CAPITAL PUNISHMENT -- THE DEATH PENALTY:
USA: Major moratorium campaign: The American Civil Liberties Union is mounting an anti-death penalty
campaign. They are calling on a moratorium on future executions. They write:
"Right now, more than 3,500 inmates sit on Death Row in America. Almost all are
poor, and a wildly disproportionate number are people of color. In
addition, most had legal representation that ranged from inadequate to
|2001-JAN-7: Oklahoma: Major series of executions planned: Nine people are scheduled for
execution over the next 30 days in this state. Wanda Jean Allen
is one; she is black, a lesbian, and mentally impaired. According to
the ACLU, "Allen suffers brain damage and has been declared
clinically borderline retarded, but her trial attorney and juries
never knew about her mental incapacity." The state paid
her lawyer $800 to represent her. He had never dealt with a capital
case before. She is scheduled to die on JAN-11. 1|
|2001-FEB-15: Canada: Extradition of murder suspects: In an unanimous decision, the Supreme
Court of Canada ruled that the government cannot extradite accused
murderers to states in the U.S. which exercise the death penalty.
Officials in the state involved must first promise that the accused
will not be executed if found guilty. They wrote, in part, "in
the Canadian view of fundamental justice, capital punishment is unjust
and it should be stopped." Mexico has required assurances
before it extradites individuals to the U.S. More
|2001-FEB-8: Oklahoma: Church promotes moratorium: 11
people were executed in the year 2000 in this state. Eight more have
been scheduled or carried out for this year - one every Tuesday and
Thursday. The Anglican Bishop of Oklahoma, the Rt. Revd. Robert Moody,
has asked his diocese to prayerfully address the issue of capital
punishment and critically look at how it impacts on the society at
large. He asked that, on execution days, churches to ring a bell for
two minutes at 6 PM. Alternatively, they could drape an outside door in
black or tie ribbons around trees or utility poles. Bishop Moody said,
"I recognize that Christian men and women differ on this
issue. However, as your bishop, I ask you to prayerfully address this
issue anew...For me, I have concluded that capital punishment
contributes nothing that betters our society and I cannot imagine our
Lord condoning capital punishment."|
|2001-MAR-21: Georgia: Superior Court judge suspends use of
electric chair: A Fulton County Superior Court judge Wendy
Shoob banned the state from executing people in the electric chair
until the Georgia Supreme Court rules whether the method
violates the Constitutional ban against "cruel and unusual"
|2001-APR: USA: Roman Catholic leader criticizes execution:
"Daniel Buechlein, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Indianapolis,
Indiana, and Bishop Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal
(Anglican) Church have criticized the planned execution of Timothy
McVeigh." He will be executed by lethal injection on MAY-16 in
Indiana; his will be the first federal execution in four decades. U.S.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to permit survivors of the
Oklahoma City bombing and members of the victim's families to observe
the execution on closed-circuit TV. Some local merchants are selling
T-shirts to commemorate the event. Bishop Griswold said that such
activities: "conjure up images of executions in the Middle
Ages and Roman times when these events were public entertainment. Such
an atmosphere demeans our judicial system as it promotes frenzy and
revenge. A public ritual of death can only coarsen our spirits and
deaden our sensibilities. Though undoubtedly Timothy McVeigh committed
one of the most heinous crimes in the history of our country, I fear
that execution as spectacle can only poison the soul of our nation."
Archbishop Buechlein commented: "The good of society requires
that we rise to the challenge of a measured and larger vision. The
death penalty seems to fan the flame of revenge, rather than foster a
genuine sense of justice in society." 2|
|2001-MAY-30: Chile: Death penalty abolished: Congress passed
a bill to abolish the death penalty in April. President Ricardo Lagos
signed the measure into law on MAY-30. The penal code has commuted the
death penalty to life imprisonment which now means imprisonment for 40
years. The penal code had previously provided the death penalty by
firing squad in cases of murder of a family member, kidnapping of
children or violence against them, and kidnapping of adults that caused
the death or murder of police agents. 3|
|2001-JUN-3: TX: Supreme court overturns death sentence: The
U.S. Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of Johnny Paul Penry,
45, a convicted killer from Texas. His lawyers estimate that he has an
IQ between 50 and 63, and has the reasoning ability of a
seven-year-old. He still believes in Santa Claus. Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor wrote the majority opinion. she said that the judge's jury
instruction was "ineffective and illogical," and did
not permit the jury to consider mitigating evidence of the defendant's
mental retardation and childhood abuse. If tried again, it will be
Penry's third trial for the same crime: that of raping and murdering
Pamela Carpenter, 22, in 1979. |
2001-JUN-11: Execution of Timothy McVeigh: At
8:14 local time, he
was executed in Terre Haute, IN, for the terrorist bombing which killed 168 people at the
Afred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, OK on 1995-APR-19. Some thoughts on the
President George W. Bush announced: "This morning,
the United States of America carried out the severest sentence for the
gravest of crimes. The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been
given not vengeance but justice. And one young man met the fate he chose
for himself six years ago...Today, every living person who was hurt by the
evil done in Oklahoma City can rest in the knowledge that there has been a
Amnesty International said that the U.S.
government has allowed vengeance to triumph over justice and distanced
itself yet further from the aspirations of the international community.
