Showing posts with label Capital Sentence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Capital Sentence. Show all posts

April 1, 2019

Sentenced To Death and He is Gay~~Which It Might Be The Reason The Jury Went For ‘Execution'


                                  Image result for south Dakota jury sentences gay


 It was 1993, and a South Dakota jury was debating whether to sentence a gay man to death. Life in prison, one juror said, would be no punishment at all. Allowing the defendant, Charles Rhines, to spend his days surrounded by men would, the juror reasoned, be a kind of reward.

“If he’s gay, we’d be sending him where he wants to go,” the juror said, according to a 2016 sworn statement from Frances Cersosimo, who also served on the jury. She did not name the juror.

Another juror, Harry Keeney, said he was convinced that Mr. Rhines deserved to die for killing Donnivan Schaeffer, who encountered Mr. Rhines in 1992 while he was robbing a doughnut store in Rapid City, S.D. “We also knew he was a homosexual and thought he shouldn’t be able to spend his life with men in prison,” Mr. Keeney said in his own 2016 sworn statement.

A third juror, Bennett Blake, described the deliberations to an investigator. “There was lots of discussion of homosexuality,” he said. “There was a lot of disgust. This is a farming community.” 

The jury sentenced Mr. Rhines to death, and he has been on death row ever since. Over the years, he was represented by several sets of lawyers, who challenged his conviction and sentence on various grounds without success. It was not until 2015 that a new set of lawyers first tried to interview the jurors, obtaining statements from some of them in 2016.

Next week, the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear Mr. Rhines’s appeal, which asks the justices to rule that a biased jury deprived him of a fair trial.

Jury deliberations are ordinarily secret, and the Supreme Court has said that even egregious misconduct in the jury room cannot be used to challenge a conviction if it would require jurors to testify about what was said there.

But two years ago, in Peña Rodriguez v. Colorado, the court made an exception for racial bias during jury deliberations, saying that rooting it out was more important than keeping deliberations secret.

“Racial bias implicates unique historical, constitutional and institutional concerns,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the 5-to-3 decision. 

The dissenting justices said it would he hard to limit the sweep of the decision. Indeed, one of them, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., seemed to anticipate the question raised in Mr. Rhines’s case.

“What about sexual orientation?” Chief Justice Roberts asked when the Peña Rodriguez case was argued. “Somebody gives, you know, a bigoted speech in the jury room about sexual orientation and how particular types of people are more likely to commit crimes like the one before them? Is that sufficiently odious?”

In urging the Supreme Court not to hear Mr. Rhines’s case, Jason R. Ravnsborg, South Dakota’s attorney general, argued that racial bias was more serious than prejudice against gay men and lesbians. “Sexual orientation is not immutable to the same extent as race,” he wrote.

“No civil war has been fought over it,” he added. “No politician has ever proposed constructing a wall to keep homosexuals out of the country.”

Mr. Rhines’s jury appeared to have little doubt about his guilt.

But the jurors struggled to determine the right sentence, and they sent a note to the judge asking for help. “In order to award the proper punishment,” the note said, “we need a clear perspective of what ‘Life in Prison Without Parole’ really means.”

The note, signed by all 12 jurors, asked nine questions. A sample:

“Will Mr. Rhines be allowed to mix with the general inmate population?”

“Will Mr. Rhines be jailed alone or will he have a cellmate?”

“Will Mr. Rhines be allowed to marry or have conjugal visits?”

The judge did not answer, referring the jury to his earlier instructions, and the two sides now differ about whether the note was evidence of bias. Mr. Ravnsborg wrote, using unconventional spelling, that the last question was proof that the jury was “not phased by, or even convinced of, Rhines’s homosexuality.” 

“What jury conceived of gay marriage in 1992?” Mr. Ravnsborg asked. “And the fact that the jurors asked about Rhines’s access to conjugal visits with visitors from outside the prison walls also belies Rhines’s assertion that they believed prison would afford him a harem of male sexual companions.”

Mr. Rhines must clear a number of procedural hurdles if the Supreme Court is to hear his central claim, and those hurdles may make his case unattractive to the justices. Mr. Ravnsborg devoted most of his brief to discussing those procedural problems, which appear to be significant.

Mr. Ravnsborg also took issue with some of the evidence submitted by Mr. Rhines’s lawyers. He acknowledged that a state investigator had confirmed that “one juror made a joke that Rhines might enjoy a life in prison where he would be among so many men.” But another juror characterized the remark, the investigator wrote, as a “stab at humor” that “did not go over well.”

