Philippine Standard Time
Monday, June 10, 2019, 2:18:54AM

In Defense of the Right to Life: International Law and Death Penalty in the Philippines

A study by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and Dr. Christopher Ward, SC, Australian Bar, Adjunct Professor, Australian National University


Zimbabwe Considers Abolishing Death Penalty
Human Rights Watch |, February 15, 2024
Death penalty incompatible with right to life
OHCHR |, January 31, 2024
Debunking narratives for a return of the death penalty
WCADP |, November 13, 2023
Jury in Pittsburgh synagogue trial to begin deliberating death penalty
The New York Times |, July 31, 2023
Singapore executes a woman for first time in almost two decades
The Guardian |, July 28, 2023
Ghana votes to remove death penalty, calling it sign of ‘inhumane’ society
The Washington Post |, July 26, 2023
Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk after Ghana’s Parliament votes to abolish death penalty
UN OHCHR |, July 26, 2023
Parents in South Korea who kill newborns now face death penalty after law passed
The Straits Times |, July 19, 2023
Capitol Hill Democrats introduce bill to end federal death penalty
Catholic News Agency |, July 19, 2023
North Koreans risk death penalty for using South Korean language
Scottish Legal News |, June 30, 2023
Arizona Man Is Freed After 28 Years on Death Row
New York Times |, June 16, 2023
Two Australians facing death penalty in Vietnam granted clemency
Al Jazeera |, June 06, 2023
Japanese Supreme Court upholds mans death sentence for Manila murders
The Japan Times |, June 05, 2023
Zimbabwe’s new bill that imposes death penalty for ‘unpatriotic acts’
Africa Feeds |, June 01, 2023
Iran hangs three on drug charges amid criticism
Al Jazeera |, May 21, 2023
Singapore: OHCHR calls on authorities to halt imminent trafficking execution
United Nation News |, April 25, 2023
Washington state eliminates death penalty from law
CNN |, April 21, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR |, April 03, 2023
Malaysia ends mandatory death penalty for serious crimes
BBC News |, April 03, 2023
Surge in executions of drug offenders in 2022, more on death row
Al Jazeera |, March 16, 2023
Pope condemns Irans use of death penalty against protesters
Reuters |, January 09, 2023
Pope Francis’ prayer intention for September: ‘Abolition of the death penalty’
CBCP News |, September 01, 2022
Singapore executes two drug traffickers despite pleas for clemency
CNN |, July 07, 2022
Malaysia to abolish mandatory death penalty
Al Jazeera |, June 10, 2022
Missionary priest praises Central African Republic for abolishing death penalty
Crux |, June 02, 2022
Saudi Arabia: Release Abdullah al-Howaiti, revoke death sentence
Un News |, May 31, 2022
Rights office welcomes Zambia’s pledge to abolish the death penalty
UN News |, May 22, 2022
Kazakhstan Finalizes Commitment to Abolishing Death Penalty, Submits Ratification of Protocol to UN
The Astana Times |, March 28, 2022
Papua New Guinea abolishes death penalty
JURIST |, January 24, 2022
‘Just Mercy’ author urges Utah Legislature to abolish death penalty
Deseret News |, January 20, 2022
Macron calls for worldwide end to death penalty on 40th anniversary of French abolition
France 24 |, September 10, 2021
Virginia Becomes First Southern State to Abolish the Death Penalty
The New York Times |, March 24, 2021
Death penalty debate reemerges in Nevada after past stalls
Fox 5 (Las Vegas) |, March 24, 2021
Virginia becomes first state in US south to abolish death penalty
ALJAZEERA |, March 24, 2021
Abolish the federal death penalty
Chicago Sun-times |, March 01, 2021
Family members of murder victims speak out against the death penalty
KPVI News 6 |, March 01, 2021
Bill To Repeal Death Penalty Filed In Wyoming Legislature
Kgab |, March 01, 2021
State Senate Votes to Abolish Death Penalty
Newsradio 1140 WRVA |, February 04, 2021
Trump administration carries out 13th, final federal execution
Aljazeera |, January 16, 2021
A federal judge has granted a stay of execution for the only woman on federal death row pending a competency hearing
CNN |, January 12, 2021
Asian Nations Reject UN Vote Against Death Penalty
Human Rights Watch |, November 24, 2020
Holy See: ‘Death penalty the most shocking thing in the world
Vatican News |, October 10, 2020
Tunisia president calls for return of death penalty following brutal killing
The Guardian |, October 01, 2020
Kazakhstan takes important step towards abolishing death penalty
Amnesty Internatonal |, September 24, 2020
US Bishops stress opposition to death penalty
Independent Catholic News |, September 23, 2020
‘Travesty of justice’: Reaction to execution of Iranian wrestler
Aljazeera |, September 14, 2020
Unpacking public opinion on the death penalty
Asia Pacific Forum |, July 28, 2020
The Florida Supreme Court’s U-turn on the death penalty
Tampa Bay Times |, May 28, 2020
Man sentenced to death in Singapore via Zoom
BBC News |, May 20, 2020
Saudi Arabia ends death penalty for crimes committed by minors
