May 3, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 17

India: The death sentence of Khushwinder Singh has been upheld by the Punjab and Haryana high court. Singh has been convicted of murdering 40-year-old Kulwant Singh, his 38-year-old wife Harjit Kaur, and their two children, 16-year-old Ramandeep Kaur and 14-year-old Avrinder Singh in June 2004. In upholding the death sentence, the court noted that the prosecution had proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.


The Bombay High Court has sent a death penalty case back to a lower court due to procedural lapses. Atul Rama Lote was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in 2014. In their review, the Bombay High Court noted that two days before the verdict, the prosecution added additional charges that made Lote eligible for the death penalty. A trial court must reexamine the proceedings.


Iran: On Monday, April 22, 2019, an unnamed man was executed by hanging in Mashhad. He was convicted on murder charges.


On Thursday, April 25, 2019, Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat were executed by hanging in Adelabad in southern Iran. Both were convicted on multiple rape charges, however they were allegedly under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, making their executions a violation of international law. Both men were also allegedly flogged, and their families were not informed about their executions prior to them occurring.



Malaysia: Thirty-year-old Doan Thi Huong was charged, along with Siti Aisyah, of murdering Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean lead Kim Jong Un. Doan has now been freed from the prison where she has spent the last two years. Doan was charged with the murder, a charge that was eventually dropped after she pled guilty to the charge of causing harm. Doan, a Vietnamese national, will return to her home shortly. Charges against Siti, an Indonesian national, were dropped earlier and she has also returned home. The two woman have repeatedly claimed that they believed they were participating in a reality prank show.



United States of America: On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Scotty Morrow was executed by the state of Georgia. Scotty was executed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young and her friend, Tonya Woods, in Gainesville, Georgia in December 1994. The Supreme Court of the United States rejected a last minute appeal to halt the execution.


On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Dexter Johnson was scheduled to be executed in Texas. Dexter was granted a stay from a federal judge due to concerns regarding his court-appointed attorney. Dexter had complained about his attorney and another attorney was appointed to investigate these claims. The investigated attorney discovered that Dexter’s attorney “violated ethical and professional duties throughout his representation.” The Texas Attorney General did not appeal the stay, allowing time for the issue to be resolved.


Tiffany Moss has been sentenced to death in Georgia or starving her 10-year-old step-daughter, Emani, to death in 2013. During that time, Tiffany continued to care for and feed her own two children. After the girl’s death, Tiffany and her husband attempted to cover it up by burning the body. Tiffany’s death sentence makes her the only female on death row in Georgia, and only the third female to be sentenced to death in the state. During the trial, Tiffany represented herself, although she was appointed attorneys. She appears to be willing to allow representation now that she has been sentenced, as a motion for a new trial was filed just hours after the verdict.


Numerous organizations are coming together in Wyoming in an attempt to end the death penalty in the state during the 2020 legislative session. In the 2019 legislative session, a bill to repeal the death penalty failed 18-12 in the Senate, after it passed 36-21 in the House of Representatives. Included among those pushing to the end capital punishment in the state are several religious groups, the Wyoming ACLU, the League of Women Voters, and the Wyoming NAACP.


For the second year in a row, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed a bill that would repeal the death penalty in the state. However, when passing the bill, the House and Senate had veto-proof majorities, which means that they could override Governor Sununu’s veto, making the bill a law. There is currently one death row inmate in the state and the bill would not be applied retroactively to him.


A group of lawmakers in Pennsylvania plan to introduce a bill that would eliminate capital punishment in the state. As with most attempts to end capital punishment, supporters of the bill point to the high costs and argue that it is unsuccessful as a deterrent and that it is also not applied fairly.

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