Keiko Horikawa is a Japanese freelance journalist whose work, unknown in English translation until now, deals with the value of life and the weight of death. Her two subjects are the death penalty and the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, which has gained new urgency as bomb survivors, the hibakusha, die out after 70 years. Here is a translation of an event promoting her book about the Genbaku Kuyoto, the mound containing the unclaimed remains of approximately 70,000 bomb victims, and her effort to reunite the 815 identified remains with their families.
David Dow is an attorney and law professor in Texas who has represented over 100 death row clients. He has been suspended by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for missing an appeals filing deadline...or did he? [more inside]
The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
On Thursday morning, Ohio executed Dennis McGuire for the 1989 rape and murder of Joy Stewart. However, due to an embargo on the common used lethal injection drug pentobarbital, the state used an untried combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a morphine derivative, for the execution. The procedure took 24 minutes, during which McGuirse was reported to have been "choking and snorting" and was described as "horrific". [more inside]
In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
The last meals of executed prisoners - photographs of the final choices of death row inmates.
A DNA test has proven that a man was executed for murder by the State of Texas on the basis of false forensic evidence. [more inside]
The Supreme Court today issued a one line statement refusing to hear Troy Davis' appeal. Troy Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of a police officer in Savannah, GA, and sentenced to death solely on eyewitness testimony. No murder weapon or any physical evidence linked him to the crime. Since the conviction, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted or changed their stories, and one of the two who haven't changed their stories is the other suspect in the case. Things were looking good for Davis when the Supreme Court issued a stay two hours before his execution last month. Justice may really be dead in this country.
Death for embezzling? The former chief of the state run Bank of China, Liu Jinbao, was given a suspended death sentence for embezzling 7.72M yuan (approximately 1M USD). His assets have been seized, and it is expected that his sentence will be commuted to life in prison. As China actively seeks to lure foreign investments, including banks, this is meant to send a strong signal about corruption in the financial sector.
There are some questions that social scientists should be able to answer. Either executing people cuts the homicide rate or it does not. A fascinating look into statistics and the death penalty.
Four California activists were arrested Tuesday while protesting the case of Kevin Cooper, set to be executed in less than a week. Gov. Schwarzenegger denied a clemency hearing for Cooper (the first time such a hearing was denied since California re-instituted the death penalty in 1978), despite ample evidence shedding doubt not only on the fairness of Cooper's trial, but also his alleged guilt. Kevin Cooper is asking people to protest for his life.
England vs. USA Over the death penalty. Initially I felt like saying "butt out" but America tends to get involved in other countries when our citizens are in trouble (like that kid in Singapore way back).