Tuesday, October 12, 2004


US: A Californian man who beheaded a german shepherd dog he had named after his girlfriend, has been sentenced to 25 years to life under California's three-strikes law.

James Abernathy, 43, was convicted in June of felony animal cruelty for killing the dog, which he had named Marie, after a fight with his girlfriend. "The community is much safer after the judge's ruling," said

California Deputy District-Attorney, Heather Brown.

Defence lawyers claimed Abernathy suffered from schizophrenia. But the judge ruled he was "sane" when he committed the crime.


U.S. District Federal Judge Sam Sparks, ruled last week that Scott Panetti, 46, a diagnosed schizophrenic and manic-depressive, is "sane" to be executed.

Panetti was first diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in 1981. He had a long history of serious mental illness and had been hospitalised in numerous psychiatric facilities a dozen times before he shot his parents-in-law to death in 1992. Prison records show that Panetti was evaluated in late 1992 and prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressive medication for his mental illness.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness where symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, confused thinking, and altered senses, emotions or behaviour. Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness) is a disorder of the brain resulting in episodes of mania and depression. There is ample evidence suggesting that Panetti was psychotic at the time of the crime.

However, in 1994, Panetti was found "competent" to stand trial. In 1995, the case went to trial. Panetti waived his right to state-appointed counsel and was allowed to represent himself. He wore a purple cowboy outfit at the trial.

Dressed in a costume like an old TV western, including cowboy hat, a huge bandana, trousers tucked into his cowboy boots, and cowboy shirt, Panetti wanted to subpoena Jesus Christ, JFK and other people who had long-ago died.

People who attended the trial, including lawyers, doctors, psychologists, the media, his relatives and members of the public, described the trial as a "circus".

Nonetheless, Panetti was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

Psychiatrist Michael R. Arambula, who evaluated Panetti in 1997 for his appeals, concluded that Panetti suffers from schizoaffective disorder - a combination of schizophrenia and manic depression (bipolar disorder). The psychiatrist further concluded that Panetti had not been competent to stand trial.

The State of Texas has fought for the death sentence every step of the way, maintaining the position that mental illness does not necessarily equate to incompetence, either to stand trial or in self-representation. So far, the state has been successful. Panetti's conviction and death sentence have survived the appeals process. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it was refusing to consider Panetti's case. Lower courts have found that there was enough evidence that Panetti was competent to stand trial.

The law truly is an ASS!

By ACADP posted 12 October 04


'The Premier Australian Internet Resource on Capital Punishment'


Kids from 3 to 83 years old beat candy labeled "Justice" out of a big Texas-shaped piqata on Aug. 1 as dozens gathered in the Houston City Hall Park to celebrate the 30th birthday of Nanon Williams, an innocent person on Texas death row.

THE LAND OF BIBLES, GUNS, PATRIOTS AND THE 'WORLD ROLE MODEL' FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The state of Alabama, USA, executed James Barney Hubbard. So what? ... you might say ... America executes prisoners almost every week!

Doing Time for Political Crime
Dave Gilbert, serving a life-sentence in New York, has just come out with an important, wonderful book, No Surrender: Writings from an anti-imperialist political prisoner, and Staughton Lynd, counsellor to death row in Ohio, has just published the scathing j’accuse of our times, Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising.

Appealing a Death Sentence Based on Future Danger USA-HOUSTON, June 9 - Texas juries in capital cases must make a prediction. They may impose a death sentence only if they find that the defendant will probably commit more violent acts.

Death Penalty Forensics?
In proposing a new death penalty for Massachusetts last month, Governor Mitt Romney offered firm assurance that no innocent people would be executed: Convictions, he said, will be based on science.

Clive Stafford-Smith: The Death Penalty
British lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith, who for the last 20 years has worked with death row prisoners in the U.S. is returning to his home in Britain, to fight for the Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Cuba.

Silencing the Cells: Mass Incarceration and Legal Repression in U.S. Prisons People without a voice are not people in any meaningful sense of the word. Silenced people cannot express their ideas; they can neither consent nor protest. They are reduced to being pawns in the schemes of the powerful, mendicants who must accept whatever is imposed upon them. In order to keep people in a state of subjugation, silencing their voices is essential. Nowhere is this clearer than in U.S. prisons.

U.N. Group Seeks End To Executions The United States, Japan, China, India and Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia opposed the resolution. Burkina Faso, Cuba, Guatemala, South Korea and Sri Lanka abstained.

US Execution: Huang Thanh Le
Dear Friends, this is so sad especially for our dear friend, San Nguyen. San who lives in Oklahoma worked very hard with the rest of the Vietnamese community to stop Mr. Le's execution.

US Execution: Please contact the Governor
The Vietnamese-American Community, the ACLU, and many others want the March 30 execution of Huang Thanh Le commuted.

Death penalty: a lawyer sees the light
The observation by [Cherie Blair?] "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus" is illustrated by the two nations' differing reactions to the use of the death penalty as a legitimate punishment for murder.

