06-23-2018  7:16 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

State Supreme Court won't hear Sweet Cakes by Melissa appeal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to consider the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the now-defunct bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 based on the bakers' religious objections.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Friday the Supreme...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Online sellers consider how to comply with sales tax ruling

NEW YORK (AP) — While a Supreme Court ruling on sales taxes will create more obligations and expenses for many small online retailers, owners are already thinking about how they'll comply.The decision allows states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax from customers in...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...


How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...


Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...


So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...


Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Ex-S. Korean premier Kim Jong-pil, spy agency founder, dies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kim Jong-pil, the founder of South Korea's spy agency whose political skills...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's skewed claims on immigration, economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is distorting the truth when it comes to the impact of his...

The Latest: Malta tells aid boat with migrants to go away

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on immigration issues in Europe (all times local):3:45 p.m.Malta's premier is...

Vatican convicts ex-diplomat of child porn distribution

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican tribunal on Saturday convicted a former Holy See diplomat and sentenced him...

Trump pushes back against border separation uproar

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump tried to cast doubt Friday on wrenching tales of migrant children...

By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

Death Row ReportClick on picture to get Pdf. of report

A new report by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights finds that prisoners on California and Louisiana's death row are being held in degrading and inhumane conditions that amount to torture under international law.

Prison staff, psychiatrists, prisoners and their families, and exonerated death row inmates were among the people interviewed to discover the ugly truth behind the bars.

The investigation teams who prepared the report found that both California and Louisiana often hold condemned prisoners in solitary confinement for decades. That's a practice that leads to severe psychological and physical harm, and is against international law.

Discrimination against Blacks and other minorities is widespread in both prison systems. The report found stark racial and geographic disparities in death penalty charging and sentencing rates in both states, as well as a significant overrepresentation of minorities on death row.

"In California, the ratio of African Americans on death row is nearly six times their percentage in the population at large, and in Louisiana, the percentage of African Americans is double their representation in the population," the Center for Constitutional rights says in a press release.

From the Report: John Thompson's Story
John Thompson had been convicted of murder in 1985.
In the fourteen years he spent on death row, Thompson was given six dates for his execution, all procedurally stayed so that he could continue appeals. With each new writ of execution, the pressure on Mr. Thompson became "more crushing" and forced him to think about his life as "a constant countdown to lethal injection."
After his defense team exhausted all formal avenues of appeal, Thompson was given his seventh date, which he knew would be his last. Mr. Thompson prepared to die. He sought to tell his youngest son about his scheduled death, which would occur the day before the boy's high school graduation, but his son's teacher unknowingly informed him first, announcing the upcoming execution to his class.
 Just weeks before his scheduled execution, a private investigator on John's case discovered scientific evidence of his innocence which had been hidden by the prosecutor's office. His life was spared and Thompson returned home. In addition to evidencing the struggles of those on death row, Thompson's case is a prime example of the lack of redress for victims of due process violations and torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Upon release from prison, Thompson was given $10 and a bus ticket. Although a jury later awarded Thompson $14 million in damages, the Supreme Court reversed this
award due to immunity protections the U.S. provides prosecutors.
Mr. Thompson is now organizing other exonerees in his community and across the nation to seek better prosecutorial oversight and options for redress.

Louisiana prisoners are held in solitary cells with no respite from extremes of heat and cold – sometimes in temperatures of 110 degrees. In San Quentin prison, more prisoners have committed suicide than have been executed.

Several states, for example Illinois, have abolished the death penalty over concerns about wrongful convictions.

Florence Bellivier, the International Federation for Human Rightsrepresentative who led the California investigation, called for both states to abolish the death penalty.  

"Louisiana and California should urgently revise their policy and abolish the death penalty." she says in a press release.

 "In 2012, 21 countries carried out executions, including the United States. By abolishing capital punishment, the US would join a growing national and worldwide movement. It's about the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights."

Bellivier is president of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who led the mission in Louisiana also called for an end to the death penalty.

"The death penalty constitutes an inherent violation of the most fundamental of all human rights: the right to live," he said in a statement.

"Not only are death row prisoners being denied this fundamental right in a process known to be rife with errors and discrimination, but in California and Louisiana, they are also being held, sometimes for decades on end, in conditions that clearly violate the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which the United States is a party."

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