death penalty

Death penalty is ‘contrary to the Gospel,’ pope says

The death penalty, no matter how it is carried out, "is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel," Pope Francis said.

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at the Vatican Oct. 11, Pope Francis said the catechism's discussion of the death penalty, already formally amended by St. John Paul II, needs to be even more explicitly against capital punishment.

Capital punishment, he said, "heavily wounds human dignity" and is an "inhuman measure."

Wrongful convictions: From death row to freedom

Reggie Griffin, a Missouri death row exoneree, told the crowd about his story on May 20 at an event at the St. Louis Galleria Lush store. Griffin along with fellow exoneree, Joe Amrine, were both convicted of murders they did not commit and spent years on death row before being exonerated.

Joe Amrine selected the music for his funeral service.

He wasn't sick, nor was he elderly. He was on Missouri's death row awaiting lethal injection.

In November 2001, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon asked the Missouri Supreme Court to set an execution date for Amrine and nine other men on death row. The court complied in six cases, but delayed in Amrine's case. By then a groundswell of support built for his exoneration in part because of a documentary, "Unreasonable Doubt: the Joe Amrine Case," by a group of university graduate students.

Justice Breyer calls death penalty arbitrary, urges review

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer delivered harsh criticism of the death penalty Dec. 12 in a dissent to the court's decision not to hear a Florida inmate's death penalty appeal.

Breyer was the lone dissenter in a three-page opinion specifically highlighting what he described as "cruel and unusual punishment" inflicted on inmate Henry Sireci, who has spent 40 years on death row and continues to argue that his conviction was based on flawed evidence and false testimony.

Mo. group hosts prominent voice against death penalty

Terrance Barber and his son had visited and become friends with Paul Goodwin before he was executed in December 2014. He protested the execution of Cecil Clayton in front of the St. Louis University College Church the day he wa executed, March 12, 2015. Clayton murdered Barry County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Castetter in 1996. Castetter responded to a call related to a domestic dispute Clayton had with a woman. Christopher was shot once in the face while sitting in his patrol car. ​ Clayton, who is missing part of his brain, was said to be legally incompetent, but the state of Missiouri did not recognize his injury as a disability.

When former Illinois Gov. George Ryan decided to step back into public life, choosing to make his first stop in Missouri was a no-brainer.

"This is my first public appearance talking about the death penalty since my release," he said in an interview before his talk, referring when he was freed in 2013 after spending more than five years in prison on federal corruption charges. Prior to his legal troubles, he had given talks around the country about his change of heart regarding capital punishment and how and why he set in motion the end of capital punishment in his state.

Letter to the editor | Repeal sanctioned death

Nebraska recently joined 18 other states in banning the death penalty. Missouri must follow suit. Far from weakening or diverting attention from Missouri's impressive history of pro-life legislation, repealing the death penalty would provide a credible demonstration of our state's consistency in valuing and protecting all human life.

Nebraska bishops welcome override of veto of bill ending death penalty

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska state senators overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of a bill repealing capital punishment that had been supported by the state's Catholic bishops.

In a 30-19 vote May 27, the senators supported a bill that replaces the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without parole.

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