Tag Archives: capital punishment

Alabama says “No” to DNA Testing as Execution Day Approaches

Oprah’s “Our America” episode “Innocent Behind Bars” features Ohio Innocence Project Director Mark Godsey, editor of this blog and international expert on the topic, in this video clip published yesterday. Godsey is speaking here about the execution of Thomas Arthur, scheduled soon in Alabama. Arthur was convicted of the 1982 murder of Troy Wicker. On death row for more than 20 years, he’s always claimed innocence. Godsey freely admits that he doesn’t know if Arthur is guilty or not. He’s not alone in that stance, which is why he’s Continue reading

Two Executions in Japan……

A very disappointing news from Japan…

There has still been no wide and open debate on the issue of death penalty in Japan, but executions are being carried out…

Statements from various organizations ensued. Read the statements by Japan Federation of Bar AssociationsCenter for Prisoner’s Rights, and Amnesty Japan (in Japanese).

Read about the death penalty issues in Japan here and here.

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Here is an article on Friday’s executions by Japan Times staff writer Mizuho Aoki:

Two death-row inmates were hanged Friday, in Tokyo and Osaka, in the second round of executions this year after three men went to the gallows in March.

Friday’s hangings were the first ordered by Justice Minister Makoto Taki, who assumed the post June 4. Prisoners on death row now number 130.

Junya Hattori, 40, and Kyozo Matsumura, 31, were hanged because “there was no uncertainty surrounding their convictions,” said Taki, who supports the death sentence.

Hattori, who was hanged at the Tokyo Detention House, raped a 19-year-old university student in the city of Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture, in his car and burned her to death in January 2002.

Matsumura was executed in the Osaka Detention House for the robbery-murders of a 57-year-old aunt in the city of Nagaokakyo, Kyoto Prefecture, and a 72-year-old uncle in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, within eight days in January 2007.

“I signed documents authorizing the executions after carefully considering each case,” Taki told journalists Friday afternoon.

“As I said when I assumed the post, unless there is any uncertainty concerning a conviction, a justice minister should respect the trial process and the decision of the court,” he said. Continue reading

Exonerated Former Death Row Inmate is Living Proof of Wrongful Execution Risk

Ray Krone was a former supporter of the death penalty in the U.S. when he believed that it was fair punishment for the worst-of-the-worst monsters in our society. That was before he was wrongfully portrayed by police and prosecutors as one of those monsters.

A seven-year postal worker, who had served in the military and had no criminal record, Krone was wrongfully convicted on dubious bite mark evidence of the murder of a 36-year-old Phoenix woman in a bar where she worked.  He was sentenced to death and spent more than ten years in prison before crime scene DNA proved his innocence and linked to Kenneth Phillips, an incarcerated felon who had lived near the victim.

Ray Krone, the 100th death row inmate freed due to innocence since reestablishment of the death penalty in the U.S. in 1976, now works for Continue reading

The galvanizing Troy Davis case taught lessons beyond death penalty

Massive attention in America and internationally on the Troy Davis case appropriately focused on the death penalty, but this case was a call to action regardless of one’s position on capital punishment. The troubling uncertainty that followed Troy Davis to the death chamber on September 21, 2011, should prompt widespread recognition that the U.S. criminal justice system can do better, and Americans must require it.

When Davis’s guilt was called into question following the recantation of most key witnesses, thousands protested but were unable to stop the train that had left the station twenty years earlier. That’s when a jury, after weighing evidence Continue reading