The Guardian |, April 27, 2020
Catholic leaders praise abolition of death penalty in Colorado
CRUX |, March 25, 2020
Colorado Abolishes Death Penalty and Commutes Sentences of Death Row Inmates
The New York Times |, March 23, 2020
UK urged to act over men facing death in Egypt for alleged childhood crimes
The Guardian |, March 08, 2020
Berlin International Film Festival: Iranian film about executions wins top prize
BBC |, February 29, 2020
Trump condemned after claiming very powerful death penalty would reduce drug dealing
The Independent |, February 11, 2020
Outsourcing injustice: Guantanamo on the Euphrates
Al Jazeera News |, February 04, 2020
British Isis prisoners may end up in Iraq, where death sentences are handed down without due process
Independent |, February 02, 2020
Saudi Arabia executed record number of prisoners in 2019: Report
ABC News |, January 14, 2020
Death Sentence Overturned for Pervez Musharraf, Ex-Leader of Pakistan
The New York Times |, January 13, 2020
Japan executes foreigner for first time in a decade
Independent |, December 26, 2019
The Khashoggi verdict is exactly what impunity looks like. It must be denounced.
Agnes Callamard, Opinions, Washington Post |, December 24, 2019
5 foreigners in drug case could face death in Indonesia |, December 18, 2019
Pervez Musharraf: Pakistan ex-leader sentenced to death for treason
BBC News |, December 17, 2019
Botswana urged to abolish death penalty after latest execution
The Guardian |, December 09, 2019
I Oversaw Executions. We Cannot Resume the Federal Death Penalty
New York Times |, December 04, 2019
Americans Now Support Life in Prison Over Death Penalty
Gallup News |, November 25, 2019
UN criticizes Irans use of death penalty against minors
DW |, October 24, 2019
The Death Penalty for Drugs: What Public Opinion Surveys in Asia Teach Us
Giada Girelli, Filter Mag |, October 17, 2019
Malaysia: Unfair trials, secretive hangings and petty drug convictions reveal ‘cruel injustice’ of the death penalty
Amnesty International |, October 10, 2019
Against the death penalty: barrister Julian McMahon
ABC Radio |, July 25, 2019
Malaysia’s repeal of death penalty opens deep wounds, including that of Mongolian model murder
The Independent|, July 09, 2019
Why is Sri Lanka reinstating death penalty?
DW|, July 07, 2019
Debate on death penalty not very vigorous 1 year after Aum executions
Japan Today|, July 06, 2019
Prosecutor won’t seek death penalty in death of grandmother
News 4 Tucson|, July 06, 2019
SC issues Interim Order against death penalty
Daily FT|, July 06, 2019
Latter-day Saint Church defends involvement in death penalty case
Fox13 Salt Lake City|, July 06, 2019
Death penalty debate remains muted in Japan 1 year after AUM executions
Kyodo News|, July 05, 2019
Source: Govt will not table Bill to abolish death penalty this Parliament meeting
The Star|, July 05, 2019
The murder was caught on surveillance video. The accused now faces death if convicted
Miami Herald|, July 05, 2019
Sri Lanka- Supreme Court issues interim order against death penalty
MenaFN|, July 05, 2019
Jury to consider death penalty in Chinese scholar killing
Federal News Network|, July 05, 2019
As Malaysia eyes death penalty repeal, Al Jazeera documentary explores dilemma of capital punishment
Malay Mail|, July 04, 2019
Kentucky judge declares death penalty protocol unconstitutional
Crux Now|, July 04, 2019
Jose Martinez, The Hit Man Who Confessed To Killing Three Dozen People, Avoids The Death Penalty
BuzzFeed News|, July 03, 2019
Merced County DA is seeking the death penalty. And it could get costly, experts say
The Merced Sunstar|, July 03, 2019
Activists Hold Annual Fast Outside Supreme Court to Protest Death Penalty
Spektrum News|, July 02, 2019
Kentucky judge declares states death penalty protocol unconstitutional
The Courier Journal|, July 02, 2019
Lawmakers vote to substantially limit Oregon’s death penalty
Oregon Live|, June 29, 2019
Abolish the Death Penalty?
New York Times|, June 22, 2019
The Intercept|, June 18, 2019
In Los Angeles, only people of color are sentenced to death
The Guardian|, June 18, 2019
Poll finds Californians support the death penalty — and Newsom’s moratorium on executions
The LA Times|, June 17, 2019
Debunking the Court’s Latest Death-Penalty Obsession
The Atlantic|, June 17, 2019
Using Saudi death penalty vs. children is barbaric
CNN|, June 17, 2019
Reader reluctantly accepts governor’s death penalty moratorium
The LA Times|, June 14, 2019
Saudi Teenager Faces Death Sentence for Acts When He Was 10
New York Times|, June 09, 2019
GOP Lawmakers Are Quietly Turning Against the Death Penalty
The Atlantic|, June 07, 2019
Death knell: taking a stand to abolish capital punishment
Monash University |, February 26, 2019
Germany abolishes death penalty in public vote
Independent |, November 21, 2018
Pope Francis: ‘death penalty inadmissable’
Vatican News |, August 02, 2018
One Test Could Exonerate Him. Why Wont California Do It?
The New York Times|, May 17, 2018


