Pakistan hung two convicted militants in the first executions in six years and security forces killed more than 50 suspected militants on Friday (Dec 19) as the country's leaders vowed decisive action in the wake of a Taliban school massacre that left 149 people dead.
The bloody rampage in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday brought international condemnation and promises of swift, decisive action against militants from Pakistan's political and military leaders.
Pakistan's de facto foreign minister Sartaj Aziz told AFP the attack was his country's own "mini 9/11" and a game changer in its fight against terror.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif relinquished the six-year ban on the death penalty in terror-related cases two days after the school attack.
Two militants convicted of separate terrorism offences were the first to face the noose at a jail in central Punjab province, the province's home minister, Shuja Khanzada, told AFP.
Recently in Death Penalty Category
The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on December 18 in Nashville in an appeal by the State opposing the requests of several death row inmates who are seeking the identity of individuals involved in the lethal injection process.
The appeal arises from a challenge to the constitutionality of the Tennessee Department of Correction's execution procedures for lethal injection on various grounds by 11 of the state's death row inmates.
Instead of the irrelevant number of death sentences, we should begin by looking at the number of sentences relative to the number of homicides. Homicides rates have dropped nearly in half since the mid-90s, due in part to the tough sentencing that our opponents so strenuously opposed. Using a two-year lag (death sentences over murders of two years earlier), the number of death sentences per 1000 murders this year was 38% of what it was in 1996. That is a large drop, but not nearly as large as the irrelevant number you get comparing the simple count of sentences.
Why the drop? Well, we have always said that the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst. In the early days after the restoration of capital punishment, it was not too unusual to see a death sentence for a simple robbery in which the victim was killed with no other major aggravating circumstances. That is much less common today. Prosecutors are more selective in seeking the death penalty, and juries are more selective in imposing it.
The other side has always said that is how it should be. Now that it increasingly is that way, they cite that change as evidence that America is turning away from the death penalty.
Update: David Savage has this story in the LA Times.
Update 2: The Wall Street Journal, disappointingly, completely blows it by uncritically regurgitating the DPIC's spin. Not a single mention of the drop in the murder rate over the same period.
Surprisingly, three of the latter made it on to the notorious list just this year. Three men convicted in Ohio for a 1975 killing and removed from death row just a couple of years later when the statutes were struck down have now been released altogether. It is indeed regrettable that they spent so much time unjustly in prison, but the cases have nothing to do with the current death penalty debate. They were not sent to death row under a law anything like any law now in effect in the United States or that has been in effect for 36 years.
In a report to be released tomorrow the DPIC will crow about a "record" number of "exonerations" of "former death row inmates," but the fact that these three were briefly on death row under a long-ago abandoned system has no relevance to our current capital sentencing system.
The pharmacies "have become subjected to not just criticism but downright attack, boycotts and picketing at their homes," said Sen. John Eklund, R-Chardon. "Consequently many of these pharmacies have become unwilling ... to subject themselves to that aggravation."Earlier, the Senate caved in and deleted a provision that would have outlawed resale restrictions in contracts for sale of drugs. Objections were made that the provision might have violated the Contracts Clause and might have caused European companies to refuse to export drugs to the United States. Both objections could have been eliminated by making the provision applicable only to drugs manufactured in the United States and only to contracts made or renewed after the effective date. The primary need for the provision is for pentobarbital, which is manufactured in the United States. Even so, the sponsors chose to delete the provision altogether. Alan Johnson had this story yesterday in the Dispatch.
The bill returns to the House, where it passed 62-27 last month.
If Virginia can execute the D.C. Sniper in less than six years from sentence to execution, other states can do the same no matter how complex the case. In the rare case of actual doubt that we have the right guy, fine, delay as long as it takes to eliminate the doubt, and commute the sentence if it can't be eliminated. In all other cases, i.e., the vast majority of cases, there is no need to delay more than six years. That is plenty of time to resolve all genuine claims.
After all, if we know to a certainty that the defendant is a murderer, there is no possibility of a miscarriage of justice in the sentence. The question in the penalty phase is whether to give him what he deserves as a matter of justice or let him off with less as an exercise of mercy. That is an important question, and its decision must be made carefully and reviewed carefully, but the outcome cannot be an injustice to the defendant.
