November 17, 2017

IDPN 2017 Issue 46

China: A 27-year-old man with the surname Xue has been sentenced to death for throwing a women off the 19th-story balcony of the apartment they shared. Xue was romantically interested in her and became jealous after discovering she was in a relationship.



Iran: On Sunday, November 12, 2017, Morteza Qolipour, Mehdi Hajizadeh, Qobad Moradi, and Ramin Eshqi were executed by hanging at Urmia Central Prison. All were convicted on murder charges.

On Monday, November 13, 2017, 37-year-old Saber Soleimani was executed by hanging at Bandar Abbas Central Prison. He was convicted of possessing and trafficking methamphetamine.

Beginning on November 14, 2017, a new law goes into effect that is projected to decrease the number of individuals sentenced to death. The new law will sentence those convicted of drug smuggling to prison time, instead of sentencing them to death. They will also be ordered to pay fines. Some government officials worry this new law will increase drug use in the nation. Those who smuggle large quantities of drugs, carry arms, and use children under the age of 18 can still be sentenced to death.



Japan: The trial of Chen Shifeng is scheduled to begin on December 11, in Tokyo. Chen is accused of murdering 24-year-old Chinese national Jiang Ge on November 3, 2016. Jiang’s mother has gathered support in China and is asking the Japanese government that Chen be sentenced to death.



Tanzania: At least 34 individuals have been sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of individuals with albinism. Over the course of the 10 years, from 2006 to 2016, there were at least 67 reported cases of killing people with albinism. The targeted murder of albinos is atttibitated to witch doctors saying that the body parts of people with albinism have properties that confer good luck and wealth. The government has also recognized the need to educate the public and dispel this belief.



United States of America: On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, Scott Dozier was scheduled to be executed by the state of Nevada, at his request. Scott had repeatedly stated that he wanted his execution carried out, even if the execution would be painful due to the execution drugs. However, on Thursday, November 9, 2017, Judge Jennifer Togliatti postponed the execution over concerns regarding the state’s execution protocol, specifically, the drugs to be used in the execution. Following this announcement, Scott threatened to kill himself, resulting in him being placed on suicide watch. His case is currently before the Nevada Supreme Court for review. Scott was sentenced to death for the murder of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller. Read more about Scott and his case here.

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, Alva Campbell, Jr., was scheduled to be executed by the state of Ohio. His execution was called off, and eventually rescheduled, after prison officials were unable to locate a suitable vein to use for injection the execution drugs. Alva’s execution has been rescheduled for June 5, 2019. Alva is sentenced to death for the murder of 18-year-old Charles Dials in Columbus, Ohio. He was out on parole at the time of the murder. Read more about Alva and his case here.

On Thursday, November 16, 2017, Larry Swearingen was scheduled to be executed in Texas. His execution was stayed due to an error by the Montgomery County District Clerk's Office, who sent the execution paperwork to the wrong location. Due to this error, a new execution date will have to be requested. Larry was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter, on December 8, 1998, in Montgomery County, Texas. Read more about his case here.

On Friday, November 17, 2017, Junius Burno was scheduled to be executed in Pennsylvania. His execution was stayed by the US District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania in order to allow time for appeals. Junius is convicted of murdering 45-year-old Carlos Juarbe and 35-year-old Oscar Rosado III, on April 13, 2003, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Read more about Junius and his case here.

At one time, bite mark evidence was considered reliable, however, over the years, bite mark evidence has been discredited. Many, however, remain convicted and on death row due to the evidence. Now, states and courts are debating what action should be taken in these cases. In some cases, DNA testing is being allowed in attempts to confirm, or discredit the bite mark evidence.

Duane Edward Buck had had his death sentence commuted to life in prison plus two 60-year sentences. The 54-year-old Texas inmate had his death sentence overturned earlier this year by the Supreme Court of the United States, after it was determined that his trial was tainted by references of race. To avoid a retrial, Duane pled guilty to two counts of attempted murder.

Lesly Jean-Philippe had been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. In 2009, Lesly was unanimously sentence to death for the murder of his wife in Florida. In exchange for agreeing not to file any additional appeals, Lesly had his death sentence reduced to life in prison. The victim’s family supported the new sentence.

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