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February 11, 2014 | By Maria L. La Ganga
SEATTLE - Declaring that he is "not convinced equal justice is being served" by the death penalty as it is carried out today, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday declared a moratorium on executions. Inslee did not commute the sentences of the nine prisoners on death row or issue pardons. Instead, he told reporters, if a death penalty case comes to him for action, he will issue a reprieve. "Equal justice under the law is the state's primary responsibility," Inslee said. "The use of the death penalty in this state is unequally applied, sometimes dependent on the size of the county's budget where the crime occurred.
January 21, 2014 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
HOUSTON - A Mexican national facing execution in Texas this week has drawn support from Mexican officials, a former Texas governor and U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who appealed to Gov. Rick Perry and state courts for a reprieve - so far, unsuccessfully. Edgar Tamayo, 46, a Mexican citizen, is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday for fatally shooting Houston Police Officer Guy Gaddis in 1994. Gaddis, 24, had been flagged down near a nightclub by a man who accused Tamayo of robbing him. The officer arrested Tamayo, handcuffed him and put him in the back of his patrol car. The officer was driving away when Tamayo drew a pistol he had concealed and shot Gaddis three times in the back of the head.
December 19, 2013 | By David G. Savage, This post has been corrected. See below for details.
WASHINGTON - The use of the death penalty declined again in 2013, as fewer convicted murderers were condemned to die and most executions took place in just three states -  Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, according to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center. The 39 executions in 2013 represent a slight drop from last year but a steep decline from 98 in 1999. The number of new death sentences has fallen even further, from a high of 315 in 1996 to 80 in 2013. The drop-off is especially noteworthy in Texas, the nation's leader in carrying out executions.
December 12, 2013 | By Bettina Boxall
After Delbert Tibbs dropped out of a Chicago seminary in 1972, he went on the road, walking, hopping freight trains and taking odd jobs across the U.S. One day in early 1974, police stopped him near Ocala, Fla., and questioned him about a crime 220 miles to the south. The officers took some Polaroid snapshots of Tibbs and then, satisfied he wasn't involved, sent him on his way. About a month later, in Lee County, Miss., a highway patrolman stopped him again and arrested him for rape and murder.
December 10, 2013 | By Paige St. John
This post has been updated and corrected. See the notes below for details. SACRAMENTO -- A federal judge has ordered California to come up with a plan to provide intensive, long-term psychiatric care to mentally ill prisoners on death row. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton's order, issued Tuesday afternoon, says California made progress three years ago when it created a special program for the most seriously mentally ill prisoners on...
October 21, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider taking another step toward limiting the use of the death penalty, this time by trying to clarify the legal standard for who is ineligible for the ultimate punishment because of mental disability. At issue is whether states such as Florida may disqualify anyone who scores above 70 on an IQ test. A score below 70 generally indicates mental disability. The justices agreed to hear the case of Freddie Hall, a Florida death row inmate who killed two people in 1978, but who was described as mentally disabled when he was a child and was deemed to be mentally retarded by the judge who sentenced him to die. Three years ago, Florida prosecutors said Hall had scored a 71 on a Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale test and therefore could be executed for his crimes.
October 16, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - Testimony continued Wednesday in a federal court case on California's treatment of mentally ill prisoners. Dr. Pablo Stewart, a psychiatrist, testified about the care that California's condemned prisoners receive, telling of a psychotic inmate who tried to kill himself three times - even punching pens through his eyes. The man was kept on death row rather than hospitalized, Stewart said, because he signed an agreement to take his drugs and attend therapy sessions.
October 7, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez
A 53-year-old man convicted of killing two Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputies in 1997 has died after possibly committing suicide, corrections authorities said Monday afternoon. Timothy Russell was convicted in the ambush slayings of James Lehmann Jr., 41, an Apple Valley resident, and Michael Haugen 33, who lived in San Jacinto.  The deputies had responded to an early morning domestic-violence call outside a remote desert-area mobile home where Russell lived.  Authorities said Russell was hiding behind scrub brush and opened fire with a World War II-vintage military carbine as the deputies got out of their patrol cars in pre-dawn darkness on Jan. 5. They died at the scene.
October 1, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Although Texas executes far more prisoners than any other state, Los Angeles and three other Southern California counties lead the nation in sentencing convicts to die, according to a report released Wednesday. Los Angeles County had 228 inmates on death row at the start of the year, more than double that of second-place Harris County, Texas. Riverside, Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino counties also ranked in the top 12, as did Alameda and Sacramento counties. In all, seven of the top 12 were in California.
September 14, 2013 | By Paul Whitefield
Is the only good rapist a dead rapist? That certainly appears to be the sentiment of many in India after a judge on Friday sentenced four men to be hanged for their parts in the rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in December. What's the view of the man on the street? Well, as my colleague Mark Magnier reported from New Delhi : Pawan Kumar, a 52-year-old textile shopkeeper, said he would be happy to do the honors. "They deserve capital punishment," the northern Uttar Pradesh state resident said.
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