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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Iran: Juvenile Offender on Death Row in Ardabil Prison

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HRANA News Agency – Mehrab Eyvazi, juvenile offender from Ardabil was arrested at the age of 17 with nine other defendants. 
Mr. Eyvazi was accused of participation in kidnapping and rape. He was severely beaten at the police station and was threatened with rape by the police officer while he was naked in front of the camera. 
Mr. Eyvazi was sentenced to death, despite his young age. He believes that the verdict has been issued just based on his confessions which have been obtained while he was denied to access his family and lawyer and was subjected to torture and ill-treatment.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), according to two relevant incidents, a case with 10 defendants was opened in the judicial district in Ardabil, in addition to the plaintiff, at least 4 defendants were under the age of 18 years.
The detainees were charged with rape, filming the action and kidnapping. Three young girls were also present among the accused.
Branch tw…

Court: Examine if Austin crime lab botched death penalty evidence

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The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday ordered a closer examination of death row inmate Areli Escobar’s claims that shoddy work by the Austin police crime lab compromised evidence in his case.
Escobar is seeking to have his conviction overturned, and a new trial ordered, after a Travis County jury sentenced him to death in the 2009 sexual assault and stabbing of his neighbor, 17-year-old Bianca Maldonado, an LBJ High School student who was attacked at her East Austin apartment with her year-old son, who survived, nearby.
In a brief order issued Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals directed state District Judge David Wahlberg to examine claims that the crime lab produced false or misleading conclusions from DNA evidence in the case, particularly on tests performed on the shirt, jeans and shoes that tied Escobar to the murder.
Defense lawyers also argued that problems discovered at the crime lab after Escobar’s trial — including poorly trained analysts, reports of cro…

Hours before execution, Tourniquet Killer granted 90-day stay at DA's request

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CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- Hours before his planned execution, convicted serial killer Anthony Allen Shore was granted a 90-day stay by a Harris County judge,
District attorneys in both Harris and Montgomery counties requested the stay amid Shore's claim that another death row inmate tried to persuade him to confess to a murder he did not commit.
Shore, also known as the Tourniquet Killer, said that fellow inmate Larry Ray Swearingen convinced him to take responsibility for the murder of Melissa Trotter after they became friends in prison.
Swearingen is set to be executed for Trotter's 1998 murder in four weeks. He has repeatedly asserted his innocence.
Prosecutors said Shore had planned to follow through with the plan -- which could have potentially set the stage for Swearingen to be exonerated -- until just before Shore's scheduled execution date, Oct. 18.
Over the summer, investigators conducted a search of Shore's cell as part of an inquiry into his mental health. In…

Texas: Montgomery County DA asks governor to stay Anthony Shore's execution

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The Montgomery County District Attorney has asked Gov. Greg Abbott to halt the execution this evening of a notorious Harris County serial killer who launched a last-minute scheme to confess to another death row inmate's crime, officials said Wednesday.
"Tourniquet Killer" Anthony Shore is set to die by lethal injection, but Brett Ligon, top prosecutor in Montgomery County wants a stay because Shore's death will cloud up the pending execution of another man on death row. 
Ligon wrote the governor this week explaining that Shore planned to confess to a slaying for which his fellow death row inmate Larry Swearingen was sentenced to death. 
Tom Berg, first assistant to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said he thought the Montgomery County DA's letter requesting a stay went out earlier this week.
"They've got their own death penalty case and supposedly there was some idea that Shore was going to claim he killed the person the other person killed and t…

Texas: Houston serial killer Anthony Shore faces execution this week

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Anthony Shore, a convicted serial killer, is set to be executed Wednesday evening. His murders in the 1980s and 1990s went unsolved until 2003.
Anthony Shore, the confessed serial rapist and strangler whose murders in the 1980s and 1990s went unsolved for more than a decade, is scheduled for execution Wednesday evening. The courts have shot down his latest appeals that argued a traumatic brain injury decreases his culpability, and a plea for relief to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles was denied Monday afternoon.
Shore, 55, has been on death row since 2004, when he was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1992 rape and murder of 21-year-old Maria Del Carmen Estrada. The killing was 1 of 4 similar murders of young women and girls and one aggravated sexual assault where the girl was able to escape.
The murders took place between 1986 and 1995, according to court documents. All became cold cases in the years after the bodies of Estrada, 14-year-old Laurie Tremblay, 9-year-old Dia…

