death penalty

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One Client Got Death. Then Another, and Another

The 'Guardian' looks at defense lawyer Frederick Duchardt

(Newser) - Missouri claims less than 2% of America's population, but is the place where 14.5% of the convictions of the 62 people sitting on federal death row occurred. In a lengthy piece for the Guardian , David Rose looks at the lawyer who "has had more clients sentenced to... More »

He Was Executed in 1995. China Now Says He Was Innocent

Nie Shubin was made a suspect 'without a shred of evidence,' court finds

(Newser) - In August 1994, a Chinese man was named a suspect in the rape and murder of Kang Juhua, whose body was found in the northern Hebei province. He was allegedly beaten into a confession, subjected to a trial his parents couldn't attend, and executed by gunshot without their knowledge... More »

Now in California: Streamlined Executions

Opponents of the newly passed Proposition 66 say it's unconstitutional

(Newser) - The Election Day count is finally complete, and California voters have approved a measure aimed at speeding up executions for those on death row, the Los Angeles Times reports. Proposition 66 is designed to make the legal process more efficient by providing a bigger pool of lawyers to handle cases,... More »

Nebraska Votes to Bring Back Death Penalty

Lawmakers repealed penalty last year

(Newser) - The death penalty is back from the dead in Nebraska: Voters overwhelmingly supported a ballot measure to restore the penalty, which was abolished by state lawmakers last year , reports the AP . Around 61% of voters chose to "repeal the repeal" in the state, which had 10 people on death... More »

With Her Love on Death Row, Woman Goes Back to School

Yancy Escobar Balderas is becoming a lawyer to help her husband, others

(Newser) - "I cried so much my nose was bleeding." Yancy Escobar Balderas, 29, was in the courtroom—as she had been every day during the two-month trial—when her now-husband Juan Balderas was sentenced to death for a murder she says he didn't commit. This month—two years... More »

Saudi Arabia Just Executed a Prince

Prince Turki fatally shot a friend in 2012

(Newser) - Being a royal won't save your life in Saudi Arabia if you're convicted of murder. Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, who fatally shot a friend in a "group quarrel" at a desert camp in December 2012, was executed in Riyadh on Tuesday, state media reports, per CNN... More »

In Poll on Death Penalty, a 45-Year First

Supporters no longer in majority: Pew

(Newser) - For the first time in 45 years, Americans who support the death penalty can't count themselves among the majority. Just 49% of Americans polled from late August to early September said they supported capital punishment for people guilty of murder, while 42% said they opposed it, according to the... More »

Ohio Resuming Executions After 3-Year Moratorium

State will use a new 3-drug combination

(Newser) - Ohio plans to resume executions in January with a new three-drug combination after an unofficial three-year moratorium blamed on shortages of lethal drugs, an attorney representing the state told a federal judge Monday. Thomas Madden with the Ohio attorney general's office said the state will use the drugs midazolam,... More »

Delaware Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional

Final decision in capital cases rested with judge, not jury

(Newser) - Delaware's death penalty law is unconstitutional in light of a US Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, the state's high court ruled Tuesday. In a 148-page opinion, a majority of Delaware Supreme Court justices said the state law violates the US Constitution because it allows a judge to... More »

Dylann Roof: Death Penalty Is 'Cruel,' 'Unconstitutional'

Capital punishment violates Fifth, Eighth Amendments, and his lawyers want it taken off the table

(Newser) - Defense attorneys say they will challenge the Justice Department's decision to pursue the death penalty for Dylann Roof , accused of killing nine people at a black church in Charleston, SC. "The facts of this case are indisputably grave," they say, per CNN . "But if, as we... More »

14% of Death Row Inmates Are There Because of Just 5 Prosecutors

Report argues overzealous DAs are making the death penalty arbitrary

(Newser) - Just five prosecutors representing less than 0.2% of US counties are responsible for 14% of all people currently on death row and 5% of people sentenced to death in the past 40 years. That's according to a recently released report from Harvard Law School's Fair Punishment Project.... More »

Jurors Vote for Death Sentence for 'Grim Sleeper'

Lonnie Franklin Jr. will be formally sentenced later

(Newser) - A jury has returned a death sentence for a serial killer known as the "Grim Sleeper," who murdered nine women and a teenage girl over several decades in South Los Angeles, the AP reports. The verdict Monday came nearly a month after 63-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. was convicted... More »

Indonesia to Kill, Castrate Pedophiles

New rules follow rape, murder of 14-year-old

(Newser) - Indonesia is officially a terrifying place for pedophiles: Effective immediately, child sex offenders can face the death penalty or chemical castration under new rules approved by President Joko Widodo, reports AFP . Offenders can also receive a maximum of 20 years in jail—double the previous maximum sentence—and may be... More »

Feds Will Pursue Death Penalty Against Dylann Roof

'The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision'

(Newser) - The Justice Department announced Tuesday it will seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof , who is accused of killing nine people during a Bible study class inside a historic black church last June in Charleston, South Carolina. "The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this... More »

Texas Execution Halted, State Won't Appeal

John Battaglia killed his 2 young daughters as revenge against his ex

(Newser) - The Texas Attorney General's Office is not appealing a federal appeals court ruling that has halted the scheduled execution of a Dallas man convicted of killing his two young daughters 15 years ago, the AP reports. State attorneys could have appealed to the US Supreme Court the decision to... More »

Ohio Tried, Failed to Execute This Man, Gets to Try Again

Romell Broom survived botched attempt in 2009

(Newser) - Ohio tried and failed once to execute Romell Broom, and now a court has given the state permission to try again. The state's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Broom's argument that a second attempt would amount to cruel and unusual punishment and a violation of double jeopardy, reports... More »

Florida Revamping Death Penalty to Reboot Executions

Bill sent to governor requires a 10-2 jury vote for judge to OK execution

(Newser) - In January, the US Supreme Court ruled that the way Florida's death penalty was carried out was unconstitutional. Now, in reaction to that decision, the state is overhauling its system, with the Florida Legislature sending a bill to Gov. Rick Scott that would mandate at least 10 out of... More »

Inmate Avoids Execution by Paying to Get Pregnant

A male inmate left sperm and a syringe in a plastic baggie for her

(Newser) - Four prison guards in northern Vietnam have been suspended for alleged negligence after a female inmate on death row for drug trafficking became pregnant, which means her death sentence will be commuted to life in prison once her child is born, the AP reports. The Thanh Nien newspaper says Nguyen... More »

Death Row Inmates' Last Words Are Often Surprising

They're frequently positive, says a new study

(Newser) - What would you say if you were about to be executed? There's a good chance your last words would be on the positive side. At least that was the case for 407 death row inmates executed between 1982 and 2015 in Texas, according to a new study published in... More »

What It's Like to Witness an Execution

Columnist describes his first experience

(Newser) - Last week, reporter St. John Barned-Smith went to cover his first execution. "You'll never be the same," one anti-death-penalty protester warned him outside Texas's Walls Unit prison, where James Garrett Freeman would be put to death for killing a Texas game warden in 2007, when he... More »

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