Category : Capital Punishment

"Clutching the blood-stained Bible she had with her" A local paper story on Roof Trials end

Clutching the blood-stained Bible she had with her when Dylann Roof executed nine family and friends around her, Felicia Sanders told the self-avowed white supremacist in court Wednesday that she still forgives him for his actions. They have scarred her life but haven’t shaken her faith.

Addressing Roof the day after a jury sentenced him to death, Sanders said the mass shooting that killed nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015 has left her unable to hear a balloon pop or an acorn fall without being startled. She can no longer shut her eyes when she prays.

But she will carry on, she told him, and continue to follow the words of God still clear in the battered Bible she cherishes.

“I brought my Bible to the courtroom … shot up,” she said. “It reminds me of the blood Jesus shed for me and you, Dylann Roof.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Capital Punishment, Christology, Law & Legal Issues, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

South Carolina Jury sentences Dylann Roof to death for Emanuel AME Church massacre

Just a few hours after he told a crowded courtroom “I still feel like I had to do it,” Dylann Roof was sentenced to death by a federal jury for carrying out a cold, calculated massacre inside Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in a bid to spark a race war.

The 12-member panel ”“ three white jurors, nine black ”“ deliberated for a little less than three hours before unanimously deciding that the 22-year-old white supremacist should die for his crimes rather than spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It will be up to the presiding judge to formally impose that sentence, but he is bound by law to follow the jury’s decision. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel has scheduled the formal sentencing hearing for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Capital Punishment, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(New Statesman) Shakespeare, our contemporary: the Bard 400 years later

Dodgy dossiers, smiling tyrants and just wars: Rowan Williams on Henry V

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Capital Punishment, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WSJ) Phillip Thompson–Grappling With Faith and the Death Penalty

When I started researching the death penalty in 1995, roughly 80% of Americans favored its use. The death penalty was a rare point of consensus in American politics, crossing party affiliation and political ideology.

Times have changed. The unicameral legislature of a very conservative state, Nebraska, voted last week, 32-15, to repeal capital punishment. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed the bill on Tuesday. But on Wednesday Nebraska became the 19th state to abolish the death penalty after legislators voted to override the governor’s veto.

Clearly, a tide is building against the death penalty in America. One of the most powerful factors is science. DNA evidence in the past 20 years was a strong reason for the exoneration of many of the 153 innocent people released from death row during that period. These people in earlier generations would have been wrongfully put to death. This realization has challenged the conscience of a fair-minded country that doesn’t want to kill innocent people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Capital Punishment, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(USA Today) Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death

A jury of seven women and five men sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death by execution, closing one of the most painful chapters in this city’s history.

Tsarnaev looked straight ahead, showing no emotion, as the sentence was read. Jurors wiped away tears as the judge thanked them for their service.

“Your service as jurors in this case has been the very antithesis of mob law,” U.S District Judge George O’Toole Jr. told the jury. “You can and you should be justly proud of your service in this case.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Capital Punishment, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(LA Times) California's longest-serving wrongfully convicted inmate is a free man

A wrongfully convicted man who spent 36 years behind bars in California was set free Monday.

In Ventura, Superior Court Judge Donald D. Coleman ordered Michael Ray Hanline, 68, to be released but required that he still wear a GPS monitoring device.

It was found that DNA evidence collected at the crime scene did not match Hanline’s or that of his alleged accomplice, according to court documents. Also, a key witness was found to be under the influence of drugs when she testified against him.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Theology, Violence

(Gallup) View of Death Penalty as Morally OK Unchanged in U.S.

The recent news about the botched execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate has not affected the way Americans view the death penalty. Sixty-one percent say the death penalty is morally acceptable, similar to the 62% who said so in 2013, although both figures are down from a high of 71% in 2006.

The results are based on Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 8-11. On April 29, an Oklahoma death row inmate given a lethal injection appeared to suffer for an extended period of time until finally dying of a heart attack. That incident led to the postponement of a second execution scheduled in Oklahoma that day and raised questions about the methods used to execute prisoners.

