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Botched Executions in the US Reached a Record High in 2022

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Botched Executions in the US Reached a Record High in 2022

According to a report released on Friday by a non-profit capital punishment research group, the number of botched executions in the United States reached a record high in 2022, even though the overall number of inmates executed remained near a five-decade low.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center’s annual report, seven of the 20 executions attempted this year were “visibly problematic,” including one lethal injection attempt that resulted in an unprecedented three-hour struggle to insert an intravenous (IV) line into an Alabama man.

Two of this year’s 20 execution attempts – both lethal injections in Alabama – were called off midway after officials attempted and failed to establish IV lines, prompting the state’s Republican governor to call for a “top-to-bottom” review of the execution process.

Other scheduled executions in Tennessee, Idaho, and South Carolina were canceled after state officials discovered flaws in execution preparation or protocol, according to the report.

Except for the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, when many states paused or slowed executions, the 18 executions in 2022 were the fewest in three decades. Outside of the pandemic years, the 22 death sentences issued in 2022 were the fewest in any previous year.

Because 37 U.S. states have abolished the death penalty or have not executed anyone in more than a decade, this year’s executions were concentrated in a few states, with more than half taking place in Oklahoma and Texas.

Oregon’s Democratic governor commuted the death sentences of the state’s 17 death-row inmates on Tuesday, sending them to life in prison with no chance of parole, and directed officials to dismantle the state’s execution chamber.

In the United States, public support for executing prisoners had hovered this year just one percentage point above a five-decade low reached in 2021, when 54% of respondents said they supported capital punishment in a Gallup poll.

In 2022, a Rasmussen Reports poll found even lower support for the death penalty, with only 46% of respondents supporting it.

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Mississippi executes man for rape, murder of a 16-year-old girl

Meanwhile, a man who raped and killed a 16-year-old girl in Mississippi was executed by lethal injection on Wednesday, becoming the state’s second execution in ten years.

Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton pronounced Thomas Edwin Loden Jr., 58, dead at 6:12 p.m. He’d been on death row since pleading guilty to capital murder, rape, and four counts of sexual battery against Leesa Marie Gray in 2001. In June 2000, she was stranded with a flat tire when Loden forced her into his van.

Wanda Farris, Gray’s mother, was present at the execution at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) north of the state capital, Jackson. The most recent execution in Mississippi occurred in November 2021.

A federal judge declined to stay Loden’s execution earlier this month, despite a pending lawsuit by him and four other Mississippi death row inmates challenging the state’s use of three drugs for lethal injections, which they claim is inhumane.

Loden wore a red prison jumpsuit and was covered by a white sheet during the execution. Brown leather straps restrained him on a gurney.

Loden expressed “deep remorse” before the injection began.

“I’ve tried to do a good deed every single day for the past 20 years to make up for the life I took from this world,” Loden said. “I know these are just words, and they won’t undo the harm I’ve done. If nothing else comes from today, I hope it brings you peace and closure.”

According to officials, his final words were “I love you” in Japanese.

Grey had spent the summer before her senior year of high school working as a waitress at her uncle’s restaurant in northeast Mississippi. She left work after dark on June 22, 2000, and got a flat tire.

Loden, a Marine Corps recruiter with relatives in the area, pulled over around 10:45 p.m. and began discussing the flat with her. “Don’t be concerned. I’m in the Marine Corps. “This is something we do,” he explained.

Loden told investigators that after Gray allegedly said she would never want to be a Marine, he became enraged and ordered her into his van. He told investigators that he sexually assaulted her for four hours before strangling and suffocating her.

According to court records, “Loden was discovered lying by the side of a road with the words ‘I’m sorry’ carved into his chest and apparent self-inflicted lacerations on his wrists” the following afternoon.

Farris described her daughter as a “happy-go-lucky, always smiling” adolescent with aspirations of becoming an elementary school teacher.

“She wasn’t perfect, mind you,” Farris admitted. “However, she worked hard to do the right thing.”

Farris refused to speak to reporters after the execution.

