March 21


MARYLAND:

Decision Could Come Soon On MD Death Penalty


A decision could be made on the death penalty in Maryland soon. A Senate
committee is scheduled to take a vote on a bill to replace the death
penalty with life without parole.

The same committee could also approve a bill to study if the death penalty
should be repealed. A moratorium on executions is in place until Lawmakers
take up execution protocols.

(source: WMDT News)






CONNECTICUT:

Legislators consider bill denouncing state's witch hunts


Why Mary Sanford was convicted of witchcraft in Colonial Connecticut
remains a mystery nearly 350 years later. Ancestors and historians only
have the official verdict: she deserved to die for consorting with Satan
and using supernatural powers against unnamed others.

Today, descendants of Sanford and others convicted of witchcraft by
Colonial magistrates and juries are petitioning the legislature to clear
the names of their ancestors.

"Whether or not they thought it was right or wrong at the time, or whether
it was legal or illegal then, we still know now it was wrong," 14-year-old
Addie Avery told state lawmakers.

Avery, a ninth-generation great grandchild of Sanford from Washington,
Conn., testified Thursday before the Judiciary Committee.

The committee had a hearing on a resolution that proposes to acknowledge
the injustices visited upon men and women accused of practicing witchcraft
in Colonial Connecticut.

"It is never too late to right a wrong," said Sen. Andrew W. Roraback,
R-Goshen, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Colonial courts conducted witch trials between 1647 and 1697 in
Connecticut, according to legislature's research office. However, no
alleged witches were executed after 1662.

Historians are unsure of how many witch trials there were because many
court records have been lost or destroyed. One historical account
identified nearly four dozen accused witches.

9 women and 2 men were publicly hanged here for witchcraft, said Lawrence
B. Goodheart, a professor history at the University of Connecticut.

The state government today can't pardon the unfortunate Colonials
convicted of the witchcraft. The resolution in the legislature expresses
regrets for the witch trials and executions.

The legislation calls the trials and executions shocking and the result of
hysteria and fear. It says no disgrace should attach to the descendants of
the people accused and convicted of witchcraft.

(source: The Republican American)






SOUTH DAKOTA:

Vigil against capital punishment is today


The 11th annual Good Friday vigil against the death penalty is set for
noon to 1 p.m. today at the state penitentiary.

The event, hosted by the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center, will be
near the flagpole at the entrance to the Jamison Annex, just north of the
main prison.

The service includes a homily by the Rev. Peter Holland, songs and a
remembrance ceremony for victims of murder and those on death row.

South Dakota executed its 1st inmate in 60 years last July when Elijah
Page was killed by lethal injection.

3 other men remain on death row in the state: Donald Moeller, Charles
Rhines and Briley Piper.

(source: Sioux Falls Argus Leader)






VERMONT:

Another Death Sentence in Vermont?


A New York man will be arraigned Friday for killing another man, and he
may face capital murder charges.

Prosecutors claim 35-year-old Roger Aletras and 25-year-old Kevin Arkeneau
traveled from the New York City area to a South Burlington hotel in 2002,
where they allegedly robbed 2 other people of 50 pounds of marijuana and a
car.

The indictment claims Aletras shot Arkeneau to death the next day in New
York.

Vermont does not have the death penalty. But since the case is being
prosecuted here by the federal government, because it is where the crime
spree started, if convicted, Aletras could be put to death.

The decision on whether to seek the death penalty against Aletras will be
made by U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

(source: WCAX news)




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