[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide----GLOBAL, IRE., BOTSWANA, N. IRE., BAHAMAS
rhalperi at smu.edu
Sat Aug 13 11:51:05 CDT 2011
4 Wealthy Countries that Performed Executions in 2010
In a previous article, I discussed the fact that the U.S. is an outlier
regarding incarceration rates, having a rate that is about 7 times the amount
of typical OECD countries (the OECD is an international organization comprised
of 34 countries, representing many of the wealthier countries in the world).
Some people wondered whether the U.S's extraordinarily high incarceration rate
is a reflection of a much higher underlying crime rate. In general, measuring
crime rates is problematic due to the fact that most crimes are highly
underreported. In fact, the phrase the "dark figure of crime" was coined to
describe the amount of crime which is unreported or undetected -- for example,
national citizen surveys like the British Crime Survey have estimated that the
crime rate that is about twice as high as the officially recorded crimes rate.
So, the underlying national crime rates, a critical factor in the incarceration
rate, is poorly measured or understood. Other factors that contribute to
incarcerations such as the crime reporting rate, the arrest rate, differences
in laws (for instance drug laws, repeat offender laws), sentencing policies
also vary across countries.
One factor that we can measure reasonably accurately is a country's policy
towards capital punishment since national policies are readily accessible and,
for some countries, the number of prisoners executed is routinely published.
Capital punishment, the most extreme example of judicial punishment, shows
major variations across countries and between states within America. When we
review the data, we see that capital punishment is another area where the
U.S.'s justice system is again very distinct from most wealthy countries.
At least 23 countries were known to have carried out executions in 2010. Of
these 23 countries, only 4 were classified as Very High Human Development by
the Human Development Report, indicating that these were countries with
comparatively high degrees of wealth, education and health. These 4 Very High
Human Development countries were Bahrain, Japan, Singapore and US. Contrarily,
31 of the 38 remaining Very High Human Development countries have legally
abolished the death penalty.
If we look at this from a more political lens, we also see that the U.S. is an
outlier. Of the 26 countries that were categorized as free according to The
Economist's Democracy Index only the US and Japan had performed executions in
2010 (8% of countries classified as free). This can be contrasted with the
nearly 25% of countries classified as authoritarian that performed executions
Within the U.S., there is a large degree of variation in the legality and use
of capital punishment. For example, of the 46 executions that occurred in the
U.S. in 2010, 17 were in Texas, 8 were in Ohio and 5 in Alabama meaning that
these 3 states comprised 65% of the executions in the US but make up only about
13% of the population. In 16 states (plus Washington DC) the death penalty has
been abolished .
Many people question whether the death penalty impacts crime rates by asking
questions like "does capital punishment serve as a deterrent?" Others challenge
the morality of capital punishment, especially given the concerns about false
imprisonments. In this article, I am not looking to explore those questions,
but rather to simply observe that the legal position of many U.S. states
towards capital punishment distinguishes it from most other wealthy or
democratic countries. This of course opens up more questions including
fundamental ones: Why exactly do large parts of the U.S. have very different
practices towards capital punishment than most of the developed/democratic
world? Why are there still major racial disparities in the application of the
(source: Howard Steven Friedman; Statistician/Economist for International
Organization, Columbia University----Huffington Post)
Mitchell defends letter seeking clemency for death row inmate
FINE GAEL’S PRESIDENTIAL candidate Gay Mitchell has defended his 2003 letter
seeking clemency for an anti-abortionist man who was on death row in Florida.
Mitchell’s letter – written in 2003 when he was Fine Gael’s spokesman on
foreign affairs – asked that Paul Hill, a former Presbyterian minister, be
taken off death row for the murder of 2 people outside an abortion clinic in
That letter has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of David Norris’s
withdrawal from the Presidential election over a letter of his own, seeking
clemency for his former partner when he was to be sentenced for the statutory
rape of a 15-year-old.
In a wide-ranging interview broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1's ‘Today with Pat Kenny’,
Mitchell said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that previous Irish governments had
received pleas for clemency when inmates were being put to death.
“It is a perfectly civilised thing to do. What you’re saying is that the
Secretary General of Amnesty International wouldn’t be safe to run for
election. Mary Robinson wouldn’t be safe to run for election. It wouldn’t be
safe to run for election.
“To ask for somebody not to be put to death… that’s something I do all the
time… I think the death penalty is barbaric.
“Do you know what it’s like to watch someone who’s injected, and poisoned to
death, gassed to death, hanged to death? … I’m against it, full stop. And if I
have to stand up to people and fight for it, I’ll fight for it.”
Mitchell told Myles Dungan that the circumstances of Hill’s conviction had
nothing to do with his plea for clemency.
(source: The Journal)
4 prisoners still on death row
4 convicts remain on death row after the Court of Appeal conferred a custodial
sentence on Benson Keganne, Raymond Leshomo and Arnold Masango, according to
sources within the Botswana Prison Service.
Mmegi can reveal that among those still on death row are Zibani Thamo, Modise
Tlhokamolelo, Mangombe Tadubane and Gatlhalosamang Gaboakelwe.
Thamo was convicted by the Francistown High Court for the 2007 murder of his
girlfriend, Sihle Dube. Her mutilated body parts were dug up from various
shallow graves along the Tati riverbank, a month after she went missing from
her Somerset rented house where she had lived with her killer. The discovery
was made after the convict led the police to different spots where he had
buried her partially burnt body parts, following his arrest a month after the
Francistown High Court convicted Tlhokamolemo last year for the murder of 6
people in Letlhakane. Tlhokamolemo was convicted to death 6 times for the
murder of Tirafalo Tlhaga, Gakemoitatole Garebone, Londane Tlhokamolelo,
Oreemetse Lepadile, Kemodiretse Lepadile and Chaina Londane in 2008.