A week earlier, U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate granted the execution, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision seven years ago that upheld a three-drug lethal injection protocol in Oklahoma.

After a string of failed lethal injections, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey called for a moratorium on executions and a “top-to-bottom” review of the state’s capital punishment system in November.

Mississippi conducts “mock executions and drills” every month to avoid a botched execution, according to Jeworski Mallett, deputy commissioner of institutions for the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

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In court papers filed in July 2021, the Department of Corrections revealed that it had acquired three drugs for its lethal injection protocol: midazolam, a sedative; vecuronium bromide, which paralyzes the muscles; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

Only Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee have used a three-drug protocol since 2019, according to Jim Craig, a MacArthur Center attorney, who spoke at a November court hearing.

Craig stated that in 2008, most death-penalty states and the federal government used a three-drug protocol, but the federal government and most of those states have since switched to a single drug.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the death penalty is used in 27 states. Mississippi has 36 inmates on death row.

Death Penalty Action, a group opposed to the death penalty, held a press conference in front of the state capitol on Tuesday.

“Something snapped in him for him to commit such a horrific crime,” said Mitzi Magleby, a spokesperson for the Mississippi chapter of Ignite Justice, a criminal justice reform advocacy organization. “Mr. Loden was immediately repentant. Isn’t there room for grace and mercy in this situation?”

Loden hoped his execution would be the country’s last, according to his attorney, Mark McDonald, in a statement issued after the execution.

At a Wednesday news conference, Burl Cain, the Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner, stated that Loden cooperated with officials.

“He expressed his grief. “But he was upbeat and ate well,” Cain said. For his last meal, he had two bone-in-fried pork chops, sweet potatoes, and peach cobbler with ice cream.

The victim’s mother, Farris, told The Associated Press on Friday that she had forgiven Loden years ago but did not believe his apology.

“I don’t want to see anyone die,” Farris explained. “However, I believe in the death penalty… I believe in justice.”

Source: Reuters, VOR News

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Heatwave in Delhi Claims 200 Homeless Lives in One Week

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Heatwave in Delhi Claims 200 Homeless Lives in One Week

Around 200 homeless people have died in the Indian capital in the last week as a result of the country’s ongoing heatwave, according to a group committed to assisting homeless people.

The Times of India reported on Thursday that 52 bodies had been brought to hospitals in the previous two days, with the majority of them being poor people who lived and worked outside.

Delhi Heatwave

According to the Centre for Holistic Development, 192 homeless individuals died in New Delhi between June 11 and June 19, which is more than the number reported in prior years.

“The poorest people face the brunt of such climate change. Most of these folks live beneath flyovers and in the open, with no protection from the heat. According to Sunil Kumar Aledia, the head of CHD, heatwaves were primarily to blame for these deaths.

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This summer, India reported over 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases and at least 110 verified deaths between March 1 and June 18, when northwest and eastern India had more than double the typical number of heatwave days.

“A prolonged summer should be classified as a natural disaster,” the Hindu newspaper wrote in an editorial on Thursday, citing water shortages and record power demand.

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The health ministry asked federal and state institutions to provide rapid care to patients, while hospitals were told to make more beds available.

The meteorological office has anticipated above-normal temperatures for this month as well, and Delhi experienced its warmest night in over 50 years on Wednesday, with a minimum temperature of 35.2°C (95°F), according to weather department data.

Temperatures in the capital fell nearly 6°C to 37°C (98.6°F) on Thursday as rain provided relief from the heat, according to weather service data.

 

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UAE Predicted to Become World’s Top Wealth-Attracting Country for Third Consecutive Year

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UAE Predicted to Become World's Top Wealth-Attracting Country for Third Consecutive Year

(CTN News) – The Henley Private Wealth Migration Report predicts that the UAE will become the world’s top wealth-attracting country for the third year in a row.

The survey, which was released earlier this week, expects an extraordinary inflow of 6,700 millionaires from all over the world by the end of 2024, CNBC reported.