Merced County DA is seeking the death penalty. And it could get costly, experts say

July 03, 2019, The Merced Sunstar

Here’s why prosecutors want to condemn this man to death

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office is pursuing the death penalty against convicted killer Santiago Martinez on new charges in a process that could take years and cost taxpayers, experts say. BY AKIRA OLIVIA KUMAMOTO

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office is pursuing the death penalty against a convicted killer who faces new charges of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy.

Santiago Martinez, an incarcerated 28-year-old man convicted in the 2010 Atwater slaying of Michael Ramirez, is considered the main suspect in the June 17, 2018, jailhouse death of Fabian Cardoza, a 20-year-old Modesto man who was awaiting a hearing on a robbery charge, according to Merced Superior Court documents.


If successful, it means Martinez would be placed on death row, waiting to be executed by the state. He would join Cuitlahuac Tahua “Tao” Rivera as the second Merced County native on death row.

Rivera has been incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison for more than a decade after being convicted of gunning down Merced police Officer Stephan Gray during a 2004 traffic stop.

The death penalty is an alternative to life in prison without the possibility of parole. And it’s often reserved for the most heinous criminals and crimes.

But prosecuting a case with the death penalty is often a lengthy and costly process, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a leading non-profit resource on the death penalty that also raises concerns about high rates of exoneration, racial disparities and evidence the death penalty doesn’t deter homicide rates.