A Tragedy of Errors: The corkscrew case of Rogers Lacaze

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In "Case in Point," Andrew Cohen examines a single case or character that sheds light on the criminal justice system. An audio version of Case in Point is broadcast with The Takeaway, a public radio show from WNYC, Public Radio International, The New York Times, and WGBH-Boston Public Radio.
Pretend for a moment that you are an 18-year-old black man in Louisiana in 1995 and you've been charged with murdering a white police officer and 2 others, the children of the owner of the restaurant where the crime took place. It's sensational news in New Orleans in part because you have a co-defendant in the case, herself a police officer, Antoinette Frank, who immediately implicates you in the crime. Prosecutors seek the death penalty against you and your judge sets your capital case for trial just over 4 months after the crime.
You have a defense attorney who has never tried a death-penalty case before and who agrees to do so in exchange for your family's promise to give …

Driver Of Deadly Immigrant Smuggling Run Avoids Death Penalty With Guilty Plea

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The semitruck driver who transported dozens of immigrants in his sweltering trailer this summer from Laredo to San Antonio — where police arrested him in a Walmart parking lot and later charged him in the deaths of 10 of the immigrants — pleaded guilty Monday to smuggling.
James Matthew Bradley, 61, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death and one count of transporting aliens resulting in death. He faces up to life in prison when he's sentenced by a federal judge in January.
On July 23, police responding to a call found the trailer in the parking lot of the Walmart on the South Side. Eight of the 39 undocumented immigrants at the scene were dead, and two later succumbed to heat-related injuries. The dead were from Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico. Police found Bradley in the cab.
Immigrants interviewed by investigators said that anywhere from 70 to 200 people were crowded into the overheated trailer, with only one small vent for air, according…

Zimbabwe: 50 apply for hangman's post

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Over 50 Zimbabwean job-seekers have applied for the hangman's post which had remained vacant since 2005, a top official in the Justice ministry has said. 
Justice ministry secretary Virginia Mabhiza said her office would soon go through the applications, but would not give a timeline as to when the appointment will be made. 
"The response has been overwhelming and the applications have been from both men and women interested in taking up the position of hangman. We have received over 50 applications in the past few months. 
"People are very interested," Mabhiza said yesterday. 
Zimbabwe last executed a prisoner on death row in 2005 and international rights lobby group Amnesty International has applauded the country for the "10-year hiatus", urging authorities to declare an official moratorium on the death penalty. 
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the immediate past Justice minister, has consistently declared Zimbabwe would not implement the dea…

Another push to end Utah’s death penalty is likely for the 2018 legislative session

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Advocates for abolishing Utah’s death penalty system say they plan to push lawmakers to end capital punishment in the 2018 legislative session.
Legislators came close to stopping the punishment in 2016 — but the bill never reached the House floor before the midnight deadline on the last night of session.
"Still, it was exciting to see it come that close," said Darcy Van Orden, the executive director of the Utah Justice Coalition. And at a Tuesday evening panel hosted by Young Americans for Liberty, Van Orden said they are planning to make another run at abolishing the death penalty in 2018. They already have their Senate sponsor, she told attendees, and are looking for someone in the House of Representatives to back the bill.
“More to come on this,” she told the audience.
A bill to abolish the death penalty wasn’t brought up in the 2016 session, though lawmakers then had considered studying the costs of the death penalty. The bill, however, never came up for a final Senate …

India: Debate begins on capital punishment alternative methods

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Plea in Supreme Court wants execution by hanging to be judged against global opinion and evolving standards of human decency
The last execution carried out by the state was that of Yakub Memon, in 2015. Convicted for his role in the 1993 Bombay blasts case, the charted accountant was hanged at the Nagpur central jail. Relatives weren’t allowed to attend the event. Instead, his death was witnessed only by a magistrate, a doctor, and a few prison officials.
Now, nobody but the people present at the spot know how Memon suffered through his last moments among the living. Did death come instantly, or did he suffer? They aren’t saying.
Over 1,414 convicts have been hanged since Independence, but there is just as little information on how agonising their final moments were. So, why has this issue suddenly become relevant now, after all these years?
At death’s door: An investigation into capital punishment in India
A public interest litigation has once again ignited a moral debate on the quest…