Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

India: Decision on bill to hang rapists deferred

BHOPAL: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government on Tuesday postponed taking a decision on a bill with provisions of capital punishment for rapists. 
It was on the government's agenda when the cabinet met for its weekly meeting on Tuesday morning. 
Sources in the state government said that the government wants to pass a bill in the assembly during the winter session, which commences on November 27, with provisions of harsher punishment for rapists when the victim is below 12 years of age.
"Decision on the punishment law has been deferred till the next cabinet meeting scheduled for November 26. 
The Bill has been sent to the law department for further consultation," said finance minister Jayant Malaiya while briefing reporters after the cabinet meeting.
Cabinet also did not decide on presenting a supplementary budget of Rs 5,000 crore. 
After ratification of the cabinet, the supplementary budget will be presented in the state assembly during the winter session which commence…

Sister Helen Prejean, a foremost critics of the death penalty, has harsh words for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster

One of the foremost critics of the death penalty had some harsh words for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster Monday.
Sister Helen Prejean didn't mince words, calling out McMaster after his news conference announcing that South Carolina's 1st scheduled execution in 6 years will not be carried out.
Prejean said the planned execution of death row inmate Bobby Wayne Stone, announced Nov. 17, was a political stunt orchestrated by McMaster, who spoke to the media while standing in front of South Carolina's death row.
Stone's execution will not be carried out on Dec. 1 as planned because S.C. does not have the drugs necessary to perform a lethal injection. McMaster was joined by S.C. Corrections Director Bryan Stirling at the news conference to make this announcement, something Prejean saw as a charade.
The nun, whose best-selling book "Dead Man Walking," was turned into an award-winning movie, posted as much on Twitter.
"Let's get this straight: South …

French student sentenced to five years prison for bringing marijuana into Bali

Frenchman Anthony J Lambert has been sentenced to five years in Bali prison over drug possession.
The 23-year-old French student was found guilty of bringing marijuana into Indonesia from Malaysia in Denpasar District Court on Tuesday.
Lambert was arrested in June 2017 upon arrival in Bali at the island’s Ngurah Rai International Airport from Kuala Lumpur, with 14 grams of marijuana.
“The defendant is found guilty of importing drugs, marijuana type, with a penalty of years imprisonment and a fine of IDR1 billion (US$73,894). If unable to pay the fine, then he must serve an additional three months in prison,” Judge Made Pasek said in court on Tuesday, as quoted by Tribun Bali.
The judge said Lambert has the right to appeal during a seven-day window.
Lambert’s attorney, Pande Putu Maya Arsanti said they will consider appealing.
“We are not happy with this decision. We will think it over the next week,” she said.
According to Arsanti, Lambert should have been charged not for drug posses…

Former Virginia death row inmate Joseph Giarratano granted parole

RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia death row inmate who had his sentence commuted to life in prison more than two decades ago has been granted parole.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Virginia State Parole Board on Monday approved Joseph Giarratano for release.
Board chairwoman Adrianne Bennett says it may take a month before Giarratano, one of the state’s best-known inmates, is freed.
Giarratano was convicted of the 1979 rape and capital murder of 15-year-old Michelle Kline and the murder of her mother, 44-year-old Toni Kline, in Norfolk.
In 1991, two days before his scheduled execution, Gov. L. Douglas Wilder commuted his sentence after questions were raised about his guilt.
Gerald Zerkin, who was Giarratano’s lawyer when Wilder commuted the death sentence, called the decision “fantastic news.”
Members of the victims’ family couldn’t be reached by the newspaper for comment.
Source: The Associated Press, November 21, 2017

Joseph M. Giarratano, controversial former death row inmate, gra…

Record 11 Taiwanese sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug crimes

