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Archive for the ‘WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS’ Category


A man arrested for suspected drink-driving and held in solitary confinement for nearly two years after US prison authorities forgot about him has accepted a $15.5 million settlement, one of the nation’s largest civil rights payouts to anyone jailed.

Stephen Slevin, 59, who was never convicted, spent 22 months in a New Mexico jail cell, where his toenails grew so long they curled under his feet, he developed bedsores and fungus and fell into a state of delirium. He even had to pull one of his own teeth out because he was not allowed to see a dentist.

His lawyer, Matthew Coyte, said the ”very large” payout ”does not give back to Mr Slevin what was taken from him”.

”His mental health has been severely compromised from the time he was in that facility. No amount of money will bring back what they took away from him but it’s nice to be able to get him some money so he can improve where he is in life and move on.”

Mr Slevin was stopped by police in August 2005 and accused of being drunk and in a stolen vehicle. He claimed the car was given to him by a friend to drive across the country.

He was never seen by a judge and appeared depressed when he arrived at the Dona Ana detention centre, so was placed in a padded cell. Three days later, he was put in solitary confinement at the jail near the US border with Mexico.

Mr Slevin has left New Mexico and is being treated for lung cancer, not linked to his confinement.

Dona Ana County officials said that, at the time of his arrest, Mr Slevin had convictions in other states for robbery, burglary, drink-driving, receiving stolen property, firearms violations and possession of drugs.

A spokesman said no staff had been sacked, and the jail had made ”significant improvements” .

Telegraph, London




Why cry for Davis...! The victim’s family and the victim himself deserve that expresion of emotion. Davis was proven up by the courts to be a killer of a man who went to help in a fight & got murdered.

Davis a Georgia citizen has been executed, 20 years after he was convicted of the fatal shooting of a police officer and despite a plea for clemency from almost a million people worldwide.

Troy Davis, 42, who had continued to maintain his innocence, died by lethal injection at 11.08am, Georgia time (1.08pm AEST) after desperate efforts by his defence team failed to win a stay.

Madison MacPhail, daughter of slain off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail,   speaks about her late father, with mother Joan MacPhail at her side.Madison MacPhail, daughter of slain off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail, speaks about her late father, with mother Joan MacPhail at her side. Photo: AP 

His death was marked by last-minute drama when Georgia officials delayed the execution by an excruciating 3½ hours as they awaited a final ruling by the US Supreme Court.

Davis had been about to be strapped to a gurney to be injected, as state witnesses assembled to view his execution, when the schedule was interrupted. However the court ultimately denied him a reprieve.

Hundreds of supporters, gathered outside the jail in Jackson, about 60 kilometres south-east of Atlanta, fell into despair once the decision was known. There was a huge police presence to quell any eruption of anger.

Anneliese MacPhail talks about her son, Mark MacPhail.Anneliese MacPhail talks about her son, Mark MacPhail. Photo: AP 

The nation’s highest court was Davis’s last chance after Georgia’s judiciary rejected last-minute appeals from his defence team earlier in the day.

It was the fourth time that an execution date had been set for Davis, who was convicted of the 1989 shooting of 27-year-old policeman Mark MacPhail. The off-duty officer was shot in the chest and face when he sought to intervene in an argument in the car park of a Savannah takeaway.

Three stays had been granted since 2007, with Davis on one occasion coming within 2½ hours of being executed.

Protesters for Troy Davis gather on the steps of the Georgia Capitol building.Protesters for Troy Davis gather on the steps of the Georgia Capitol building. Photo: Getty Images/AFP 

The extraordinary legal case has put America’s death penalty in an uncomfortable spotlight.

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide , pleaded for clemency in the wake of a series of court appeals and with seven of nine witnesses having recanted their original testimony, some claiming to have been coerced by police.

No weapon, DNA evidence or surveillance footage was found to link Davis to the crime. His defence team pointed the finger at a second man who had been with Davis on that evening and who later became the prosecution’s star witness.

Kimberly Davis speaks about her brother Troy Davis.Kimberly Davis speaks about her brother Troy Davis. Photo: AP 

Petitioners had included Pope Benedict, Nobel peace laureates Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former FBI director and at least 40 members of the US Congress.

Davis’s advocates had included Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, as well as the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate 17 death-row inmates through DNA testing.

