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Trump Administration Reportedly Eyeing Death Penalty for Drug Dealers

President Trump has sent several recent signals supporting making drug dealing punishable by death. The Washington Post reported March 9 that both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Domestic Policy Council are looking at legislative proposals to let prosecutors seek the death penalty in federal drug-dealing cases. According to the Post article, the administration

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New Supreme Court Term Includes Major Cases Affecting Inmates

By Christopher Zoukis What will happen with the one U.S. Supreme Court vacancy after the death last February of Justice Antonin Scalia will undoubtedly be decided after the results of November’s election. But the high court new term, which began October 3rd, already includes several major cases that could redefine the validity of sentences handed

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State Supreme Court Strikes Down Delaware’s Death Penalty Law

By a 3-2 margin, the Delaware Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional the state’s death penalty law, because it allows a presiding judge to disregard a jury’s recommendation on whether the death penalty should be imposed. The state’s high court held that violates the Sixth Amendment’s right to a jury trial. The Delaware ruling follows the

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Missouri Uses Execution Drug despite DOC Director’s Denials Of Plans to Use

By Christopher Zoukis Missouri’s nine most recent executions have been carried out by killing prisoners with Midazolam, a drug that the state’s Director of the Department of Corrections has stated in a sworn deposition that it had no intention to use. Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi said in a January deposition that Missouri would

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Iran’s Mass Executions and Abuses Continue

By Christopher Zoukis Iran’s dismal record on human rights has been reinforced once again, via the latest wave of mass executions, prisoner abuses, and clampdowns on those who stand against its theocratic regime. On August 4, 2014, 40 prisoners were killed at Shahr-e Kord prison in an intentional slaughter when firefighters were denied access to

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Executions at Long-time Low, but Debate Grows

Prisoner executions in the U.S. last year fell to the lowest level in almost a quarter-century, with only 28 death sentences carried out. So far this year, the pace has remained just as slow, with 14 executions carried out by five states (one apiece by Alabama, Florida and Missouri, five in Georgia, and six by

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Pfizer Deals Blow to Lethal Injections

By Christopher Zoukis Pfizer, Inc., the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, recently announced new restrictions on the distribution of drugs used to execute prisoners. The May 13, 2016 announcement detailed “distribution restrictions” that the company is placing on certain drugs used in lethal injection protocols, including pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and

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Supreme Court Accepts Two New Texas Death Penalty Challenges

By Christopher Zoukis   Although challenges to the death penalty have not fared all that well at the Supreme Court in recent years, its new term starting in October will contain at least two more cases brought by Death Row inmates. On June 6, the high court agreed to take up two separate appeals brought

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Excluding Black Jurors Voids Long-Ago Murder Conviction

In a landmark 7-1 decision earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court voided a nearly 30-year-old murder conviction of a black inmate in Georgia due to prosecutors’ efforts to keep black jurors from hearing the case. Timothy Tyrone Foster, an 18-year-old youth with mental disabilities (which would eventually lead a state court to find his

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Alabama resumes executions as appeals court fails to intervene

A Montgomery, Ala.-based federal appeals court has refused to delay the execution of a state prisoner, even as his lawyers contended his conviction might be invalid in light of a recent Supreme Court decision and argued the execution ought to await the outcome of a lawsuit that could find executions in the state unconstitutionally cruel.

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