The case did not fundamentally alter Americans’ perceptions of the death penalty, however, with a solid majority viewing it as morally acceptable. This percentage is similar to the 60% who say they favor the death penalty as punishment for murder in Gallup’s October update.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Capital Punishment, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

California TEC Bishops release statement supporting initiative to abolish the death penalty

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Capital Punishment, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, TEC Bishops, Theology

(ENS) Episcopal leaders push to abolish death penalty across the country

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Capital Punishment, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology

(USA Today) Shifts seen in support for death penalty

The campaign to abolish the death penalty has been freshly invigorated this month in a series of actions that supporters say represents increasing evidence that America may be losing its taste for capital punishment.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CT Politics Blog) After Troy Davis: The Religious Belief Breakdown on the Death Penalty

The execution of Troy Davis last night in Georgia has reinvigorated public debate over the death penalty. Davis was convicted in the 1989 murder of Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail. The execution made headlines because there were questions raised about the evidence in the case, including recantations by seven of the nine witnesses against Davis.

The execution was condemned by Pope Benedict XVI, former president Jimmy Carter, and governments around the globe. In the U.S., most Christians support the use of the death penalty to punish murders. Unlike Catholics and mainline Protestants, evangelicals support for capital punishment remains high even among those who say their views are shaped most by their religious beliefs.

Public opinion on the death penalty has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades. According to polls by Gallup, support for the death penalty was highest in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. At that time, 80 percent of Americans said they favored executing murderers. Since then, support has dropped to 64 percent.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Capital Punishment, History, Law & Legal Issues, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(NY Times On Religion) Faith Was on Governor Pat Quinn’s Shoulder

Early on the morning of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent’s season of penitence, Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois went through some final, solitary rumination. For much of his political career, he had supported capital punishment, albeit with reservations, even debating it at the dinner table with his mother. Now a legislative bill abolishing it was waiting for his signature, or his veto.

In the preceding weeks, he had heard arguments on the subject from prosecutors who spoke of the death penalty’s deterrent effect and from the grieving relatives of murder victims who saw in it fierce justice. He had reacquainted himself with about 20 capital cases overturned by DNA evidence or tainted by judicial error.

But on that decisive morning of March 9, he laid aside the secular factors and opened his Bible to a passage in II Corinthians about human imperfection. He prayed. And when he signed the bill striking down the death penalty, he cited one influence by name: Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Capital Punishment, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, State Government

Washington Post–Marylanders continue to favor death penalty

The death penalty has sparked intense debate in Maryland in recent years — but attitudes among residents haven’t changed much.

Sixty percent of Marylanders favor use of the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 32 percent are opposed, according to a new Washington Post poll.

Those figures don’t tell the entire story: Given a choice, more say they prefer the punishment of life in prison with no chance of parole than the death penalty — by 49 percent to 40 percent.

Neither result has changed much since The Post asked the same questions three years ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Capital Punishment, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

San Francisco Chronicle: State death sentences rise as US total falls

As the number of death sentences declined nationwide in 2009, death verdicts in California rose to their highest total in nearly a decade, the American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday.

All but five of the 29 California death sentences last year were handed down in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, the ACLU said.

Only two of the death sentences came from Bay Area courts, both in Contra Costa County. Darryl Kemp was sentenced in June for a 1978 rape and murder in Lafayette, a case in which he was identified through DNA evidence in 2000; and Edward Wycoff was condemned in December for murdering his sister and her husband in the couple’s El Cerrito home in 2006.

Nationally, death sentences fell to 106 in 2009, their seventh straight year of decline and the lowest total since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to an earlier report from the Death Penalty Information Center, a separate organization.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Capital Punishment, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

In Kansas Episcopal Bishops and other Church leaders support death penalty repeal

A measure being considered by the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee to repeal the state’s death penalty picked up eight supporters on Friday.

In a letter to the Kansas Legislature, eight bishops of the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church and United Methodist Church in Kansas signed a letter asking for reconsideration and repeal of the Kansas death penalty.

Signing the letter, dated Jan. 28, were Bishops James M. Adams Jr., Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas; Paul S. Coakley, Catholic Diocese of Salina; Ronald M. Gilmore, Catholic Diocese of Dodge City; Michael O. Jackels, Catholic Diocese of Wichita; Scott J. Jones, Kansas Area United Methodist Church; Gerald L. Mansholt, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Joseph F. Naumann, Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City; and Dean Wolfe, Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Capital Punishment, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, TEC Bishops