A New York Times editorial called the execution “a grievous wrong”. It said the failure of Georgia’s Pardon and Parole Board to grant clemency was “appalling in the light of developments after [Davis’s] conviction”.

This undated handout image from  the Georgia Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Troy Davis. A parole board in Georgia has denied a last-ditch clemency appeal on September 20, 2011 by Davis, a Georgia man set to be executed in a high-profile case on September 21 for the murder of a police officer. The case has attracted international attention and became a focus for opponents of the death penalty because seven of nine trial witnesses have since recanted their testimony and his supporters say he may be innocent.This undated handout image from the Georgia Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Troy Davis. Photo: Reuters 

“Across the country, the legal process for the death penalty has shown itself to be discriminatory, unjust and incapable of being fixed.”

Davis had spent Wednesday saying goodbye to about 25 visitors before refusing a last meal. He also spent time praying with his local pastor, who described the delay in his execution as “a human rights violation” and “a cruel and unusual punishment”.

Speaking through a lawyer on Tuesday, he said: “I will not stop fighting before I’ve taken my last breath. Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

Davis’s defence team had sought a polygraph, or lie detector, test for their client before his scheduled execution in a bid to win a further stay, but that had been denied by prison officials.

Their last appeals to the judicial system were denied successively by the state’s Superior Court and Supreme Court, and finally by the highest court in the US.

Supporters rallying outside the jail were briefly encouraged when word came that the Supreme Court had delayed the execution just minutes before its scheduled start at 9am. But it quickly emerged that the delay was only temporary, while the court’s nine justices considered whether to issue a stay.

Under Georgia law, the state governor does not have the power to intervene. That power is delegated to the parole board, which on Tuesday ruled that the execution could proceed.

“The board has considered the totality of the information presented in this case and thoroughly deliberated on it, after which the decision was to deny clemency,” the board’s statement read.

Prosecutors and Mr MacPhail’s widow and mother all said they had no doubt about Davis’s guilt and that the correct  person was being punished.

“I’m hoping that this is the end for our family,” said widow Joan MacPhail before the execution. “We want to believe so desperately that this is it.”

The dead policeman’s mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said: “I will never have closure because that can’t be. But I may have some peace which I hope for. I certainly need it.”

Spencer Lawton, the retired prosecutor in the case, told CNN: “There is the legal case, the case in court, and the public relations case. We have consistently won the case as it has been presented in court. We have consistently lost the case as it has been presented in the public realm, on TV and elsewhere.”

Davis became the fourth person executed in Georgia this year and the 34th across the 34 states that retain the death penalty. Texas accounts for a third of executions. However, America’s execution rate has been declining since the death penalty was reintroduced in the mid-1970s.


It could be suggested that there is  a case for capital punishment, because of the brutality of some of the murders committed, and these require fit and proper justice to be administered and punishment  to suit which should include capital punishment.

However the risk is the wrongful conviction of a person etc.

Also  the death sentence should only be given under very tight guidelines that need to be assessed & only by a panel of suitably qualified persons not a single judge.

I for one am in favour of the death penalty but its application would have to be rigourously monitored & controlled.

There are far too many examples of cruel sadistic killers getting to live in jails whilst the victims are dead and their families go on suffering for the rest of their lives.

More consideration for the victims & their families is in order.

Troy Davis should be grateful he got a clean death & not like some of the gruesome execution methods I have posted here in this site only days before this posting. It is not the death penalty that is the issue I would think here but the concern that he may be innocent. The courts have ruled that he was found guilty and consequently sentenced.What is it that the death penalty protestors do not understand about that process.

We have heard all the arguements for and against the death penalty time and time again, and nothing but nothing has yet convinced me that we should abolish the death penalty. More to the point is that the system to pass down & administer the death penalty needs to be looked at to minimize the number of ‘mistakes’ that will happen


The execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by most societies—both for crime punishment and to suppress political dissent. Execution of a person by the judicial process as a punishment for an offense is called capital punishment or death penalty. In most places that practice capital punishment it is reserved for murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery, incest and sodomy, also carry the death penalty. In many countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking, corruption, cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny are also capital offenses. Most historical records and various primitive tribal practices indicate that the death penalty was a part of their justice system.However some methods of execution were quite vicious & brutal .They are listed herein

[WARNING:  Contains some disturbing images]