The 11 Taiwanese sentenced to death for drug crimes in Indonesia are a new record high
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As the Indonesian government intensifies its crackdown on illegal drugs, there are currently 11 Taiwanese that have been sentenced to death for drug offenses, a new record high, according to Indonesian official sources cited in a CNA report. 
In its effort to clamp down on the illegal drug trade, foreign nationals have also been targeted, with 11 Taiwanese sentenced to death for drug trafficking, three of whom are already on death row, including Chen Chia-wei (陳嘉偉), Wang An-kang (王安康), and Lo Chih-cheng (羅至誠), stated the report.
The eight other Taiwanese citizens who have been sentenced to death by Indonesian district and high courts are surnamed Lin (林), Chen (陳), Chuang (莊), Li (李), Shih (石), Wu (吳), Hung (洪), and Yeh (葉). 
Although the eight have not completed the judicial process, Indonesia's track record with death penalty case indicates that their chances of appeali…

Malaysia: Contractor escapes gallows thanks to trial judge’s misstep

The Federal Court, in finding that a trial judge had acted as prosecutor and asked a prosecution witness incriminating questions, reduces murder charge and sentences contractor to 20 years’ in jail.
PUTRAJAYA: A contractor who stabbed to death his relative after a drinking session today escaped the death penalty due to a misstep by the trial judge.
The Federal Court instead sentenced Paul Lagang anak Malip to 20 years’ after finding him guilty of killing, without intention, Morris Asang Yahya.
“We are substituting the charge from murder to culpable homicide due to the manner the trial was conducted,” said Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, who chaired the five-man bench.
He said the conviction for murder was “unsafe”.
Malanjum, in the course of the proceeding, said the trial judge had played the role of prosecutor.
Another member of the bench, Jeffrey Tan Kok Hwa, remarked that the judge had crossed the line by asking incriminating questions to eye-witness, Robin Bapi.

Charles Manson Was Sentenced to Death. Why Wasn't He Executed?

Charles Manson, who ordered the murder of nine people in 1969, has died of natural causes at age 83. But how was it that the infamous cult leader was allowed to live out his days in prison, having been sentenced to death in 1971?
Manson and his accomplices in “the family” escaped execution in the 1970s because of a technicality—or at least fortunate timing.
Manson was tried over a period of seven months alongside Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten over the killings of actress Sharon Tate and eight others at the end of 1969. All four were found guilty and sentenced to death, along with Charles "Tex" Watson, another follower who was tried separately.
However, Manson and his accomplices were allowed to live when, in 1972, the California Supreme Court invalidated the state’s death penalty statutes. As a result, the members of the family sitting on death row had their executions commuted. All were given life sentences and made eligible for parole.
Steve “Cle…

South Carolina doesn’t have drugs for December execution

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Officials said Monday that they can’t carry out South Carolina’s first death penalty in more than six years because the state can’t get the drugs needed for lethal injection, but remaining appeals make it unlikely the execution could have moved forward as scheduled anyway.
The Department of Corrections last week received its first execution order in more than six years. State Supreme Court justices set a Dec. 1 execution date for Bobby Wayne Stone, a 52-year-old man on death row for killing a Sumter County sheriff’s deputy.
Sgt. Charlie Kubala was killed when he was shot twice while checking on a suspicious person at a Sumter home in February 1996. Stone didn’t deny shooting the officer but said his gun went off accidentally when both were in the same area.
The state’s current injection protocol requires three drugs: pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. The state’s supply of pentobarbital expired in 2013, and Corrections Director Bryan Stir…

Supreme Court to consider Alabama petition involving death penalty, racial discrimination, and Roy Moore

The justices on Tuesday will consider whether to hear a case questioning if the Alabama Supreme Court failed to follow the high court's precedent prohibiting race- and gender-based discrimination in jury selection.
The Supreme Court will consider a petition from Alabama on Tuesday featuring the death penalty, discrimination, and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice and controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore.
At Tuesday's conference, the justices will consider whether to hear Floyd v. Alabama, a case questioning if the Alabama Supreme Court failed to follow the high court's precedent prohibiting race- and gender-based discrimination in jury selection.
Christopher Floyd was convicted in 2005 of killing Waylon Crawford during a robbery in 1992. 
Crawford's killing went unsolved for more than 12 years, following a lack of witnesses and physical evidence found at the crime scene, as Floyd's attorneys note in their petition to the high court. After the jury retur…