The United States is trailing behind the UAE in second place, with an expected inflow of 3,800 millionaires by year end.

According to Henley, the analysis projects that 128,000 millionaires, or high-net-worth individuals with one million dollars or more, will relocate in 2024, breaking the previous record of 120,000 millionaires set last year, signaling a watershed moment in global wealth migration.

The analysis is based on data provided by the global wealth intelligence business, New World Wealth. It provides information on millionaires’ inflows and outflows, as well as their global mobility trends.

Why the UAE is a Top Choice for Millionaires

“This great millionaire migration is a canary in the coal mine, signaling a profound shift in the global landscape and tectonic plates of wealth and power, with far-reaching implications for the future trajectory of the nations they leave behind or those which they make their new home,” said Dominic Volek, director of private client services at Henley & Partners, an international law firm.

The UAE is becoming a popular choice for high-net-worth individuals worldwide, thanks to its favorable tax regulations, strategic location, and modern infrastructure.

The country offers a “golden visa” to attract foreign talent, intending to “provide long-term residence to investors, entrepreneurs, specialists, students, and researchers who make a significant investment in the country,” according to Henley & Partners.

People from the Middle East, India, Russia, Africa, and most recently, the anticipated migration from the United Kingdom and Europe, are driving an increase in migration to the UAE.

According to Henley & Partners, the top ten countries expecting the biggest net inflows of millionaires this year are listed below.

  • United Arab Emirates: +6,700
  • United States of America: +3,800
  • Singapore: +3,500
  • Canada: +3,200
  • Australia: +2,500
  • Italy: +2,200
  • Switzerland: +1,500
  • Greece: +1,200
  • Portugal: +800
  • Japan: +400
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Supreme Court Upholds Trump-Era Foreign Earnings TAX

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US Supreme Court Upholds Trump- Era Tax

On Thursday, the US Supreme Court upheld an obscure tax established as part of Trump’s big 2017 reform package that targets U.S. taxpayers who own shares in certain foreign firms.

The Supreme Court concluded 7-2 that the so-called mandatory repatriation tax, or MRT, is constitutional under Article I and the 16th Amendment, rejecting a lawsuit by a Washington couple, Charles and Kathleen Moore, who claimed the provision violated the Constitution. Justice Brett Kavanaugh authored the majority opinion. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

The Supreme Court’s decision was narrow, but by declining to overturn the tax, the justices avoided closing the door on Democrats’ proposals to levy taxes on the nation’s richest earnings. Kavanaugh emphasized that the court’s analysis ignores the difficulties created by holdings, wealth, or net worth taxes, as well as appreciation taxes.

“Those are potential issues for another day, and we do not address or resolve any of those issues here,” the Supreme Court judge’s counsel wrote. “In the Moores’ instance, Congress has long taxed an entity’s shareholders on its undistributed revenue, as it did with the MRT. This Court has long sustained such taxes, and we continue to do so with the MRT.

The high court opinion is also expected to allay fears about the impact of a sweeping decision rejecting the required repatriation tax on other elements of the tax legislation. Kavanaugh acknowledged the potential repercussions of such a finding, stating that if the Moores’ argument is adopted, “vast swaths” of the Internal Revenue Code may be declared unconstitutional.

“And those tax provisions, if suddenly eliminated, would deprive the U. S. government and the American people of trillions in lost tax revenue,” he wrote on behalf of the coalition. “The logical ramifications of the Moores’ thesis would thus oblige Congress to either dramatically slash important national programs or significantly increase taxes on the remaining sources available to it—including, of course, ordinary Americans. The Constitution does not need such a fiscal disaster.”

Dan Greenberg, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which represented the Moores, expressed disappointment with the verdict, which allows the government to collect income taxes on overseas stockholders who have never earned income.

“We think that is unfair, because the Constitution authorizes Congress to tax people on their income, not the income of foreign businesses that they do not control,” according to a press release.

US Supreme Court

Supreme Court Moore v. U.S.

