Saturday, 14 May 2011

Kindler and Death Row

Joseph Kindler's name is well known to those who follow capital punishment case law. Convicted of murder in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death, he managed to escape and flee to Canada. There he challenged his extradition, losing by a four to three vote in the Supreme Court of Canada. Ten years later, in Burns & Rafay, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed the precedent it had set in 1991. Kindler's lawyer contested the Supreme Court decision before the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The Committee issued an interim order to Canada so that he would not be sent to the United States pending the consideration of the application, but Canada defied the request. The Minister of Justice at the time said that she would provide an explanation, but one was never forthcoming. Kindler lost before the Human Rights Committee a few years later. But that decision was also reversed by the Committee a decade hence, in Judge v. Canada. Kindler seems still to be alive and well. His death sentence was set aside a few days ago in a ruling of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, on remand from the Supreme Court of the United States.
Thanks to Mark Warren.

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