June 30, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 26
China: In Guangdong province, two courts sentenced a total of 13 individuals to death. All were convicted of producing and selling drugs. The trial was held in public before 10,000 people. Eight of the thirteen were executed immediately after the sentencing was announced. The remaining five received suspended sentences.
Indonesia: Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, the deputy governor-elect of Jakarta, has announced that he plans to establish a sharia tourism zone in the city. The area in which he plans to build the sharia tourism zone is known for it Muslim learning forums. During his announcement, he said the area would have properly arranged tents, and that he thinks it will be of interest.
Japan: The, reportedly, oldest man on death row in the nation has died. Ninety-year-old Takeshige Hamada, a convicted triple murderer, was found in his cell, not breathing. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He reportedly died of suffocation. Takeshige murdered three individuals over a two year period, beginning in 1978. The murders were for insurance money.
United States of America: Steven Long was scheduled to be executed in Texas on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. His execution has been rescheduled to Wednesday, August 30, 2017. Steven is convicted of the rape and murder of 11-year-old Kaitlyn Briana Smith on May 21, 2005, in Dallas, Texas. Click here to read more about Steven.
Executions are scheduled to resume at the end of July in Ohio, after years of legal battles over the drugs to be used in the execution. The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has now ruled 8-6, that midazolam, the drug in question, can be used in executions. This ruling overturns a lower judge’s ruling and an earlier ruling by a three-judge panel of the 6th Court, both of which said midazolam could not be used due to the “substantial risk of serious harm.” In overruling the previous orders, the 6th Circuit noted that “some risk of pain ‘is inherent in any method of execution - no matter how human.’” It was also noted that in the future, those appealing the execution drugs must show that they are “‘sure or very likely’ to cause serious pain.” Those who brought the lawsuit against Ohio plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. Ohio’s last execution occurred in January of 2014. The next execution, that of Ronald Philips, is scheduled for the end of July.
The state of Florida has face numerous problems over the past year regarding its death penalty, however, the state is finally moving forward in some areas. All cases that involved capital punishment, and therefore the possibility of receiving the death penalty, were halted while state legislatures came up with a death penalty sentencing process and while that process made its way through the courts. Finally, these cases can move forward and the first jury is scheduled to consider if a man recently convicted of murder will receive the death penalty. This will be the first jury in the state of Florida that is required to unanimously agree on capital punishment in order for the inmate to be sentenced to death. Previously, a majority vote by the jury would be enough to recommend a death sentence to the judge, who would ultimately set the punishment. Now, the decision of the jury will stand.
Due to the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, many Florida death row inmates are appealing their sentences. In the past week, several inmates, including Tiffany Ann Cole, John Sexton, Jr., Michael Stand Bargo, Jr., and Ronnie Keith Williams have had their death sentences vacated by the Florida Supreme Court. They are all entitled to receive new penalty phase trials.
Robert James Campbell spent 25 years on death row in Texas. He is now eligible for parole. Robert was convicted of the 1992, kidnapping, rape, and murder, of 20-year-old Alexandra Rendon. She was kidnapped while she was pumping gas. Robert was recently declared mentally disabled, making him ineligible to be executed. At the time he was sentenced, the only other option was life in prison, with the chance at parole after 25 years, as Texas did not have, at that time, life in prison without parole. Both the family of the victim and District Attorney’s office have vowed to oppose every parole hearing Robert is granted.