November 3, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 44
China: Two years ago, China removed nine crimes from eligibility for the death penalty. Now, a Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is scheduled for another meeting and will likely remove additional crimes that are currently eligible for the death penalty. The committee also has several other issues to consider. China is believed to carry out the most executions during a year, however, execute numbers are unavailable, as the government does not publicly release that information.
Egypt: Prosecutors are seeking death sentences for 13 individuals who are accused of carrying out attacks on security forces in the country. The 13 individuals are also believed to be members of Ajnad Misr (Soldiers of Egypt), an Islamic militant group. They are accused of killing soldiers, police, and civilians and detonating explosives in over 20 different locations.
Iran: On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Ali Salari was executed by hanging at Yazd Central Prison. Ali was convicted of participating in a murder during a street fight and helping the actual murderer escape and hide. Also executed on Tuesday, was Majid M. Majid was executed at Mashhad Central Prison. He was convicted of murder.
On Thursday, October 26, 2017, an unnamed prisoner was executed by hanging at Qamsal Square in Khoy, in northwestern Iran. The inmate was convicted of rape. Also executed on Thursday, was Hossein S, who was convicted of murdering a shepherd in January 2014. Hossein wanted to steal the shepherd’s livestock.
On Sunday, October 29, 2017, 25-year-old Majid Ramroudy was executed at Zahedan Central prison. He was convicted of murder.
Malaysia: Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah has commuted the death sentence of two inmates to life in prison. This was done as part of the Sultan’s upcoming birthday celebration. The names of the two inmates were not reported, although it was noted that they were drug offenders who had been in prison for 16 years each.
Taiwan: Cheng Hsing-tse was released from death row on Friday, October 27, 2017. Cheng had originally been sentenced to death for the 2002 murder of a police officer. Evidence has since revealed that he was likely tortured into making a confession. At the time, Cheng was a follower of gangster Luo Wuhsiung and was present at the 2002 gun battle, however, previously ignored evidence points to another shooter, in a different position than Cheng. Taiwan, which resumed executions in 2010, has 43 inmates on death row.
United States of America: Ohio’s next execution, that of 69-year-old Alva Campbell, is scheduled to occur on November 15. During an evaluation to prepare for the execution, it was determined that Alva became mildly agitated when placed in the normal execution position. The doctor observing the evaluation could find nothing physical to corroborate Alva’s anxiety, however, due to underlying breathing problems from smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, the doctor agreed that it would be appropriate to allow Alva to be executed in a semi-recumbent position. The doctor was also unable to locate suitable veins in Alva’s arms to use during the execution. Alva’s attorney is worried that his client will be subjected to repeated stabbing with a needle during the preparation for execution. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has said it has been advised of the possible problems during the execution and are “planning possible accommodations.” Read more about Alva and his case here.
Earlier this year, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced that she would not seek the death penalty on any cases she prosecuted, no matter the crime. Florida Governor Rick Scott responded by reassigning all first-degree murder cases to another attorney. Ayala attempted to sue and argued that it was her discretion as an independent prosecutor to not seek the death penalty, however the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a blanket refusal of seeking the death penalty lacked prosecutorial discretion. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, Ayala put together a panel of seven attorneys to review every homicide case assigned to her office and decide if it would be appropriate to seek the death penalty. Upon review, the panel has unanimously agreed that the death penalty should be sought for 33-year-old Emerita Mapp, who is charged with the first-degree murder of 20-year-old Zackery Ganoe and the attempted murder of another individual. The crime occurred at a Days Inn on April 11.
Fifty-seven-year-old Daniel Dougherty was convicted of murdering his two sons by setting fire to their home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1985. Daniel has been granted a third trial by jury after his previous two trials were deemed unfair. Daniel has always insisted upon his innocence of the crime. Supporters of Daniel have argued for years that the science used by the fire investigator to determine that the blaze was purposefully started, was outdated and had since been discarded. Daniel’s second trial occurred just last year, however several pieces of evidence were allowed to be presented that violated Daniel’s rights and did not relate to the crime for which he was on trial. Daniel was granted a second trial after it was determined that his originally lawyers failed in provided a proper defense. Daniel was first charged and convicted in 2000, 14 years after the fire.
Emilio Avalos, a death row inmate in California, has died in prison on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Emilio was 40 years of age. The cause of death is currently unknown, pending the results of an autopsy. Emilio was convicted and sentenced to death for the December 19, 2001, murder of 20-year-old Marine Corporal Henry Lozano, the boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend, and the December 21, 1994, murder of 17-year-old Jahi Collins. Emilio was also convicted of the attempted murder of Jahi’s friend Bobby Wilson. Emilio has been on death row since 2013.
Patrick Evans was convicted and sentenced to death of the 2008 murder of his wife and her friend in Florida. In 2015, that death sentence was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court. Now, a second jury has decided that Patrick will spend the rest of his life behind bars, without the possibility of parole. Unlike in his first trial, this time the jury had to unanimously agree upon a death sentence. The jury in his previous trial was not unanimous in their decisions. Since his first trial, state law has changed and death sentences must now be handing down by an unanimous jury.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that the Arkansas Department of Corrections can keep the names of those who supply them with execution drugs a secret. In documents that must be released, the Arkansas Department of Corrections is allowed to redact any information that would identify those who supply the lethal injection drugs.