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capital punishment

Another Christmas On Death Row (Updated)

For the past 33 Christmas holidays, Cooper has inhabited an 11-by-4 ½-foot cell in California’s San Quentin State Prison, the last eight waiting for Brown to grant him a new hearing and advanced DNA testing that would support what federal Appellate Judge William Fletcher has said: “Kevin Cooper is on death row because the San Bernardino sheriff’s department framed him.” Cooper, at the top of the list to be killed when the state resumes executions, talks to Robert Scheer in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence” about the unfairness of the justice system and the difficulty of proving one’s innocence once convicted.

Capital Punishment In The United States: Explained

In August 2018, the state of Tennessee executed Billy Ray Irick, the first man executed in the state since 2009. He had spent over 30 years on death row. As a child, Irick experienced unimaginable abuse. His mother would tie him up with a rope and beat him.  Neighbors described his father as “an excessive drinker and a brutal man” who beat his wife and kids. [Liliana Segura / The Intercept]  Irick exhibited signs of mental illness as early as 6, leading some to hypothesize that he had suffered brain damage from his abuse. Around the time of the offense, he reportedly started hallucinating, telling the victim’s family, with whom he lived, that he heard the devil’s commands, who gave him “instructions on what to do.” A neuropsychologist believed Irick was likely schizophrenic or psychotic during this period, and in post-trial proceedings, the state’s own expert called Irick’s competence into question.

Saudi Arabia Sparks International Protests With Execution

By Melissa Cronin for The Gawker. A total of 47 prisoners were executed in Saudi Arabia, including a well-known Shiite cleric who had criticized the government and sparked protests in the past. A government statement released Saturday claimed that the executions of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and the other prisoners were aligned with Islamic law and considered a “mercy to the prisoners” because they would no longer commit bad acts, according to the Associated Press. The move has already sparked tensions within the country’s Shiite minority, a demonstrations in several countries. Human Rights groups condemned the executions, according to the Guardian, describing them as “the most serious crime imaginable.”

Time To Kill The Death Penalty

By Bernie Horn for Campaign for America's Future - The death penalty is a tragic little corner of America’s “culture wars,” where mostly Southerners insist that their moral beliefs require them to execute thy neighbor. Little do they understand that they’re on the wrong side of history. There’s been quite a turnaround from the late 1980s and early 1990s, when progressives were afraid to speak out against the death penalty. At that time polls indicated that about 80 percent of Americans favored capital punishment while only 16 percent opposed it. The polls don’t look so bad today, but at least on the surface Americans still favor the death penalty by a margin of two to one. And yet, progressives should now feel comfortable on this issue, especially in a primary election. Most Democrats do not favor capital punishment and support by independents is around 60 percent and falling fast.
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