The garrote was very common once,  but is no longer sanctioned by law in any country though training in its use is still carried out in the French Foreign Legion. The garrote is a device that strangles a person to death. It can also be used to break a person’s neck. The device was often used in Spain until it was outlawed in 1978 together with the abolition of the death penalty. It normally consisted of a seat in which the prisoner was restrained while the executioner tightened a metal band around his neck until he was dead. Some versions of the garrote incorporated a metal bolt which pressed in to the spinal chord, breaking the neck. The victim may pass into a state of severe and painful convulsions and then pass into death. This spiked version is known as the Catalan garrote. The last execution by garrote was José Luis Cerveto in October 1977. Andorra was the last country in the world to outlaw its use, doing so in 1990. However garroting is still common in India according Indian author and forensic expert Parikh.



Scaphism, also known as the boats was an ancient Persian method of executing people & designed to inflict a very torturous death. The naked person was firmly fastened within a back-to-back pair of narrow rowing boats (or a hollowed-out tree trunk), with the head, hands, and feet protruding. The condemned was forced to ingest milk and honey to the point of developing severe diarrhea, and more honey would be rubbed on the body so it would attract insects to the exposed appendages. The person would then be left to float on a stagnant pond or be exposed to the sun. The defenseless individual’s faeces accumulated within the container, attracting more bugs & insects, which would eat and breed within his or her exposed and increasingly gangrenous flesh. The feeding would be repeated each day in some cases to prolong the torture, so that dehydration or starvation did not provide him or her with a quick death. Death, when it eventually occurred, was probably due to a combination of dehydration, starvation and septic shock. Delirium would typically set in after a few days. Death by scaphism was deliberately painful, humiliating, and protracted



Flaying is the removal of skin from a living body. Like a slaughtered animal is flayed in preparation for human consumption, or for its hide or fur; this is more commonly called skinning, flaying is similar method applied to living humans. Flaying of humans was used as both a method of torture and execution, depending on how much of the skin is removed. Flaying is an ancient practice, used by Assyrians and Ming Dynasty.



Known also as slow slicing, Lingchi was reserved for crimes seen as especially severe, such as treason or killing of one’s parents. Also could be translated as slow process, lingering death or death by a thousand cuts, was a form of execution used in China from about AD 900 until its abolition in 1905. The process involved tying the person to be executed to a wooden frame, usually in a public place. The flesh was then cut from the body in multiple slices in a process that was not specified in detail in Chinese law and therefore most likely varied. In later times, opium was sometimes administered either as an act of mercy or as a way of preventing fainting. The punishment worked on three levels: as a form of public humiliation, as a slow and lingering death, and as a punishment after death. In variable forms, it also involved dismemberment i.e cutting, tearing, pulling, wrenching or otherwise removing, the limbs & genetalia of the condemned.



Breaking wheel or the Catherine wheel was a capital punishment device used  in the Middle Ages and early modern times for public execution by cudgelling to death. It was used during the Middle Ages and was still in use well into the 19th century. Breaking on the wheel was a form of torturous execution formerly in use in countries like France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Russia, the US. The wheel was typically a large wooden wagon wheel with a number of radial spokes, but a wheel was not always used. In some cases the condemned were lashed to the wheel and beaten with a club or iron cudgel, with the gaps in the wheel allowing the cudgel to break through. Alternatively, the condemned were spreadeagled and broken on a St Andrew’s cross consisting of two wooden beams nailed in an “X” shape, after which the victim’s mangled body might be displayed on the wheel.



Brazen Bull or the Sicilian Bull is a  execution device designed in the ancient world of Greece. Perillos of Athens, a brass-founder, proposed to Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, Sicily, the invention of a new means for executing convicted criminals. Accordingly, he cast a bull, made completely in brass, hollow, with a door on the side. The condemned was placed & locked in the bull and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until it became yellow hot and causing the person inside litterally  roasting to death. The bull was  designed in such a way that its smoke rose in spicy clouds of incense. The head of the ox was designed with a complex system of tubes and stops so that the prisoner’s screams were converted into sounds like the bellowing of an angry  bull. It is also said that when the bull was reopened, the scorched bones of the remains shone like jewels and were made into bracelets & other ornamental items.



