Day: June 11, 2012

Amnesty International Usa – Support a strong Arms Trade Treaty this July!


KILLER FACT: Just six countries export 74% of the world’s weapons! The world’s most powerful countries must put human rights before profits and stop arming abusers.

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Is The Death Penalty Moral ?


Sentencing reforms need to be set in place preventing ‘permanent’ punishments. Sentencing needs to be derived from a ‘protect us from the bad elements’ point of view and not from a ‘pay them back for their nefarious deeds’ point of view.

When a law is created from a retribution or payback perspective, it violates the spirit of law and order, particularly, when a sentence option is death, having the wrong person or an aggressive prosecution and then doing something as ‘unacceptable’ as they did sounds like childish retribution and just doesn’t weigh in as making sense.

If you have the wrong person and you kill them, then heaven save us all. It could be you, me, any family member, friend or a complete stranger; it doesn’t matter because they are dead. This is dangerous to us all and why are we paying taxes to have a law like this if there is a potential that we can be easily killed by accidentor wrongly but legally. It doesn’t matter how rarely it might happen, death just doesn’t sound smart to me.

Again, if the prosecution believes that the person is guilty, their expert experience with the judicial system give them an advantage as well as increase the likelihood that an innocent person gets the death penalty.  I am not insinuating that prosecutors are evil, maybe, maybe not; the point is when the sentencing is so permanent it leaves NO room for mistakes. In this era of human rights I find it difficult that the most valuable right we have, the right to life, is not protected.

How can we punish someone for something we say is wrong and are abhorred by and then go and do the exact same thing to them ourselves, collectively, and feel justified in our actions.  We ignore the reality of it all by saying we are more humane and we would not be doing it if they did not make the choices they have chosen.  Then we sit down, contemplate, debate, and plan laws, voting on them and finally making a decision in the first degree of culpability to impose a death penalty.

If you say killing is wrong, then it’s wrong. Period.

Source : http://socyberty.com

Canada – Luka Rocco Magnotta likely to be extradited from Germany by end of June


June 07 , 2012 Source : http://www2.canada.com

BERLIN – German prosecutors said Thursday the Canadian porn star accused of the grisly killing and dismemberment of a Chinese student in Montreal last month will likely be extradited by the end of June.

“We hope that he can be extradited by the end of the month,” a spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, Martin Steltner, told AFP following the arrest of Luka Rocco Magnotta in the German capital on Monday.

Steltner said the first official step in the extradition procedure should be taken later Thursday.

Luka Rocco Magnotta

Luka Rocco Magnotta

“Berlin prosecutors will submit the extradition request for Luka Rocco Magnotta to Berlin’s higher regional court, which is to examine whether it complies with the law,” he said.

If the court upholds the legality of the request, the public prosecutor would then submit it to the German government for a routine examination of whether the penalty the suspect would face in his home country could violate his human rights, Steltner said.

Germany does not extradite to countries that have the death penalty, which Canada does not.

The 29-year-old Magnotta was picked up in a Berlin Internet cafe looking up online articles about himself after a witness tip ended a 10-day-long international manhunt while he was on the run to Paris and then Berlin.

He is awaiting extradition to face charges in Canada of murdering 33-year-old Chinese student Lin Jun, believed at one point to have been his lover.

Magnotta allegedly filmed himself on the night of May 24-25 killing Lin with a pickaxe and dismembering the body before sending a foot and a hand to the headquarters of Canadian political parties, including the ruling Conservatives.

Canadian police said Wednesday they were probing a macabre new twist in the case after further body parts sent from Montreal turned up at Vancouver schools. It was not immediately clear whether the limbs belonged to Lin.

A torso, which has been identified as belonging to Lin, was discovered in a suitcase outside Magnotta’s apartment building, but his head and his second hand and foot were all unaccounted for before Tuesday.

A series of new videos from Magnotta – likely filmed after the murder – have surfaced on the Internet and appear to be authentic, according to police.

In one, posted on the video-sharing site YouTube, a seemingly cavalier Magnotta is seen smoking and says, “what’s up and hi to all my fans,” while Madonna’s song “La Isla Bonita” plays in the background.

Police called the initial video showing the murder “sordid” and said the crime scene was virtually covered in blood.

Lin had been studying computer science in Montreal before his gory death.

His grieving parents, accompanied by his sister and uncle, arrived in Montreal late Tuesday from China to meet with Chinese diplomats, police and university administrators, the Chinese consulate told AFP.

Vancouver police said the packaging and addresses on the boxes sent to two schools there, in the far west of the country, were similar to those on the parcels discovered at the political offices in eastern Canada.

Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere told reporters that a note was included with one package sent to a Vancouver school, as well as one of the packages delivered to Ottawa, but did not discuss the contents of the notes.

After a warrant was issued for Magnotta’s arrest, local media reported that a note sent with a severed foot to Conservative Party headquarters indicated that more body parts had been sent in the mail, and that the person who dismembered the victim would kill again.

Magnotta, who has been dubbed the “Canadian Psycho” and the “Butcher of Montreal, fled Canada on May 26, initially to Paris, before boarding a bus to Berlin on Friday.

Canadian authorities said he will face charges of first-degree murder and committing indignities to a body. He is also expected to be charged with publishing and mailing obscene matter to Canadian politicians.

