death penalty

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Washington State Tosses Death Penalty

State Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional, strikes it down

(Newser) - Washington's Supreme Court struck down the state's death penalty Thursday, ruling that it had been used in an arbitrary and racially discriminatory manner, the AP reports. Washington has had a moratorium on executions since 2014, but the ruling makes it the 20th state to do away with capital... More »

Inmate Makes His Choice Ahead of Execution

Edmund Zagorski requests electric chair, 'lesser of two evils,' over lethal injection

(Newser) - A Tennessee inmate set to be executed this week is asking the state to allow him to die by electric chair over lethal injection because it's the "lesser of two evils." Attorney Kelley Henry confirmed that Edmund Zagorski made the request roughly two hours before the Tennessee... More »

In a First, Saudis May Behead Female Human-Rights Activist

Canada continues to push back

(Newser) - In the midst of a fight with Canada over female human-rights activists, Saudi Arabia plans to behead one. The country's public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against five activists, including Israa al-Ghomgham of the Shia Muslim minority, who documented mass protests in the Eastern Province beginning in 2011,... More »

Closing of Curtains During Execution Raises Questions

Observers' view was blocked for 14 minutes

(Newser) - The Aug. 14 execution of Carey Dean Moore in Nebraska garnered national attention because authorities used a heretofore untested cocktail of four drugs to end the life of the convicted killer. But now, another aspect of the execution is attracting attention: the fact that authorities at Nebraska State Penitentiary closed... More »

Nebraska Uses Fentanyl to Kill Prisoner, a First

Carey Dean Moore was put to death Tuesday

(Newser) - For the first time, fentanyl has been used in the execution of a US prisoner. Carey Dean Moore was put to death via lethal injection at the Nebraska State Penitentiary Tuesday morning using a previously untested combination of four drugs: fentanyl citrate, the powerful synthetic opioid blamed for deadly overdoses... More »

Before His Execution: 'I'm Really Sorry. That's It'

Billy Ray Irick first person executed in Tennessee since 2009

(Newser) - Billy Ray Irick was executed with a lethal injection Thursday night, some 33 years after he raped and murdered Paula Dyer, a 7-year-old girl he was supposed to be babysitting. The 59-year-old was the first person executed in Tennessee since 2009 and the seventh since 1961, the Tennessean reports. "... More »

Pope Makes Big Doctrine Change on an 'Inhuman Recourse'

Francis says death penalty is always 'inadmissible'

(Newser) - Pope Francis has changed church teaching about the death penalty, saying in a new policy published Thursday it's always "inadmissible" because it "attacks" the inherent dignity of all humans. The Vatican says Francis has approved a change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church , the compilation of... More »

Judge Halts Nevada's Controversial Execution Plan

Drugmaker accused state of using 'subterfuge' to obtain one of the drugs

(Newser) - A Nevada judge effectively put the execution of a two-time killer on hold Wednesday after a pharmaceutical company objected to the use of one of its drugs to put someone to death, the AP reports. Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez disallowed the use of the drug in a ruling... More »

In Japan, Mass Hanging of Cult Leader, 6 Followers

They were members of Aum Shinrikyo, responsible for Japan's worst terrorist attack

(Newser) - Japan on Friday executed the leader of a doomsday cult and six of his followers, public broadcaster NHK reports, a mass hanging that had been rumored for months . Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara, was the head of Aum Shinrikyo, the group responsible for the 1995 sarin nerve gas... More »

Social Media Campaign May Have Worked for Political Prisoner

Iranian man's execution has been delayed

(Newser) - A social media campaign apparently worked to delay the execution of a prisoner in Iran: After nearly 230,000 mentions of his name on Twitter in 48 hours, Ramin Hossein-Panahi's execution, originally scheduled for Thursday, was delayed and he was moved from solitary confinement to the general prison population,... More »

In First 4 Months of the Year, Saudi Arabia Beheaded 48

And half of those people were charged with non-violent drug crimes

(Newser) - Human Rights Watch is calling on Saudi Arabia to fix its "notoriously unfair criminal justice system" after revealing that over the past four months, 48 people have been executed in the country. Half of those people were put to death over non-violent drug charges, the group says. Rights experts... More »

India Seeks to Stop Child Rape With Harsh Consequence

Raping a girl under the age of 12 may soon bring the death penalty if ordinance is given green light

(Newser) - India's government has decided to prescribe the death penalty for people convicted of raping girls under the age of 12 to combat an increase in crimes against women, per the AP . An ordinance was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet and was being sent to the president... More »

Lawyers: Boys Don't Cry Killer Is Ineligible for Execution

They argue John Lotter has IQ of a child

(Newser) - Attorneys for a Nebraska death row inmate whose case inspired the 1999 movie Boys Don't Cry say he should be ruled ineligible for execution because he has the intellect of a young child. John Lotter was sentenced to death for his role in the 1993 killings of Brandon Teena,... More »

Man Who Walked Out of Execution Chamber Alive Won't Return to It

Doyle Lee Hamm's legal team says a settlement has been reached with the state

(Newser) - Last month, Doyle Lee Hamm walked out of an Alabama execution chamber alive. On Tuesday, the inmate's legal team said a private settlement had been reached to ensure the state won't try to execute Hamm again. Hamm, sentenced to death for killing a motel clerk during a 1987... More »

Lawyer: Rare Condition Could Make Execution 'Gruesome'

She says Missouri inmate could choke on blood

(Newser) - A condemned Missouri inmate faces a potentially "gruesome and painful" execution because of a rare medical condition that compromises the man's veins and causes multiple tumors in his head and throat, his attorney says. Russell "Rusty" Bucklew is scheduled to die by injection Tuesday evening for killing... More »

Georgia Executes 'Stocking Strangler'

Prosecutors say Carlton Gary raped, killed 7 elderly women

(Newser) - A man known as the "Stocking Strangler" was executed Thursday for the rape-slayings of three older women in attacks that terrorized a Georgia city four decades ago. Carlton Gary, 67, was put to death by lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson. He was the first inmate executed... More »

Prosecutors Will Seek Death for Nikolas Cruz

It's still possible a plea deal could be reached

(Newser) - Florida prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz in the fatal shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The office of Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz filed the formal notice Tuesday. The 19-year-old Cruz is scheduled for formal... More »

Her Religious Beliefs Sent Her to Jail. Now They May Free Her

Investigator was held in contempt of court in death penalty case, but now, a 'dramatic change'

(Newser) - Greta Lindecrantz was sent to jail due to her religious convictions, and now, after two weeks behind bars, those religious convictions, as well as a "dramatic change in circumstance," will apparently set her free. Lindecrantz, a criminal defense investigator, was held in contempt of court Feb. 26 for... More »

Trump Touts Plan for Drug Dealers: Kill Them All

(Newser) - On Saturday, President Trump again supported the idea of killing off America's drug dealers. Speaking at a rally in Moon Township, Penn., he said the presidents of China and Singapore inspired him with their policies, USA Today reports. "You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you're... More »

Religion Bars Her From Testifying. Now She's in Jail

She opposes violence on religious grounds, won't testify in death penalty case

(Newser) - Greta Lindecrantz says her Mennonite faith bars her from testifying in a death-penalty case in Colorado—and as a result, she's been behind bars since Monday. Lindecrantz worked as an investigator for the defense team of Robert Ray, who was sentenced to death in 2009 for ordering the deaths... More »

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