Disembowelment or evisceration is the removing of some or all of the vital organs, usually from the abdomen. On humans, as a method of death penalty, it is fatal in all cases. It has historically been used as a severe form of very painfull capital punishment. Finally the last organs to be removed were invariably the heart and lungs so as to keep the condemned alive (and in pain) as long as possible.  Disembowelment played a part in methods of execution and ritual suicides once in Japan.



Where the victim is dipped in a big bowl. This method was used in Russia and Europe 3000 years ago and they used oil, acid or water. This type is considered slow and extremely painful. This penalty was carried out using a large cauldron filled with water, oil, tar, tallow or even molten lead. Sometimes the victim was immersed, the liquid then being heated, or he was plunged into the already boiling contents, usually head first. The executioner could then help speed their demise by means of a large hook with which he sank the person deeper. An alternative method was to use a large shallow receptacle rather than a cauldron; oil, tallow or pitch then being poured in. The victim was then partially immersed in the liquid and fried to death.



This method of execution is probably the most painful and interesting death method. Impalement as a method of  execution involves a person being pierced with a long sharpened stake. The penetration could be through the sides, through the rectum, through the vagina, or through the mouth. This method leads to a painful death, sometimes taking days. The stake would often be planted in the ground, leaving the impaled person suspended until death.  In some forms of impalement, the stake would be inserted so as to avoid immediate death, and would function as a plug to prevent blood loss. After preparation of the victim, perhaps including public torture and rape, the victim was stripped and an incision was made in the perineum between the genitals and rectum. A stout pole with a blunt end was inserted. A blunt end would push vital organs to the side, greatly slowing death. The pole would often come out of the body at the top of the sternum and be placed against the lower jaw so that the victim would not slide farther down the pole. Often, the victim was hoisted into the air after partial impalement. Gravity and the victim’s own struggles would cause him to slide down the pole. This method is extremely painful and was used by the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Greek empire, and ancient Roman Empire.



To be hanged, drawn and quartered was the penalty for high treason in medieval England has remained on the statute books but seldom used in the United Kingdom and Ireland until abolished under the Treason Act of 1814. It was a spectacularly gruesome and public form of torture and execution, and was reserved only for the most serious of crimes, which was deemed more heinous than murder and other capital offences. It was applied only to the male criminals, except on the Isle of Man. Women found guilty of treason were sentenced to be taken to a place of execution and burned at the stake, a punishment changed to hanging by the Treason Act of 1790 in Great Britain. First the convict is dragged on a wooden frame called a hurdle  to the place of execution. This is one possible meaning of drawn, then he is hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead. After that he is disembowelled (described above) and emasculated and the genitalia and entrails burned before the condemned’s eyes. Finally the body beheaded and the torso divided into four parts. Typically, the resulting five parts (i.e., the four quarters of the body and the head) were gibbeted (put on public display) in different parts of the city, town, or, in famous cases, in the country, to deter would-be traitors who had not seen the execution.



Investigations are continuing into whether two police officers should be charged over a case in which a young woman was wrongly accused of assaulting an officer outside a Swan Valley brewery.

Police Assistant Commissioner Gary Budge today confirmed the officers had been stood aside from active duty pending the outcome of an internal review into their actions.

“Consideration is being given to both officers being required to answer to the Commissioner of Police as to why he should maintain confidence in their suitability to remain police officers,” Mr Budge said.

“The assessment of that is still being undertaken.”

Penelope Jane Challice, 21, was acquitted of assaulting a public officer by the Midland Magistrate’s Court after Magistrate Elaine Campione found Ms Challice had been unlawfully arrested and the evidence unreliable and lacking credibility.

Ms Challice had been evicted from the Feral Brewing Company during the Spring in the Valley festival on October 11, 2009.

The State Solicitor’s Office is now examining the material to determine whether the actions of any police involved in the incident warranted criminal sanction.

“It is important to note that where there is an allegation of assault or excessive force against a police officer, it is not uncommon for WA Police to seek a legal opinion from the DPP or the State Solicitor’s office,” Mr Budge said.

“It shouldn’t be inferred from this that WA Police has concluded there is a prima facie case rather that we are seeking to ensure there is an independent assessment of the facts.”


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We often have a need to access files on a plethara of criminal activities that involve not only habitual crimes of various descriptions but those of impulsive one off actions that result in a crime being committed by an individual in an unintentional or negligent way.

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