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Updated: 9 hours 37 min ago

Don't mess with Texas, where law is hard, mistakes common

Sun, 02/07/2016 - 9:00pm

Among the 3,000 counties that make up the United States, there is one in Texas where it's best not to mess with the law, because justice is hard and mistakes are common. "The best answer I know is that it's a huge county - four million people - that's very conservative, in an active death penalty state, and for a long time had a notoriously blood thirsty DA," Samuel Gross of the University of Michigan law school told AFP.

An American tale

Sun, 02/07/2016 - 8:32am

Connections between Ireland and the US were numerous before, during and after the rebellion, which received enormous coverage stateside, writes Robert Schmuhl US visits: Roger Casement and John Devoy in New York. Devoy was a key figure in providing financial support to help the rebels ahead of the Rising.

Ron Martz: A death for a death solves nothing

Sun, 02/07/2016 - 4:20am

His name was Brandon Astor Jones. The 72-year-old Jones was killed because in 1979 he killed Roger Tackett, a Cobb County convenience store manager.

The Latest: Sanders supported by former NAACP president

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 11:52pm

The Latest on the race for president, with candidates focusing on New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the 2016 race on Tuesday : Former NAACP President Ben Jealous says Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has the best record and platform for black Americans. He said Clinton's continued support of the death penalty, her Wall Street relationships and her vote for the Iraq invasion of 2003 each violated Martin Luther King Jr.'s standard of judging politicians on their fight against "racism, militarism and greed."

1 of 2 defendants pleads guilty in slaying of schoolteacher

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 8:18pm

One of two defendants charged in the slaying of an elementary school teacher during a burglary of her home has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges.

Aquinas Center Hosts Death Penalty Debate

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 4:42pm

Emory's Aquinas Center of Theology pitted two capital punishment experts against each other during a lively but lighthearted debate on Monday, Feb. 1 in the Emory Law School Tull Auditorium. Emory Associate Professor of Philosophy Michael Sullivan moderated the debate, which he said was intended to initiate dialogue, establish a common truth and introduce new perspectives.

Alabama appeals court rejects John Clayton Owens' bid to stop death penalty trial

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 12:40pm

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - An Alabama appeals court said this afternoon it will not overturn a Madison County judge's ruling allowing the John Clayton Owens death penalty case to begin Monday.

Editorial: Court, lawmakers must overhaul death penalty

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 8:21am

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month invalidating Florida's death penalty sentencing system gives the state an opportunity to end this outdated, arbitrary and ineffective punishment. But this is Florida, and lawmakers are tinkering with the death penalty instead of abolishing it.

Bill would make electrocution the default for death penalty

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 4:47am

Death penalty opponents lost a battle this week when a House committee endorsed a bill to make electrocution the default punishment if lethal injection is unavailable. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty opposed House Bill 815, which would allow the Virginia Department of Corrections to use the electric chair if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

Death Penalty Vacated for Ariz. Rape & Murder

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 1:09am

A man who once scored 62 on an intelligence test - where an IQ of 65 or below qualifies as mental retardation - cannot be executed for a 1980 rape and murder, the Ninth Circuit ruled Thursday, converting the sentence to life in prison. "There can be no doubt that the crime in this case was truly horrific," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote a divided three-judge panel.

DA: No Death Penalty in Gang Murder Case

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 7:36pm

Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming won't be seeking the death penalty against four men accused of the 2014 gang-related murder of a 14-year-old Arcata boy. The Eureka Police Department held a press conference yesterday to announce it had arrested four men - Joe Olivo Jr., Joe Olivo III, Mario Nunez and Nicholas Leigl - for the killing of Jesus "Smiley" Romero-Garcia, who was found bleeding to death from three stab wounds to the chest on the morning of Dec. 17, 2014 in a residential neighborhood of Eureka.

What happens when Scripture is quoted in death penalty cases?

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 1:18pm

Death chamber at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville where capital convicts are executed by lethal injection. Photo courtesy of Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton Split On The Death Penalty

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 7:57am

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split on the issue of capital punishment during a debate Thursday, with Clinton supporting the death penalty in certain circumstances and Sanders saying the government shouldn't be "part of the killing." Clinton said during the MSNBC debate that she still supports the death penalty, though said she had "much more confidence in the federal system" and had concerns with how the death penalty was implemented on the state level.

Teen gang members charged in Los Angeles park killings

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 3:03am

Two teenage gang members have been charged with murdering a 19-year-old woman and her 17-year-old friend last fall in a Los Angeles park and leaving their bodies just off a popular hiking trail where a woman walking her dog found them. Jose Antonio Echeverria, 18, known as Klepto, and Dallas Stone Pineda, 17, known as Trippy, were held on Thursday without bond on charges of murder.

Death penalty upheld for man convicted of killing 4 people

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 8:41pm

The state Supreme Court upheld a Stockton man's death sentence Thursday for murdering four people in 1997 with a gun he had stolen from the van of an Alameda County sheriff's deputy. In the unanimous ruling, the court rejected defense arguments that police had coerced Louis Peoples into confessing to the murders during a marathon interrogation after his arrest.

San Jose: DA to seek death penalty in brutal baby rape, killing

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 1:47pm

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen will seek the death penalty against a man charged with forcing a 16-month-old boy into a sex act so brutal that it tore up his lips and throat before suffocating him, the Mercury News learned Wednesday. Rosen's decision to pursue a capital case against 42-year-old Alejandro Benitez, in an era when opposition to the death penalty continues to rise in California, is the second time he has opted for the ultimate punishment against a defendant since taking office five years ago.

Prosecutors withdraw their intent to seek death penalty in St. George killing

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 8:19am

Defense Attorney Gary Pendleton, murder suspect Brandon Smith and Private Investigator Todd Gubler during a hearing in Smith's aggravated murder case in 5th District Court in St. George, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Defense Attorney Gary Pendleton, murder suspect Brandon Smith and Private Investigator Todd Gubler during a hearing in Smith's aggravated murder case in 5th District Court in St. George, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

How far should Florida go to reform death penalty? Lawmakers mull changes after SCOTUS decision

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 3:12am

Florida lawmakers are considering changes in the state's capital sentencing law after the U.S. Supreme Court found one provision to be unconstitutional last month. Florida law requires jurors to make capital-punishment recommendations by a majority vote, without informing the judge of the factual basis for their recommendation.

Lacking execution drugs, Virginia eyes the electric chair

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 9:04pm

A proposal that would force inmates to die by electric chair if lethal injection drugs can't be found is gaining steam in Virginia, in part because of a looming execution scheduled for next month.

Texan who faced execution in neighbor's death gets life term

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 9:04pm

A Bryan man condemned for the 2007 killing of a neighbor but whose death penalty was overturned must serve life in prison without parole.