Magnotta, who has worked as a bisexual porn star and as a gay prostitute called “Angel,” has changed his name and used several aliases. He had several fraud convictions on his record.

A series of judge-imposed conditions reportedly banned him from owning or using a camera or a computer, and from accessing the Internet.

Germany’s daily Bild, reporting on Magnotta’s past, said he was a high school graduate who had grown up with his grandparents.

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I ask  : Magnotta will not fight for his extradition, it seems normal because Canada no longer practices the death penalty. In such cases, is – what Canada should reconsider to reinstall the death penalty ? What do u think ? 

CALIFORNIA – Death Row suicide highlights executions’ delays


June 10, 2012 Source : http://www.mercurynews.com

SAN FRANCISCO—When James Lee Crummel hanged himself in his San Quentin Prison cell last month, he had been living on Death Row for almost eight years—and he was still years away from facing the executioner.

California’s automatic death penalty appeals take so long that the state’s 723 condemned inmates are more likely to die of old age and infirmities —or kill themselves—than be put to death.

Since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978, California has executed 13 inmates, and none since 2006. But 20 have committed suicide, including Crummel, who abducted, sexually abused and killed a 13-year-old boy on his way to school in 1979. Another 57 inmates have died of natural causes. The ponderous pace of this process has helped make the state’s death row the most populous in the nation, and it has generated critics from all quarters.

Victim rights groups say the delays amount to justice denied. Death penalty opponents say the process, like execution itself, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

And now the state’s voters will get an opportunity this November to vote on a measure that would abolish the death penalty, which critics deride as an inefficient and expensive system for a financially troubled state.

It took the Supreme Court four years to appoint Crummel a public defender, and it took his attorney almost that long to file his opening brief after several time extensions. Crummel’s appeal was expected to consume a few more years before the high court decided the case.

While most condemned inmates welcome legal delays, even those seeking a speedy resolution are stymied.

Scott Peterson, who was sentenced to death seven years ago for murdering his pregnant wife Laci, is attempting to get his case before the Supreme Court as soon as possible, because he says he was wrongly convicted.

Peterson’s parents hired a top-notch private appellate lawyer after sentencing, while other Death Row inmates wait an average of five years each for appointment of taxpayer-funded public defenders.

“We are moving at lightning speed compared to most automatic appeals,” said Peterson’s attorney Cliff Gardner. “He wants to establish his innocence.”

The slow wheels of death penalty appeals, and the billions of dollars spent on them over the years, are making converts of some of capital punishment’s biggest backers, including the author of a 1978 ballot measure that expanded the types of crimes eligible for capital punishment in the state.

Retired prosecutor Donald Heller, who wrote the 1978 proposition, and Ron Briggs, the initiative’s campaign manager who now serves on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, say they support abolition in California because the system is too costly and hardly anyone is being put to death.

“We’d thought we would bring California savings and safety in dealing with convicted murderers,” Briggs said in a statement. “Instead, we contributed to a nightmarish system that coddles murderers and enriches lawyers. ”

The current measure—known as the SAFE California Actwould convert all death sentences to life in prison without parole and redirect $100 million from the death penalty system to be spent over three years investigating unsolved murders and rapes.

Despite the growing backlog, district attorneys continue to send murderers to death row. Five new inmates have arrived this year, and several more are expected, including Los Angeles gang member 24-year-old Pedro Espinoza who was convicted of shooting to death a high school football player. A jury recommended death for Espinoza, and a judge is scheduled formally sentence him in September.

Meantime, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley is attempting to immediately resume executions of two longtime Death Row inmates Mitchell Carleton Sims, 52, and Tiequon Aundray Cox, 46, who have exhausted all of their appeals. Sims has been on Death Row since 1987, Cox since 1986.

“It is time Sims and Cox pay for their crimes,” said Cooley, who is asking that the inmates be executed with a single drug rather than the three-drug lethal cocktail now being challenged in federal and state courts. The California District Attorneys Association is backing Cooley’s attempt to resume executions.

Cooley argues appeals rather than trials consume the lion’s share of what the state spends administering the death penalty in California. Cooley wants executions to remain on hold until after the November election. But if the death penalty is retained, he proposes a change in the law to allow the State Court of Appeal to start handling death penalty appeals rather than automatically sending every case to the Supreme Court for review.

Appealing the death penalty in California takes decades for a variety of reasons. There are too few qualified attorneys to handle too many automatic death penalty appeals, resulting in inmates waiting about five years each for a public defender. Once an inmate is represented by counsel, it still takes additional years to put together the voluminous trial record that serves at the heart of the appeal.

Those records often exceed 70,000 pages, according to Peterson’s attorney, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if his client’s record reached 80,000 pages.

Gardner says he expects to file his appeal brief later this month, which would be a first for any inmate sentenced to death during the past 12 years.

None of the estimated 250 prisoners in that category is as far along as Peterson, according to a study of California’s death penalty published last year by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Arthur Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula Mitchell.

They estimated that $4 billion has been spent on all facets of the state’s death penalty since 1978, including $925 million on appeals.

California’s death penalty, the authors said, is a “multibillion-dollar fraud on California taxpayers” that has seen “billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to create a bloated system, in which condemned inmates languish on death row for decades before dying of natural causes and in which executions rarely take place.”