Death penalty amounts to torture: UN

Oct 24, 2012

United Nations: The UN's anti-torture expert says that the death penalty should be considered cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment prohibited under international conventions banning torture.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E Mendez presented the General Assembly with a report today that found a growing momentum toward abolition of the death penalty around the world, mainly fuelled by concerns over the legality of executions.
He said currently the death penalty is treated as an exception to the right to life provided for by international law. The United States, Singapore and Egypt all took exception to his argument, rejecting the notion that there was an evolving international consensus toward the abolition of the death penalty, Mendez said.

Death Row Inmate Best Lawyer Was Himself

By ADAM LIPTAK / The New York Times 16 April 2012

WASHINGTON -- Albert Holland Jr., a death row inmate in Florida, has no legal training and seems to be suffering from a mental illness -- "perhaps a disorder involving paranoia or delusional thoughts," a federal judge wrote recently.

But he turns out to be a pretty good lawyer. Two years ago, in allowing Mr. Holland a fresh chance to make his case after his court-appointed lawyer blew a crucial deadline, the Supreme Court praised Mr. Holland's legal acumen. Indeed, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote, Mr. Holland had had a better understanding of the complicated time limits for challenging death sentences in federal court than his lawyer had.

Mr. Holland made good use of the opportunity the Supreme Court gave him. A couple of weeks ago, he won a decision granting him a new trial. In the process, he opened a window on the astoundingly spotty quality of court-appointed counsel in capital cases.

Justices Hear Arguments in a Police Search Case

NYT Liptak 5 Dec 2011

WASHINGTON — Police officers in Los Angeles stormed Augusta Millender’s home early one morning in 2003. They were looking for Ms. Millender’s foster son, Jerry Bowen, and for a shotgun he had used in a domestic assault. They found neither. But they did seize a gun owned by Ms. Millender, who was 73. The gun was legal, and she said she kept it for self-defense.

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