The idea that we need to spend more time and resources reviewing the sentences of certainly guilty murderers sentenced to death than we spend reviewing the convictions of possibly innocent people sentenced to life in prison is absurd.
Also last night (technically the wee hours of this morning, as Missouri still sets executions dates as a single calendar day), Missouri carried out an execution. CBS and AP have this story on both executions, considerably more balanced and informative than the NBC story linked in Bill's post.
A Missouri inmate was put to death early Wednesday for fatally beating a 63-year-old woman with a hammer in 1998, the state's record 10th lethal injection of 2014, matching Texas for the most executions in the country this year.
In Georgia, a man convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy moments after robbing a convenience store in central Georgia was executed Tuesday night.
The Missouri case involved Paul Goodwin, 48, who sexually assaulted Joan Crotts in St. Louis County, pushed her down a flight of stairs and beat her in the head with a hammer. Goodwin was a former neighbor who felt Crotts played a role in getting him kicked out of a boarding house.
Goodwin admitted committing the crime after his arrest.
...as the clock ticked down to his execution for the 1995 murder of sheriff's deputy Will Robinson.
"Robert Wayne Holsey is an intellectually disabled African-American man who was represented at trial by a chronic alcoholic who was more concerned about avoiding his own criminal prosecution than defending his client against the death penalty," his current lawyer, Brian Kammer, had said before the execution, which was carried out at 10:51 p.m. ET -- an hour after the court rejected the plea.
Kammer had argued that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May that found Florida's standard for proving intellectual disability was too strict also applied to Georgia's rules. "We will keep challenging the burden of proof that Georgia requires. It is too heavy," Kammer said late Tuesday night. "It's the heaviest burden of proof in the law and guarantees that the mentally ill will be executed." Holsey's appeals had also argued that he did not have effective legal counsel because his lawyer admittedly was drinking up to a quart of vodka a day.
Sometimes, though, neither of these procedures is available, and the aggrieved party must resort to an "extraordinary writ," a petition for a writ of prohibition or mandate. In form, this is a new suit by the petitioner against the lower court itself, designated the "respondent." In practice, the opposing party in the lower court is designated the "real party in interest," and that party defends the lower court's action. That avoids the need for a court to appear as a party, generally regarded as unseemly.
And now, for something completely different....
In re Ryan, U.S. Supreme Court No. 14-375, is a petition by Arizona's prison chief against the Ninth Circuit for sitting on a case after it should be over. As usual, the opposing party in the court below, the Arizona Federal Defender on behalf of murderer Graham Henry, filed an opposition. But yesterday, the Supreme Court asked the Ninth Circuit itself to file a response.
The US Supreme Court subsequently denied a stay 7-2. Justices Breyer and Sotomayor would have granted the stay.
The killer of Vicki Garner, who was murdered in Tyler in 1996, has delayed his date with the execution chamber in Huntsville for at least another month as a result of a paperwork snag.
Family members were bitterly disappointed when they learned the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) cancelled Robert Charles Ladd's execution - which was to have been held this Thursday, Dec. 11 - because of a paperwork delay.
"It was a crushing blow," Teresa Wooten, the sexual assault director at the SAFE-T women's shelter, said. "We had all worked so hard to set this date by the end of the year."
If you could choose between the following two approaches, which do you think is the better penalty for murder -- the death penalty or life imprisonment, with absolutely no possibility of parole.
William Blake has said that while he cannot bring himself to take his own life, he would have welcomed the death penalty...had he known what a lifetime in solitary confinement would be like. Perhaps the time will come when people like Blake--and the American public--are not forced to choose among such monstrous alternatives. In the meantime, it will be a shame if people who oppose state-sponsored death continue to advocate for state-sanctioned torture.
We STAY the execution pending further order of the court to allow us toSee also my prior posts here and here.
fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this
matter.1 An order setting a briefing schedule and oral argument will follow.
1. See 28 U.S.C. § 2251(a)(3); McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 858 (1994).
Nathan Koppel has this article in the WSJ. Dustin Volz has this article in the National Journal.
Warden Chappell has left the building, and the acting warden is Kelly Mitchell. The case will be Jones v. Mitchell for the time being.