 25 people sentenced to death in the United States who are innocent. Especially considering today’s scandal of the man in Oklahoma whose execution was badly botched, that’s really way too many. Common Dreams discusses the study’s findings:
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At least one in 25 people sentenced to death in the United States is innocent.
So finds a damning study published Monday in leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors, hailing from Pennsylvania and Michigan, employ a statistical technique called “survival analysis” to arrive at their conclusions.
According to what researchers call a “conservative estimate,” between 1973 and 2004, at least 4.1 percent of people in the United States handed death sentences were innocent.
Yet, during this same time period, only 1.6 percent of them had been exonerated. The remaining innocent were either executed or had their sentences commuted to life in prison.
If you are found guilty of a sex crime in the state of Ohio you could face the death penalty if State Representative John Becker (R-Union Township) has his way. He has introduced House Bill 244, legislation that provides prosecutors with the option of pursuing the death penalty for certain sex-related crimes.
“In light of the Ariel Castro kidnapping case of three young women in Cleveland, I wanted to give prosecutors the option to pursue the death penalty for repeat sexual offenders,” Rep. Becker said.
The crimes in the legislation include aggravated rape, aggravated rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery of a child, and aggravated unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Harsh 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.
Don’t tell anyone you’re an atheist if you live in Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Sudan! Story via Reuters:
Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.
The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.
But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.
The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012″, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”
Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”…
[continues at Reuters]
Reports the Associated Press via the Washington Post:
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Prosecutors on Wednesday abandoned their 30-year push to execute convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther whose claim that he was the victim of a racist legal system made him an international cause celebre.Abu-Jamal, 58, will instead spend the rest of his life in prison.
Flanked by police Officer Daniel Faulkner’s widow, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced his decision two days short of the 30th anniversary of the white patrolman’s killing.
He said that continuing to seek the death penalty could lead to “an unknowable number of years” of appeals, and that some witnesses have died or are unavailable after nearly three decades.
“There’s never been any doubt in my mind that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner. I believe that the appropriate sentence was handed down by a jury of his peers in 1982,” said Williams, the city’s first black district attorney.