The tax at the center of the case, known as Moore v. U.S., is imposed one time on U.S. taxpayers who hold shares of certain foreign corporations. The Moores challenged the measure after they were hit with a nearly $15,000 tax bill for 2017 as a result of the law, which required them to pay levies on their share of reinvested lifetime earnings from an India-based company called KisanKraft Tools.

The Moores had invested $40,000 in the company in 2006 in exchange for a 13% stake, and did not receive any distributions, dividends or other payments from it.

But the mandatory repatriation tax, enacted through the Tax Cut and Jobs Act that was signed into law by former President Donald Trump, taxed U.S. taxpayers who owned at least 10% of a foreign company on their proportionate share of that company’s earnings after 1986. The tax was projected to generate roughly $340 billion in revenue over 10 years.

Though KisanKraft reinvested its earnings in the years after its founding, rather than distributing dividends to shareholders, the tax still applied to the Moores.

The Moores paid, but filed a lawsuit against the federal government to obtain a refund and challenge the constitutionality of the mandatory repatriation tax.

A federal district court ruled for the government and dismissed the case, finding that the mandatory repatriation tax is permitted under the 16th Amendment, which grants Congress the authority to tax “incomes, from whatever source derived.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision, ruling that nothing in the Constitution prohibits Congress from “attributing a corporation’s income pro-rata to its shareholders.” The 9th Circuit noted that courts have consistently upheld other similar taxes, and warned that finding the measure unconstitutional would call into question many other long-standing tax provisions.

The Supreme Court affirmed the 9th Circuit’s ruling and found that by 1938, its precedents had established a rule that contradicted the Moores’ argument in their case. That line of prior decisions, Kavanaugh wrote for the court, “remains good law to this day.”

Citing those earlier rulings and the similarities between the mandatory repatriation tax and other tax provisions, the court concluded that the measure “falls squarely within Congress’s constitutional authority to tax.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett issued a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, in which she agreed with the outcome of the case, but split with the majority’s reasoning. Addressing the question that was before the court, Barrett said that the 16th Amendment does not authorize Congress to tax unrealized sums without apportionment to the states.

In a dissenting opinion joined by Gorsuch, Thomas said the Moores were correct in challenging the mandatory repatriation tax as unconstitutional. Because the couple never actually received gains from their investment, those unrealized gains couldn’t be taxed as income under the 16th Amendment, he wrote.

“The fact that the MRT has novel features does not mean that it is unconstitutional. But, the MRT is undeniably novel when compared to older income taxes, and many of those differences are constitutionally relevant,” he wrote. “Because the MRT is imposed merely based on ownership of shares in a corporation, it does not operate as a tax on income.”

Thomas criticized the majority over its concerns about the impact a broad decision would have on other longstanding taxes, writing that “if Congress invites calamity by building the tax base on constitutional quicksand, ‘the judicial power’ afforded to this court does not include the power to fashion an emergency escape.”

He also rebuffed the majority’s contention that its ruling does not speak to the constitutionality of other taxes that may be passed by Congress, such as a wealth tax.

“Sensing that upholding the MRT cedes additional ground to Congress, the majority arms itself with dicta to tell Congress ‘no’ in the future,” Thomas wrote. “But, if the court is not willing to uphold limitations on the taxing power in expensive cases, cheap dicta will make no difference.”

During oral arguments in December, the justices seemed sympathetic to concerns about how a sweeping ruling would reverberate across the U.S. tax system and threaten existing tax laws.

But some of the justices sought clarity on the limits of Congress’ taxing power. Lawyers for the Moores had warned the court that allowing a tax on income that has not yet been realized, or received, would pave the way for lawmakers to levy taxes on all manner of things, such as retirement accounts or gains in the value of real estate.

Justice Samuel Alito had faced pressure from some congressional Democrats to recuse himself from the case because of interviews he participated in with an editor at the Wall Street Journal and David Rivkin, a lawyer who represented the Moores.

The justice declined to step aside from the case, arguing there was “no valid reason” for him to do so.

Source: CBS News

 

 

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