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US SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS THREE TEXAS DEATH SENTENCES

May 26, 2007: the United States Supreme Court overturned the death sentences of three Texas inmates in separate 5-4 rulings today. In all three cases, the juries had been prevented by the Texas statute (since changed) from fully considering the mitigating evidence presented by the defendants, evidence such as their low IQ or other mental deficiencies. In Smith v. Texas (No. 05-11304), the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had reconsidered Smith's death sentence after the case had been previously reviewed and sent back by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas court held that any error on the mitigation issue was harmless and therefore did not require a reversal. The Supreme Court rejected that analysis and remanded the case for a new sentencing hearing.
In Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman (No. 05-11284) and Brewer v. Quarterman (No. 05-11287), the trial juries had likewise been prevented from fully considering the defendants' mitigating evidence. Their death sentences were affirmed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and by lower federal courts on habeas corpus review. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, holding that it had not properly applied the holdings of prior cases in which the High Court made it clear that "sentencing juries must be able to give meaningful consideration and effect to all mitigating evidence that might provide a basis for refusing to impose the death penalty on a particular individual, notwithstanding the severity of his crime or his potential to commit similar offenses in the future." (Abdul-Kabir). The Justices for the majority and in dissent in all three cases were the same. There are 47 remaining Texas death row inmates who were sentenced under the same flawed statute, which was amended in 1991.
Those removed from death row are:
LaRoyce Smith, then 19, now 36. he was convicted in 1991 in Dallas County for the 1991 robbery/ shooting, stabbing of Jennifer Soto, 19 at a fast-food restaurant.
Brent Ray Brewer, then 21, now 36. he was convicted in 1991 in Randall County for the 1990 robbery/ stabbing death of Robert Doyle Laminack, 66, after he gave him a ride.
Jalil Abdul-Kabir, formerly known as Ted Calvin Cole, then 31, now 50. he was convicted in 1988, in Tom Green County after he confessed to the 1987 strangulation death of Raymond Carl Richardson. (Sources: Associated Press, Dallas Morning News, 26/04/2007)

SOMALILAND CANCELS EXECUTIONS FOR AID WORKER KILLERS
IRAN. CHILD RAPISTS PUBLICLY HANGED
RWANDA TO SCRAP DEATH PENALTY END-JULY
PAKISTAN. CHRISTIAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR BLASPHEMY
MORATORIUM. D'ALEMA SAYS TEXT FOR RESOLUTION IS READY
SEVEN FOREIGNERS GIVEN DEATH IN INDONESIA DRUGS CASE
CHINA SENTENCES FORMER DRUG REGULATOR TO DEATH
DEATH PENALTY. MARCO PANNELLA'S HUNGER STRIKE TO BECOME HUNGER AND THIRST STRIKE FROM WEDNESDAY MAY 30
CHINA SEEKS EXTRADITION PACTS IN SPITE OF DEATH PENALTY
VIETNAM. FOUR RECEIVE DEATH SENTENCES FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
DECLARATION BY THE PRESIDENCY ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CASES IN IRAN
FLORIDA (USA). SUPREME COURT REDUCES DEATH SENTENCE BECAUSE OF MENTAL ILLNESS
OHIO (USA). HOUR-PLUS DELAY IN LETHAL INJECTION
MORATORIUM/EU. PANNELLA WARNS GERMAN PRESIDENCY: EU COUNCIL'S BUREAUCRACY IS TRYING TO SABOTAGE YOU OVER THE MORATORIUM, JUST LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS. A REFORM FOR PUBLIC COUNCIL INSTITUTIONAL DEBATES IS URGENT
EGYPT COURT. TWO GANG LEADERS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER, RAPE OF 20 STREET CHILDREN
BELARUS. SUPREME COURT IMPOSES DEATH SENTENCE ON POLICE OFFICER CONVICTED OF MURDER
SAUDI ARABIA. AUTHORITIES BEHEAD SAUDI MAN CONVICTED OF DRUG SMUGGLING
JAPAN. DEATH FOR MAN WHO BURIED VICTIMS ALIVE
ARIZONA. COMER EXECUTED BY LETHAL INJECTION
VIETNAM. HO CHI MINH CITY COURT UPHOLDS DEATH FOR FIVE DRUG TRAFFICKERS
KUWAIT. PAKISTANI HANGED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
IRAN. FIVE EXECUTED FOR MURDER, DRUG SMUGGLING
AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS BACK LIBYAN DEATH SENTENCE ON BULGARIANS
SHARIA STONING FOR NIGERIAN MAN
NIGERIA FREES ELDERLY PRISONERS BEFORE POWER SHIFT
SAUDI ARABIA DIPLAYES BODIES OF 2 ETHIOPIANS BEHEADED FOR ARMED ROBBERY AND MURDER
TEXAS (USA). MAN EXECUTED IN DEPUTY DEATH
KAZAKHSTAN SET TO "VIRTUALLY" ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY
MORATORIUM: ITALY AND GERMANY IN CHARGE OF WRITING RESOLUTION
SAUDI ARABIA. IRAQI BEHEADED FOR SMUGGLING HASHISH

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IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
  BELARUS EXECUTES TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS  
  MALAYSIA: GOVT HALTS EXECUTION OF 1,200 DEATH ROW INMATES  
  JAPAN HANGS CULT LEADER SHOKO ASAHARA, 6 OTHERS FOR 1995 TOKYO SUBWAY SARIN ATTACK  
  SOMALIA - DEATH PENALTY AND TERRORISM  
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