“The alleged juror comments here are not clear and explicit expressions of animus toward homosexuals,” Mr. Ravnsborg wrote. “At best, they fall into the category of an ‘offhand comment.’ ”



January 10, 2018

Hanging In Iran for Some Dug Offenses Has Been Abolished

Image copyright 


 

Iranian officials prepare a noose for an execution in Noor of a convicted murderer who was eventually spared by the mother of his victim (15 April 2014) 
Image caption
(AFP pictures) 
               BBC reports:
Capital punishment has been abolished for some drug offences, and the head of the judiciary has said all cases on death row can be reviewed.
The move is set to be applied retrospectively, meaning some 5,000 prisoners could escape execution.
Iran executes hundreds of people every year, mostly for drug offences.
In August, Iran's parliament raised the threshold on the amount of drugs that would be considered a capital offence. 
Under the previous law, possessing 30g of cocaine would trigger the death penalty but that has been increased to 2kg (4.4lb). The limit on opium and marijuana has been increased tenfold to 50kg.
  • Iranian minister calls for fewer executions in 2016
  • Iran's drug addicts 'more than double' in six years
  • 'Disturbing rise' in global executions
Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani told local media that most death sentences would be reduced to extended jail terms.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, from Iran Human Rights (IHR), an independent NGO based in Norway, welcomed the law change.
Image shows an Iranian policeman guarding 3,000kg (6,600lb) of opium seized from drug smugglers.
An Iranian policeman guards 3,000kg (6,600lb) of opium seized from drug smugglers(AFP)










"If implemented properly, this change in law will represent one of the most significant steps towards reduction in the use of the death penalty worldwide," he told the BBC.
But he expressed concern that those on death row might not be able to take advantage. "Since most of those sentenced to death for drug offences belong to the most marginalised parts of Iranian society, it is not given that they have the knowledge and resources to apply for commuting their sentence," he said.
Human rights group Amnesty International also welcomed the news, but said it would like to see further progress.
"The Iranian authorities must stop using the death penalty for drug-related offences, with a view to eventually abolishing it for all crimes," a spokeswoman said.
"There are currently an estimated 5,000 people on death row for such offences across the country. About 90% of them are first-time offenders aged between 20 and 30 years old."
The group quoted an official who said that, since 1988, Iran had executed 10,000 people for drug crimes.
In 2016, Iran's then justice minister said he was looking for an "effective punishment" for criminals instead of execution. Mostafa Pourmohammadi said he thought the number of capital crimes should be revised and the death penalty kept for "corrupt people".

April 30, 2013

B-Bomber Lawyer Looks Like it Will be Defending The Younger Bomber


Expert on federal death penalty cases is appointed to defense team of accused Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Reed Saxon/AP/File 
Prominent defense attorney Judy Clarke will join the defense team representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A federal magistrate judge has appointed a prominent specialist in federal death penalty cases to join the defense team of alleged Boston Marathon terror bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Judy Clarke, a San Diego, Calif., attorney, has the “background, knowledge and experience” that will “enable her to provide adequate representation to the defendant,” US Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler said in a ruling today.
Clarke’s clients have included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Susan Smith, who drowned her two children; and most recently Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner. All received life sentences instead of the death penalty, The Associated Press reported.
Bowler denied, for the time being, a request for the appointment of a second death penalty specialist for the defense team.
Tsarnaev, 19, faces charges of use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. He and his brother, Tamerlan, are accused in the April 15 bomb attacks on the marathon that killed three and injured more than 260. They also allegedly killed an MIT police officer. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a confrontation with police in the early morning hours of April 19. Police say they were subduing him after a shootout when his brother ran him over in a desperate escape.
Clarke joins three other attorneys — Miriam Conrad, the chief federal public defender for Massachusetts, and two assistant public defenders — in defending Tsarnaev.
The defense had asked for appointment of two attorneys “learned in the law applicable to capital cases” after Tsarnaev was charged last week.
Bowler wrote today, “A federal death penalty case implicates particular procedural requirements and ‘is extremely demanding to defend because of the effort and pressure involved.’ In light of the circumstances in this case, the defendant requires an attorney with more background, knowledge and experience in federal death penalty cases than that possessed by current counsel.”
“Appointment of Attorney Clarke is therefore justified to provide the defendant with adequate and proper representation,” Bowler wrote.
In a footnote, Bowler said, “Indeed, her qualifications demonstrate she is ‘learned in the law’ of capital cases.”
David I. Bruck, the other attorney the defense wanted to join their team, is a clinical professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and director of the school’s death penalty defense clinic.
A message left at Clarke’s firm this afternoon wasn’t immediately returned. The website describes her as “specializing in complex criminal litigation, federal capital defense, and white collar crimes.” An e-mail message left for a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office wasn’t immediately returned

