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USA: REPORT FINDS RECORD NUMBER OF EXONERATIONS IN 2015

February 3, 2016: A report released by the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) reported that a record 149 defendants were exonerated in 2015, including 58 convicted of homicide, also a record for exonerations in a single year.
Overall, 39% of last year's exonerations were in homicide cases.
Using slightly different criteria than DPIC's exoneration list, the NRE reported five exonerations of defendants who had been sentenced to death. The NRE report also reported a number of cases in which police or prosecutors had pursued capital charges or threatened suspects or witnesses with the death penalty.
In several cases, the threat of a death sentence led to false confessions or guilty pleas, including the 2007 wrongful conviction of Bobby Johnson in Connecticut. Johnson, who has an IQ of 69 and is barely literate, was 16 years old when he was arrested. According to the report, Johnson confessed to the murder "after two interrogation sessions—during which the detectives lied and said there was physical evidence linking Johnson to the crime, and falsely told him he could get the death penalty but that they would get him probation instead." His attorney conducted no investigation, and Johnson was sentenced to 38 years. He was exonerated in 2015 after new attorneys were able to present forensic evidence linking the murder weapon to another suspect.
Another 2015 exoneree, Shawn Whirl, who was wrongfully convicted in Illinois in 1991, was tortured into giving a false confession and pled guilty to avoid the death penalty.
In yet another case, Hannah Overton was charged with capital murder and sentenced to life without parole for the alleged "salt poisoning" murder of her foster son. In her case, Texas prosecutors withheld from the defense exculpatory information about the levels of salt in the child's blood, and medical evidence later indicated that there was no murder at all, but that the child's death was linked to a genetic disorder. The report credits some of the growth in the number of exonerations to prosecutors' increased willingness to revisit convictions, evidenced by the increasing number of Conviction Integrity Units within prosecution offices, but cautioned that the performance of these unit's nationwide "has been highly variable and some have been criticized as mere window dressing." (Source: The Houston Chronicle, 03/02/2016)

VIETNAM: DEATH ROW INMATE FOUND PREGNANT, 4 OFFICERS SUSPENDED
PAKISTAN: SC TURNS CONVICT'S DEATH SENTENCE INTO LIFE IMPRISONMENT
UAE: FOUR SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR JOINING DAESH
USA: SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA DIES AT 79
LIBYA: DAESH EXECUTES THREE PRISONERS IN SIRTE
UKRAINE: DONETSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC COURT HANDS DOWN FIRST DEATH SENTENCE
IRAQ: FOUR WOMEN ARE RAPED BY ISIS FIGHTERS AND THEN STONED TO DEATH IN MOSUL AS PUNISHMENT FOR 'COMMITTING ADULTERY'
SAUDI ARABIA: IRAQI EXECUTED FOR MURDER
BANGLADESH: DEATH SENTENCES UPHELD OVER 2004 ATTACK ON BRITISH ENVOY
PAKISTAN: ANOTHER DEATH ROW CONVICT HANGED IN MULTAN
NORTH KOREA: ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF EXECUTED
PAKISTAN: MURDER CONVICT SENT TO GALLOWS
IRAQ: ISIS PUBLICLY EXECUTES JOURNALIST IN MOSUL
SRI LANKA: SEVEN SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER A 1989 MURDER
PAKISTAN: DEATH ROW CONVICT EXECUTED IN BAHAWALPUR
SOMALIA: PRESIDENT CALLS FOR THE FORMATION OF A CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
SAUDI ARABIA: EGYPTIAN EXECUTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
IRAQ: SAUDI EXECUTED ON CONCOCTED CHARGES
GAZA: HAMAS EXECUTES ONE OF ITS COMMANDERS ACCUSED OF SPYING FOR ISRAEL
SRI LANKA: PRISONERS ON DEATH ROW TO GET LIFE IMPRISONMENT
ZAMBIA: FIVE PF CADRES SENTENCED TO DEATH BY HANGING FOR KILLING UPND COUNTERPART
USA: BERNIE SANDERS IS AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
PAKISTAN: TWO PRISONERS HANGED IN KOHAT, MULTAN
INDIA: DEATH SENTENCE TO 11 FOR KILLING WOMAN TO GRAB LAND IN NADIA
GEORGIA (USA): BRANDON ASTOR JONES EXECUTED
EGYPT: COURT OVERTURNS DEATH SENTENCES FOR 149 MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SUPPORTERS
SAUDI ARABIA: ETHIOPIAN EXECUTED FOR MURDER
SAUDI ARABIA: COURT QUASHES DEATH SENTENCE FOR 'APOSTATE' POET
PAKISTAN: FOUR SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
EGYPT: 7 OPPOSITION MEMBERS SENTENCED TO DEATH

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