April 12, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 14

Iraq: On Sunday, April 7, 2019, the Nineveh Criminal Court sentenced to death a man convicted of working as a lawyer for the Islamic State. The man allegedly confessed to his participation with the terrorist group.



Saudi Arabia: A Nigerian has been arrested at Jeddah airport for attempting to smuggle cocaine into the kingdom. The Nigerian government is especially concerned since the arrest comes a few days after another Nigerian national was executed by beheading, Kudirat Afolabi, who was a widowed mother of two.


United Arab Emirates: A 46-year-old United States citizen faces the death penalty if convicted on drug related charges. The man was arrested, along with a 24-year-old Indonesian man, after police raided a house and discovered drugs including marijuana and methamphetamine, and other drug paraphernalia.


United States of America: On Thursday, April 11, 2019, Christopher Price was scheduled to be executed in the state of Alabama. Price was granted a stay of execution by Federal District Judge Kristi K. DuBose. The stay was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States, however, the execution warrant had already expired. Christopher was convicted of the murder of 57-year-old minister, Bill Lynn, on December 22, 1991, in Fayette County, Alabama.


On Thursday, April 11, 2019, Mark Robertson was scheduled to be executed in Texas. His execution was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, pending further order of the court. Mark was arguing that members were improperly excluded from the jury due to their race. Specifically, Mark, a white man, is arguing that his attorney improperly kept black jurors off the jury, allegedly believing that they would be less sympathetic than white men. Mark is convicted of the murder of 81-year-old Edna Brau and her 19-year-old grandson Sean Jason Hill on August 19, 1989, in Dallas, Texas.


On Thursday, April 11, 2019, for the second time in two years, lawmakers in New Hampshire have voted to repeal the state’s death penalty. Governor Chris Sununu has vowed to veto the bill, as he did last year, however, this year, both the state House of Representatives and state Senate passed the bill with veto-proof majorities, meaning they could override a veto. The last execution in the state occurred in 1939, and there is only one inmate on death row.


On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law a bill that eliminates 3 of the possible aggravating circumstances used to determine if a person is eligible for the death penalty. In order for a person to be sentenced to death in Arizona, proof of at least 1 of several possible aggravating circumstances must be shown. Now, three of those possible aggravating circumstances has been eliminated. According to Governor Ducey, the three eliminated aggravating circumstances are rarely used. There are currently 115 individuals on death row in Arizona and the last execution occurred in 2014, and took nearly 2 hours to complete.


The state legislature in Arkansas has passed a bill that keeps records about lethal injection and carrying out the death penalty a secret. The governor is expected to sign the bill. The bill is, in part, a response to the difficulty prison officials have had in purchasing lethal injection drugs over the past couple years. There are 30 inmates on death row in the state, with the last execution being carried out in 2017.


The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the identity of the execution drug supplier can remain a state secret. Lower courts had previously ruled that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice must release the name of the compounding pharmacy who supplies the state with the execution drugs. Lawyers for death row inmates have sought to have this information made public, claiming it was necessary to their appeals and to ensure their clients safety during the execution. Lawyers for Texas have argued that revealing the name of the supplier, is a risk to the well-being and safety of those who work at the compounding pharmacy.


David Barnett, a death row inmate in Missouri, has had his death sentence overturned and been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. Forty-three-year-old David has been convicted of the murder of 82-year-old Clifford Barnett and his wife, 75-year-old Leona, the adoptive grandparents of David. David, who confessed to the crime, had his death sentence overturned by a judge in 2015, who ruled that his lawyers failed to present sufficient mitigating evidence about his horrific childhood. 

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