"President George W. Bush's record on the death penalty
is well-known across the world...By refusing to step in and impose a
moratorium on federal executions, he has further damaged his and his
country's reputation." During his five years as Governor of Texas, he
152 state executions. Many were in violation of international standards.
At least one involved a foreigner who was not allowed to contact their
embassy after being arrested. Some executions were of criminals who were
children at the time of their offense. Others were of severely mentally
Some voices of individuals:
"Timothy McVeigh was a cold-blooded murderer. He
will not be missed. But the way he died was sad, pathetic and wrong."
"A rite of national purification."
"Before Tim McVeigh was executed, there were 168
deaths associated with the bombing. Now, there are 169 deaths, and the
creation of one martyr. Further, his siblings and parents must morn the
state murder of a member of their family. Snuffing out one life is too
great a price to pay so that some victims and families of victims may feel
a sense of vengeance or closure. If we want to prevent future terrorist
acts, we won't have Timothy around to analyze."
"He didn't suffer at all. The man just went to
sleep, or as I said, the monster did. I think they should have done the
same thing to him as he did in Oklahoma."
"McVeigh is a coward and a low-down bastard.
Somebody tried to take my life, they deserve to burn in hell."
"We feel at peace now."
"I won't have closure. My pain won't go away."
"All life is precious. It's a sad day."
"An eye for an eye. That's what we are here
"Rot in Hell, McVeigh."
2001-JUN-14: OK: Human Rights Watch (HRW) urges
state to stop executions: Oklahoma leads the U.S. in executions
during 2001. The state has executed 13 people so far this year. Over the
past 20 years, seven or more men on death row have been exonerated and
released. According to HRW, "Recent reports that an Oklahoma City
police forensic scientist may have offered misleading and improper
testimony in a number of capital cases underscore the need to reconsider
the death penalty." HRW has written Oklahoma governor Frank Keating
(R), urging a moratorium on executions.
2001-JUL-6: CT: Execution of mentally retarded
banned: Governor John Rowland of Connecticut signed a bill into law
which prohibits the execution of offenders with mental retardation. It
also authorizes a study of possible disparities in prosecutors'
decisions to seek the death penalty based on a defendant's or victim's
race or economic status.
2001-AUG-4: NC: Execution of mentally retarded
banned: Governor Mike Easley signed a bill into law that forbids the
execution of mentally retarded individuals. He said: "The prosecutors
and legislators feel this is a fair bill. I have sincere reservations
because I support the death penalty and I believe that a defendant who
knows right from wrong, and is capable of assisting his counsel in his
defense in court, should be subject to the same punishment as anyone
else." However, support from the state's district attorney's
association and Attorney General Roy Cooper were "compelling factors"
in his decision to sign the bill. According to the Death Penalty
Information Center, this brings to 18 the number of states that have
some type of ban on executions of the mentally retarded. Jonathan Broun,
a spokesperson for the Center for Death Penalty Litigation said:
"North Carolina is joining what is a national viewpoint that it is wrong
to execute the mentally retarded, that we should not be killing people
with the minds of children". Opponents of the legislation argued that
supporters were trying to use it to gut the death penalty in North
2001-OCT-22: TX: Execution of teenage offender:
Gerald Mitchell, 33, was executed in Huntsville, TX. He had been
found guilty of committing murder while he was 17 years of age. Rick
Halperin, a history professor at Southern Methodist University and
president of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty said:
"The world does not recognize, in general, a 17-year-old as an
adult." But Texas, 22 other states in the U.S. and about a
half-dozen other countries do. 4
- "Bias and stereotyping sent mentally impaired lesbian to death
row, ACLU tells OK Clemency Board," at: http://www.aclu.org/news/2000/n121500.html
- Chris Herlinger, "U.S. religious leaders condemn sentences in two
high-profile crimes," 2001-MAY-2, PCUSA News.
- "Chilean cardinal applauds end to death penalty," at:
- Diane Jennings, "Execution gets little notice despite youth of
defendant," Dallas Morning News, at:
Copyright � 1997 to 2001 incl. by Ontario Consultants on
Extracted from our main death penalty essay on
Hyperlinks checked: 2000-FEB-13
Last updated 2001-DEC-6
Author: B.A. Robinson