Tadubane is also waiting his date with the hangman after his conviction for the
murder Tshokolo Ramokgau and subsequent capital punishment was handed down on
him last year. They all have to make an appeal before the Court of Appeal.
Botswana, which retains the death penalty, has executed 43 people since
Independence in 1966. This year alone, Court of Appeal judges have commuted 5
death penalties handed down by high courts. In addition to Keganne, Leshomo and
Masango, an earlier session of the appeals court, commuted death sentence
imposed on Michael Molefhe and Kgotso Sampson to a custodial sentence.
(source: Mmegi Online)
Last NI death sentence man Holden bids to clear name
Liam Holden's case is being heard in the Court of Appeal in Belfast The last
man sentenced to death in Northern Ireland is to gain further access to a
secret dossier, the Appeal Court in Belfast has ruled.
The move is part of a legal bid by Liam Holden, from Ballymurphy, west Belfast,
to overturn his conviction for murder.
The Lord Chief Justice said the first 28 paragraphs of a confidential annex
should be disclosed to Mr Holden.
Holden claims water torture was used to extract a confession for the murder of
a British soldier 40 years ago.
He was to be executed after being found guilty of shooting Private Frank Bell
in September 1972.
Although the death penalty was abolished in Britain in 1969, it remained in
Northern Ireland until 1973.
Holden's death sentence, however, was commuted to life imprisonment and he
served 17 years in jail before applying to an independent body set up to
examine alleged miscarriages of justice.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) referred his conviction back to the
Court of Appeal on the basis that it may have been unsafe.
The move followed an examination of new evidence and the admissibility and
reliability of confessions in the case.
Last year the Ministry of Defence agreed to disclose three secret documents to
Holden after reviewing their classification.
His lawyers urged senior judges to grant access to the rest of the dossier held
In his judgment Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justice
Coghlin, set out how Holden was seeking disclosure of 15 items of sensitive
material made available to the CCRC on a confidential basis.
Some of that information forms the basis for conclusions reached by the
commission that the murder conviction may be unsafe.
Sir Declan said: "We have carefully considered the entirety of the confidential
"In respect of the issues surrounding the admissibility of the appellant's
alleged confessions, we are satisfied that the documents which have now been
disclosed comprise all of the relevant material within the sensitive material
made available to the CCRC.
"We also consider that the first 28 paragraphs of the confidential annex made
available to us by the CCRC, which sets out the reasons for the conclusions
reached... should now be made available to the appellant.
"We do not consider that any further disclosure is required."
Acknowledging the continuing obligation for disclosure throughout any criminal
trial and appeal , Sir Declan added that the determination may have to be
reviewed if any further issues emerge.
Following the ruling, Mr Holden's lawyer, Patricia Coyle, said: "While this
partial access is not ideal we will consider this material when received and
prepare the next stage of the case."
(source: BBC News)
Another convicted murderer's death sentence overturned by privy council
THE London-based Privy Council overturned another convicted murderer's death
sentence this time ruling that Earnest Lockhart's crime was not "the worst of
the worst" and ordered for him to be resentenced.
In a written judgment, the Council also said there was not sufficient evidence
present to sway the board that Lockhart could not be reformed of his
Lockhart was convicted of the June, 1999 murder of 23-year-old Caxton Smith.
Smith was killed on June 8 from a single bullet to the back.
According to the judgment, Lockhart killed Smith because the victim refused to
sell drugs for him. Both men had been drug dealers.
Said the judgment: "The trial judge found that the murder had been carried out
by Lockhart in order to protect his 'turf', in other words, the territory on
which he plied his trade of drugs supply. He had threatened the deceased some
time previously. And, although it was not expertly executed, the killing had
been planned by Lockhart with others.
"The appellant had said to Caxton Smith something to the effect that 'if (he-
the deceased) thought that he had come out of prison to take bread out of his
(Ernest Lockhart's) mouth, he would be killed."
Evidence given during Lockhart's trial revealed he had threatened to kill Smith
6 months before the deed was done.
Vanessa Woodside, the victim's girlfriend, also testified that about 2 weeks
before the killing Lockhart and another individual came to the home that she
shared with Smith.
"On that occasion, she said, the 2nd man spoke to the deceased outside the
house but she could hear what was being said. This man asked Mr Smith to sell
drugs for him and Lockhart, but Caxton had replied that he was not into that.
At that point, according to Ms Woodside, Lockhart, who had been lurking by a
coconut tree, said something to the effect that as Caxton did not wish to sell
drugs for them, he could die like others before him," said the judgment.
Lockhart was 21 years old at the time of the killing.
On Wednesday the Council ruled that Lockhart's crime did not warrant an
"In the present case, it is the Board's firm view that, callous and brutal
though this murder was, it simply cannot be described as the worst of the
worst," said the judgment.
The Privy Council has ruled that a death sentence should only be upheld when
the crime is considered to be the "worst of the worst" or "rarest of the rare"
and there must be no means of reform for the offender.
At the age of fourteen years Lockhart had been sentenced to serve a period of
detention for six months at the Boys Industrial School for housebreaking and
theft. In 1994 he was sentenced to 3 months in prison for causing damage to
property and in March 1996 he was fined $3,000 for possession of dangerous
Before being found guilty of Smith's murder, he had no convictions for violence
to others, the judgment said.
(source: Bahamas Tribune)
More information about the DeathPenalty