Prosecutors first stated they would be seeking the death penalty during a March 15 hearing, according to court transcripts.

Martinez’s next hearing is on Sept. 10, according to court records.

Merced County District Attorney Kimberly Lewis said Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent moratorium on executions had no bearing on her office’s decision to try the death penalty.

Newsom signed an executive order on March 13 and announced no Californians would be put to death under the death penalty while he was in office, granting a temporary reprieve to 737 inmates on death row.

However, the current moratorium would likely not have an effect on Martinez’s case because experts say the case and appeal likely wouldn’t conclude before Newsom is out of office.

Newsom’s moratorium comes three years after California voters rejected Proposition 62, which would have repealed the death penalty. Lawmakers are currently introducing a constitutional amendment that would bypass voters.

Martinez’s attorney, Daniel Keith Martin of Ciummo and Associates, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.


Lewis declined to discuss the facts and circumstances of the case. But court documents lay out her office’s plans to use evidence and crimes Martinez has been convicted and accused of to support the death penalty case.

Along with Martinez’s “state of mind” during the alleged attack on Cardoza, Lewis’ office plans to bring up an alleged conspiracy to kill Alberto Santiago, Shawn Hunwardsen and Asuncion Rodriguez in May 2017.

The prosecution will also bring up Martinez’s attempted murder charge for a June 1, 2018, attack on Luis Prado, and Martinez’s conviction on an attempted murder charge during a prison assault on Jan. 13, 2014, in San Joaquin County, according to court documents.

The process of trying a case with the death penalty requires additional steps that result in additional legal costs for prosecutors, defense attorneys and the court, according to Elisabeth Semel, director of the Death Penalty Clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

The actual cost varies depending on the case and are hard to estimate, according to the DPIC. But a 2008 report by the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice conservatively estimated at least an additional $500,000 cost to adding the death penalty.

Lewis didn’t say whether she considered the increased cost of the death penalty case, instead stating, “The decision in the Martinez case was made based upon the facts and circumstances of the case, and (my office’s) assessment of the current law within the State of California.”

Lewis said the costs of the case are anticipated to be covered within the proposed budget for her office.


About half of death penalty cases end up being reviewed, Semel said. Cases can be in review for years and pull families of victims into “decades of uncertainty” because of the lengthy review process, she said.

Also, while several Californians are placed on death row every year, executions are rare. The last execution in the state was 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen in 2006.

Many die awaiting execution such as Merced County native Albert Ruiz, who was convicted in the 2002 murder and robbery of liquor store owner Abdo Muhammed and Antonio Cruz. The 51-year-old man died of natural causes in 2013, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Death row inmates and those who have been executed also are racially disproportionate, according to the DPIC. A 2005 California study found those convicted of killing white people were more than three times as likely to face the death penalty as those convicted of killing black people, and four times as likely as those convicted of killing Latinos.

Newsom, in his decision to institute the moratorium, also claimed the death penalty system discriminated against the mentally ill, adding the death penalty hasn’t made the state safer but has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.

The moratorium was a moral decision, Newsom said. Lewis declined to state her personal opinion on the death penalty.

“My personal, moral beliefs are of no matter and have no influence upon the charging decisions made by the District Attorney’s Office,” Lewis said. Newsom’s office didn’t return requests for comment on the Martinez case.

Lewis acknowledged she understood the deeper social issues involved in the debates on the death penalty.

“However, my role as District Attorney does not permit that kind of wider analysis when reviewing an active case,” Lewis said. “Rather, I and the office as a whole must limit our analysis to the current law, understanding it as the active expression of the societal beliefs of our state.

“In addition, by limiting our analysis to a consideration of the strength of evidence available in the case and application of the law in effect, we reduce or eliminate both the influence of racial bias and the likelihood of later exoneration,” Lewis said.

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