cruel and unusual punishment

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'Delusional' Texas Inmate Gets 11th-Hour Stay of Execution

Attorneys had sought reprieve for 'delusional' Scott Panetti, who killed his in-laws

(Newser) - No one disputes that Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti shot his second wife's parents to death in 1992 to rid them of demons. Or that during his trial, he represented himself dressed in a purple cowboy costume and tried to get 200 witness subpoenas, including ones for JFK... More »

California's Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional

Federal judge says systemic delays amount to cruel and unusual punishment

(Newser) - A potentially huge ruling on the death penalty out of California: A federal judge says the state's system of capital punishment is so inept that California must stop killing inmates, period, reports NBC Bay Area . The decision by US District Judge Cormac J. Carney isn't about the ongoing... More »

What the Botched Execution Means for the Death Penalty

Pundits think this is a turning point

(Newser) - Last night's ugly, bungled execution of Clayton Lockett has many wondering about the future of the death penalty in America. By rushing to execute Lockett with secretive, untested means, Oklahoma "elevated a convicted murderer to a status he surely did not deserve in life," writes Andrew Cohen... More »

Iran Rolls Out 'Finger-Chopping Machine'

New device an attempt to quell protest: activist

(Newser) - After publicly hanging two muggers , Iran has released photos of an apparent finger-chopping machine used for punishing criminals. The four images show a convicted robber and adulterer losing a finger before he is sentenced to 99 lashes and three years in prison, according to state media. But he shows no... More »

UN Torture Chief: Manning's Treatment Cruel, Inhuman

Juan Mendez accuses US of cruel and inhumane treatment

(Newser) - The UN's torture chief has officially accused the US government of cruel and inhumane treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, the Guardian reports. The agency's special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, investigated Manning's treatment for 14 months and found that Manning's 11-month solitary confinement was... More »

Prisoner Lawsuit: Soy Diet 'Cruel and Unusual'

Sex offender says cheap meat substitutes endanger his health

(Newser) - The low-cost, soy-based diet served in Florida's prisons amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, says a 34-year-old lifer who is suing the state, reports the Orlando Sentinel . Eric Harris, who was convicted for sexual battery on a child, says the cheap meat substitute is causing painful cramps and gas,... More »

Inmate Sues Michigan Over Prison's No-Porn Policy

Calls lack of smut 'psychological warfare against prisoners'

(Newser) - No porn in prison? That's against the Constitution—or so says one brazen bank robber in Michigan, who's suing the governor and the state over Macomb Country Jail's no-porn policy, calling it cruel and unusual punishment. In a five-page, handwritten lawsuit, the 21-year-old prisoner says not having... More »

Why Is Manning Being Forced to Strip Each Night?

It all started with a 'sarcastic quip,' his lawyer writes

(Newser) - Bradley Manning has been forced to sleep naked for three consecutive nights, his lawyer wrote yesterday on his website , and the practice is expected to continue “indefinitely.” The official reason? Manning is on “prevention of injury” watch and must strip nightly for his own safety. The real... More »

Manning Forced to Strip in Jail: Lawyer

He alleges prison mistreatment, calls it purely 'punitive'

(Newser) - Bradley Manning’s lawyer is accusing the military of mistreating his client, saying that he was forced to spend two days virtually naked in his cell after the Army placed him on suicide watch against the recommendation of the jail’s forensic psychiatrist. Manning was confined to his cell around... More »

Bradley Manning Is Being Tortured

Glenn Greenwald takes a long look at 'inhumane' detention

(Newser) - With so much attention focused on Julian Assange, it’s easy to forget about the plight of accused leaker Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime. In an extensive Salon piece , Glenn Greenwald lays out the case for why he believes... More »

Female Inmates Sue Over Shackles While Giving Birth

Say they endure labor with arms, legs cuffed

(Newser) - Twenty former inmates are suing the Cook County sheriff's office alleging that they had to give birth while restrained with handcuffs and leg shackles, reports the Chicago Tribune . The practice is illegal, though a sheriff's spokesman says women are allowed to be restrained until labor begins, and they rely on... More »

Prisoner Sues Over Smoking Ban

It's 'cruel and unusual' punishment, con claims

(Newser) - You can take his freedom but you can't take his cigarettes, a British inmate is arguing in court. Jack Richard Foster is suing prison authorities, claiming they violated his human rights and imposed cruel and unusual punishment when they took away his tobacco for a week as punishment for swearing... More »

Uganda Won't Sentence Gays to Death

Death penalty is dropped from proposed new law

(Newser) - Uganda still views homosexuals as "repugnant," but it won't execute them or send them to jail for life because of their sexual orientation. Those two punishments are being dropped from an anti-gay bill being readied for parliament, the nation's ethics and integrity minister said. The government approves of... More »

Teens Sentenced to Life: Cruel and Unusual?

High court will address sentences for kid convicts who didn't kill

(Newser) - Joe Sullivan was sent away for life for raping an elderly woman and judged incorrigible though he was only 13. Terrance Graham, implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17, was given a life sentence by a judge who told the teenager he had thrown his life away.... More »

Court Refuses Davis Case; 'Too Fat' Cooey Executed

Decision opens path to controversial Georgia execution

(Newser) - The Supreme Court refused today to decide whether executing an individual backed by a strong claim to innocence violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The rejection paves the way for the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, accused of murdering a Georgia policeman.... More »

Justices Deny 11 Capital Appeals

Court passes on death-row cases following ruling upholding lethal injection

(Newser) - The Supreme Court today dismissed appeals from 11 death-row prisoners in seven states, including three who received last-minute stays of execution last year; the result was no surprise 1 week after the landmark ruling upholding lethal injection in Kentucky, the New York Times reports. The earlier opinion held that the... More »

Lethal Injection Ruling Will Spur Executions, Lawsuits

Pro-death states will waste no time; lawsuits likely in others

(Newser) - Executions will resume in the United States, thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling on lethal injection yesterday, but so will lawsuits, the New York Times reports. By condoning methods “substantially similar” to Kentucky’s, the court has invited more challenges. “We have left the states with nothing... More »

Supreme Court Upholds Kentucky Lethal Injection

Ruling clears way for other states to resume capital punishment

(Newser) - By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court upheld today the use of lethal injection by a three-drug cocktail. Two death row inmates in Kentucky had charged that the method violated their Eighth Amendment right to be spared cruel and unusual punishment. The mix of drugs has been used in... More »

Transgender Con Upset Over Fading Femininity

Killer suing for surgery wants more treatment

(Newser) - A prisoner who has sued for a sex-change operation has complained that treatments to feminize her body have stopped, the AP reports. “My breasts have shrunk, genitals have regained previous size, facial hair is thicker,” Michelle Kosilek, formerly Robert, wrote in a letter to the court considering the... More »

Court Skeptical of Challenge to Lethal Injection

Justices cite low chance of painful death, lack of better option

(Newser) - As the Supreme Court opened its hearing on lethal injection today, justices expressed serious doubts that the method amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, the LA Times reports. Most of the panel, including Chief Justice John Roberts, seemed unconvinced that the three-chemical cocktail results in a painful death, or that... More »

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