Tag Archives | Death Penalty

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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Troy Davis Executed in Georgia

Troy DavisReports the AP via CBS News:

Georgia executed Troy Davis on Wednesday night for the murder of an off-duty police officer, a crime he denied committing right to the end as supporters around the world mourned and declared that an innocent man was put to death.

Defiant to the end, he told relatives of Mark MacPhail that his 1989 slaying was not his fault. “I did not have a gun,” he insisted. “For those about to take my life,” he told prison officials, “may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.”

Davis was declared dead at 11:08 ET. The lethal injection began about 15 minutes earlier, after the Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour request for a stay. The court did not comment on its order, which came about four hours after it received the request and more than three hours after the planned execution time.

Though Davis’ attorneys said seven of nine key witnesses against him disputed all or parts of their testimony, state and federal judges repeatedly ruled against granting him a new trial.

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GOP Debate Audience Cheers Texas’s 234 Executions

"I think Americans understand justice...In the state of Texas...you will face the ultimate justice.” The biggest positive response at last night's Republican presidential debate may have occurred when moderator Brian Williams, addressing Rick Perry, began, “Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times,” at which point he was interrupted as the crowd spontaneously broke into rapturous applause. The Death Penalty Information Center lists nine people executed by Texas in recent years who were likely innocent.
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Rabbinical Court Sentences Dog To Death By Stoning For Reincarnation

Reports Agence France-Presse via the Raw Story:
JERUSALEM — A Jerusalem rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a dog it suspects is the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago, Ynet website reported Friday. According to Ynet, the large dog made its way into the Monetary Affairs Court in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, frightening judges and plaintiffs. Despite attempts to drive the dog out of the court, the hound refused to leave the premises. One of the sitting judges then recalled a curse the court had passed down upon a secular lawyer who had insulted the judges two decades previously. Their preferred divine retribution was for the lawyer's spirit to move into the body of a dog, an animal considered impure by traditional Judaism.
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Sole Thiopental Company Halts Production Over Death Penalty Use

Guess we’ll have to hold off killing a few people, or just resort to “inhumane” ways of execution. Globe and Mail reports:

Hospira Inc. HSP-N, the only U.S. manufacturer of one of the drugs used in lethal injections, is halting production of a drug over a controversy in Europe about its use in capital punishment.

Many U.S. states have already run out of sodium thiopental, and today’s decision by Hospira could see further delays in executions.

Hospira had suspended production in 2009 but planned to start up again early this year at its facility in Liscate, Italy. Italy’s government, though, ordered the company to make certain that the drug manufactured in Italy wouldn’t be used for executions.

[Continues a Globe & Mail]

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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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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Mumia Abu-Jamal

180px-Mumia03Breaking news from Reuters:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday granted an appeal by prosecutors and set aside a ruling that invalidated the death sentence of black political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

His case has become a prominent cause for many death penalty opponents.

In a brief order, the Supreme Court sent the case back to a U.S. appeals court based in Philadelphia for further consideration in view of the high court’s recent decision in an Ohio case that had raised similar issues.

The Supreme Court in the Ohio case unanimously reinstated the death sentence of a neo-Nazi convicted of murdering three men. The court’s action, which was not a ruling on the merits of the case, could lead to Abu-Jamal’s death sentence being reinstated, too.

The appeals court had ruled that Abu-Jamal, 55, deserved a new sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions…

[more at Reuters]

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