March 13, 2013

Saudi Arabia Stops Beheadings {Temporarily}



Is this what progress looks like in Saudi Arabia? The Kingdom is considering ending execution by beheading in favor of firing squads, reports the Egyptian English-language news website Ahram OnlineA committee consisting of representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Health says there are shortages in government swordsmen and argue that a change to execution by firing squad would not violate Islamic law, the Saudi daily newspaper al-Youm writes. According to an official statement from the committee, “This solution seems practical, especially in light of shortages in official swordsmen or their belated arrival to execution yards in some incidents.”
Execution by beheading in Saudi Arabia has continually been condemned by human-rights groups. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), at least 69 people were executed by beheading in 2012, while Amnesty International says 79 were killed under the death penalty in the same period. In 2012 HRW wrote, “Saudi Arabia has no penal code, so prosecutors and judges largely define criminal offenses at their discretion.” Rape, murder, armed robbery, drug trafficking and even suspected “sorcery” are punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s Islamic law.
The Saudi death penalty recently made headlines following the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a young Sri Lankan woman who was beheaded for the murder of her employers’ 4-month-old son. Nafeek arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2005 aged 17, but spent the next seven years in Saudi jails after the baby died under her care, writes CNN. The family of the boy believed he had been strangled by Nafeek, while she claimed he had choked on his milk. The young Sri Lankan immigrant had no access to a lawyer during her pretrial interrogation during which she said she was forced to sign a confession, notes CNN. The execution of this young woman revealed how “woefully out of step they [the Saudi justice system] are with their international obligations regarding the use of the death penalty,” said Philip Luther from Amnesty International. It highlighted how Saudi law tends to treat children as adults in criminal cases even though international law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18, writes HRW.
A spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that Ban insists on the application of international human-rights law for all men and women in Saudi Arabia, regardless of their migration status or nationality. “We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join the growing world’s movement away from the death penalty,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, representatives from Riyadh have rejected these calls as “external interference” and claim that Saudi Arabia “respects … all rules and laws and protects the rights of its people and residents,” writes Ahram Online.

January 30, 2013

Requested Attorney One Not Provided } Sentenced to Death Today in Texas Justice



Kimberly McCarthy is shown in this undated Texas Department of Criminal Justice photograph. Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on January 29, 2013, the first woman to be put to death in more than two years, for the stabbing murder of her neighbor in 1997. REUTERS/Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout
 By Corrie MacLaggan  
 Austin Texas }  Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Texas on Tuesday, the first woman to be put to death in the United States in more than two years, for the stabbing murder of her neighbor in 1997.
Women are rarely executed in the United States. Only 12 female inmates were put to death since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The last woman executed was Teresa Lewis in Virginia on September 23, 2010, the information center said.
"Although women commit about 10 percent of murders, capital cases also require some aggravating factor like rape, robbery, or physical abuse," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the information center, adding that women usually have not committed a long list of prior felonies.
"It's unclear whether jurors or prosecutors may be more lenient in potential prosecutions of women, since there are relatively few," said Dieter.
McCarthy, 51, was convicted of entering the Lancaster, Texas home of her 71-year-old neighbor, Dorothy Booth, on July 21, 1997, under the pretense of borrowing some sugar. She then stabbed Booth five times, according to the Texas attorney general's summary of the case.
She also cut off Booth's left ring finger in order to take her diamond ring, which she later pawned.
McCarthy also was believed to be responsible for the murders of two other elderly women, one using a meat tenderizer as a weapon and another using a claw hammer, according to the Attorney General's summary.
McCarthy was found guilty in 1998 by a Dallas County jury of murdering Booth and sentenced to death. Her conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2001 because no attorney was present when she was questioned after the crime even though she had requested a lawyer, court documents show. She was tried a second time in 2002, was again found guilty by a Dallas County jury, and again sentenced to death.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2004 agreed with the second conviction.
McCarthy would be the second person executed in the United States so far this year. Forty-three inmates were put to death in 2012.
(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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