Cherie Blair attacks US over death penalty in Catholic paper
Cherie Blair has renewed her attack on America's use of the death penalty. In a book review in the Catholic journal The Tablet, under her maiden name Cherie Booth, she says: "Capital cases are uniquely prone to error and thus call into question whether we can ever be really sure of obtaining the just result.

Insane prisoner granted stay in the USA
The case of a condemned killer with a history of paranoid delusions and violent outbursts raises questions about executing the mentally ill.

OHIO: Judges join dissent on execution delay
Lewis Williams - his attorneys argued that he was mentally retarded, was executed by lethal injection on Jan. 14 2004 in Lucasville, Ohio at age 45.

Mexico Awaits Hague Ruling on Citizens on U.S. Death Row
Sbaldo Torres, a convicted murderer on death row in Oklahoma, should have been dead by now, his appeals exhausted, his time up. But because 15 judges in The Hague, acting at the request of the government of Mexico, have forbidden his execution for now, he is alive in a cell in McAlester, awaiting the next move from the Netherlands.

Jury Passes On Business Of Killing
US: This drives the death penalty crowd in the legislature nuts. Yet another jury - another 12 men and women, tried and true, who had all attested to their belief in the death penalty - has refused to join in the killing business.

Ultimate Punishment: Dealing With the Death Penalty
Scott Turow has long juggled two careers‹that of a novelist and that of a lawyer. He wrote much of his first and best known legal thriller, Presumed Innocent, on the commuter train to and from work during the eight years he spent as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, and he has churned out another blockbuster every third year since joining the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in 1986.

A Question of Innocence Rubin Carter: Day after day, week after week, I would sit in that filthy cell, seething. I was furious at everyone. At the two state witnesses who lied, at the police who put them up to it, at the prosecutor who sanctioned it, at the judge who allowed it, at the jury who accepted it, and at my own lawyer, for not being able to defeat it.

Are you sane enough to be executed?
New York: The US Supreme Court has let stand a ruling by a federal appeals court in February that officials in the state of Arkansas had the right to force a convicted murderer to take drug treatment to make him sane enough to be executed.

Amnesty steps up campaign to abolish death penalty
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International is urging people around the world to pressure countries to abolish the death penalty. Amnesty director Irene Khan has released a statement, which raps governments for carrying out "executions".

Port Lincoln Mayor has lost the plot!
Controversial Port Lincoln Mayor Peter Davis has called for drug addicts to be given a lethal injection to cut rising illicit drug use on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.

'LAND OF THE FREE' SET TO EXECUTE TWO PRISONERS BY FIRING SQUAD: Wanted: Willing executioners for two convicted murderers. Must be psychologically sound and familiar with .30-calibre rifles. No victims' relatives need apply.

There has been some debate whether: 'Capital punishment should be re-instated in Australia, since the terrible events that took place in Bali' In all democratic nations, every human being is considered innocent of any alleged crime, until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a court of law. For this reason, certain safeguards must be used for capital punishment cases.

Keith Clay was executed tonight, becoming the 300th prisoner in Texas to die by lethal injection since the rogue state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.

" ... Our nation was built on a promise of life and liberty for all citizens. Guided by a deep respect for human dignity, our Founding Fathers worked to secure these rights for future generations, and today we continue to seek to fulfil their promise in our laws and our society.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Please note the following article carefully.....it shows clearly the hateful, uncaring and anti-human rights attitude as reflected by the Governor of Texas (and most other elected Texas officials).

Supreme Court Justice Blocks Execution
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens blocked Indiana from putting to death its oldest death row inmate Tuesday to give the 71-year-old prisoner, who is partially deaf and blind, extra time to file federal appeals.

Stephen Romei: Death knell sounds for US capital law
GEORGE RYAN, outgoing governor of the US state of Illinois a republican who leaves office today, has put US capital punishment on the road to oblivion by commuting the sentences of all 167 of the state's death row inmates. Three were re-sentenced to 40 years' jail and the remaining 164 got life without parole.

Bush rules out death sentence review US President George W Bush says has dismissed any chance of a review of America's system of capital punishment.

Amnesty urges Bush to shut death row
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged US President George W. Bush to take a "moral stand" and abolish the death penalty after the Illinois Governor dramatically emptied that state's death row.

USA - A NATION IN TURMOIL: As the year 2002 draws to a close, little if anything, has changed in the United States in regards to state-sanctioned killing. Various campaigns, calls for clemency, petitions, and international condemnation, have failed to humanize U.S. politicians.

Here come de Judge - Time to Leave [266]
There have always been examples of rulings and interpretations that have supported the saying "The law is an ass". This is increasingly the case, because even the best intentioned judges are now facing an avalanche of new technologies and social change. But, it is no good making excuses for the judiciary and continuing to accept their strange interpretations. We must recognise that not only judges but the whole legal system will struggle more and more. In the end the whole system will become a farce. This is the way empires end.