Death Penalty Debate Emerging In Utah’s Right

A surprising new conversation is occurring within the circles of the political Right in Utah: the abolition of the death penalty.

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty was founded in order to give those on the Right space to advocate the end of capital punishment. Marc Hyden, the organization’s national advocacy coordinator, said that the death penalty egregiously violates conservative and libertarian principles.

By Evan Hall; at Utah Public Radio

Shelby Farah’s mom speaks out against death penalty at panel discussion

“Every time we walk into that courtroom and I have to look at the person that took my child’s life away,” said Farah.

Darlene Farah lost her daughter, Shelby Farah, two years ago to murder. Farah has pushed for the death penalty to be taken off the table against her daughter’s accused killer, James Rhodes.

“He put an offer on the table for two life sentences to run consecutive plus 20 years … so I’ve been begging the state to take his offer. Of course they don’t want to,” Farah said.

By Michael Yoshida; more at ActionNewsJax

Exonerated death row inmate challenges Hillary Clinton on her support for death penalty

“In light of what I just shared with you and in light of the fact that there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country, I would like to know how you can still take your stance on the death penalty,” Jackson asked in one of the most powerful questions of the night.

Last year, Clinton made it clear that she does not support abolishing the death penalty, a position that has put her at odds with many liberals, including her Democratic presidential rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).

On Sunday night, she specified that she believes the death penalty should be reserved for special cases, and cited the Oklahoma City bombing as an example.

By Abby Phillip; more at The Washington Post

The death penalty saves lives – the pope is wrong to call for a ban

Pope Francis claims that the death penalty is “an offence against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the person” but what about the life and dignity of a victim who would not be a victim if the death penalty were in force? For if capital punishment deters – and I will shortly be looking at the evidence for the assertion that it does – then effectively there is a choice of lives to be made: those of the guilty or those of the innocent. We cannot pretend that choice is not there.

The state’s duty in these circumstances is an extension of the individual’s right to self-defence. If we believe our lives or those of others are at genuine risk then we can use whatever force is necessary to mount a credible defence including, in extremis, killing.

By Ann Widdecombe; more at The Guardian


(Not my view: I think it’s ludicrous … but suspect the line – “The state’s duty in these circumstances is an extension of the individual’s right to self-defence” – deserves more consideration than I’ve yet given it.


Dispatches: Indonesia’s Death Penalty Double Standard

Indonesia’s government is working hard to prevent Saudi Arabia from executing Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad, an Indonesian domestic worker on death row since 2010 for murdering and robbing her Saudi employer’s wife. Indonesia has launched a formal appeal to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to pardon Ahmad, and Ahmad’s family has paved the way for that pardon by paying the victim’s family a legally recognized “blood debt” equivalent to US$1.9 million in late 2014. As a result, Ahmad may be spared execution.

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, a Brazilian citizen on death row in Indonesia since 2003 for drug smuggling, is less fortunate. The Indonesian government is preparing to execute by firing squad Moreira and five other prisoners sentenced to death for drug-related offenses as soon as January 18. Moreira’s lawyer has said that the government has denied requests by the Brazilian government to extradite Moreira in order to allow him to serve a prison sentence in Brazil.

By Phelim Kline; more at

Australian campaign to abolish death penalty

Momentum is gathering in Australia to push for the elimination of the death penalty around the world but some say Australians should address attitudes in their own backyard first.

Not long before they died, convicted drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran expressed a wish for a global campaign to abolish the death penalty.

By Marie McInerney; more at BBC News.

How Australia can campaign to end the death penalty

While Australians are largely united in their sadness at the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran there is divide over how we should respond.

For many, the over-riding sense is one of helplessness. Prominent voices on the left and right have reacted with anger and want to go beyond withdrawing our ambassador to also punish Indonesia by cutting aid. Others, such as those in the #saveourboys video, seem to think the Australian Government can just snap its fingers and force Jakarta to change.

By Andrew Carr; more at The Lowy Institute’s ‘The Interpreter’

Death penalty diplomacy and hypocrisy

Sometimes, with a rueful shrug, a nation must spell ‘diplomacy’, h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y. Hypocrisy is far from the worst sin in pursuit of national interest, but there is usually a price to pay. The history of Australia’s relations in Southeast Asia hints at the diplomatic dynamic that will flow from the execution of the Bali bombers.

On the bombers, Kevin Rudd is adopting the exact position of the Howard Government. That puts Rudd at odds with the long-standing policy of the Australian Labor Party, with its statement of complete opposition to the death penalty.

The Prime Minister judges that uttering no words in opposition to the Indonesian firing squad is a reflection of the Australian popular will. Rudd follows Howard, who saw nothing wrong with the execution of Saddam Hussein, but protested forcefully at Singapore’s execution of the Australian citizen, Van Tuong Nguyen.

By Graeme Dobell; more at The Lowy Institute