The Murders at The Lake.
"In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 19, 2014 -
As Gawker has done for a couple years now, they sent letters to all the U.S. death row inmates who have execution dates in the upcoming year. Texas inmate Ray Jasper, who is set to be executed later this month, responded with an incredible letter
on his thoughts about the US justice system, race, Christianity, and society as a whole.
posted by gman
on Mar 5, 2014 -
On Thursday morning, Ohio executed
Dennis McGuire for the 1989 rape and murder of Joy Stewart. However, due to an embargo on the common used lethal injection drug pentobarbital, the state used an untried combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a morphine derivative, for the execution. The procedure took 24 minutes
, during which McGuirse was reported to have been "choking and snorting" and was described as "horrific"
. [more inside]
posted by I am the Walrus
on Jan 17, 2014 -
Don't Execute the Man Who Paralyzed Me
"I would love an hour in a room with him and a pair of wire-cutters and pliers, so I could inflict the same damage on him that he inflicted on me. But, I do not want to kill him, nor do I want to see him die."
posted by maggieb
on Oct 17, 2013 -
Los Tocayos Carlos
- a comprehensive investigation by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students which uncovers evidence that Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989, was innocent. The issue of The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, entirely dedicated to this investigation, is available at this website
posted by Gyan
on May 14, 2012 -
When New York State sentenced convicted murderer William Kemmler to death, he was slated to become the first man to be executed in an electric chair. Killing criminals with electricity “is a good idea,” Edison said at the time. “It will be so quick that the criminal can’t suffer much.” He even introduced a new word to the American public, which was becoming more and more concerned by the dangers of electricity. The convicted criminals would be “Westinghoused.”
posted by monju_bosatsu
on Oct 12, 2011 -
"I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11." Rais Bhuiyan
petitions the state of Texas to stay
the execution of a white supremacist who shot him and murdered two others in a hate-motivated crime
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Jul 18, 2011 -
With "support for the death penalty in excess of 85% [of the population]", there is normally little fuss in Japan each time the announcement is made that convicted murderers from death row have been hanged (such announcements are only made after
each execution.) But last Wednesday, the disclosure that two executions had taken place early that morning did
raise eyebrows - for two reasons. Justice Minister Keiko Chiba held a press conference to make the announcement
, and added that - in a 'first' for a Japanese Justice Minister - she herself had attended the execution as a witness, after signing the authorization for it to proceed. But what has really caused a firestorm of protest
is the fact that although she lost her Parliamentary seat in last month's election, she "has remained in her ministerial post at the request of Prime Minister Naoto Kan". She is a private citizen.
posted by woodblock100
on Jul 31, 2010 -
offers "each day the story of an historical execution that took place on this date, and the story behind it."
posted by Knappster
on Aug 12, 2008 -
This year, Maryland has been on a path to become the first state to abolish capital punishment,
and a bill to repeal the death penalty will be voted on in committee within days. Exonerated death row inmates
have been campaigning fervently in support of the bill (including Kirk Bloodsworth, a Marylander who was the first death row inmate ever to be proven innocent by DNA)--and the exonerated are joined by a gamut of other voices that one might not normally expect in the debate. Murder victim family members
are vocally supporting abolition. Law enforcement officials
, including prosecutors, wardens and police chiefs, are vocally supporting abolition. The Baltimore city council – which presides over the lion’s share of Maryland’s violent crime -- is unanimously in support of abolition
. Even Maryland's governor, Martin O’Malley, has taken a bold stance in support of abolishing executions, going so far as to publish an op-ed, "Why I Oppose the Death Penalty,"
in the Washington Post on the day of the abolition bill’s hearings in Annapolis. And, last but not least, the public is more than 60% in support of replacing the death penalty with life without parole
So why are so many legislators still supporting death penalty
Even if the bill doesn’t pass in this session, it seems like Governor O’Malley has nothing to worry about
for having come out ahead of the legislature on this issue. It’s the legislatures—in Maryland and elsewhere—that are falling behind, as the entire country backs steadily away from capital punishment
posted by snortlebort
on Mar 15, 2007 -
was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1991. A few days before his execution in February, he was granted a stay
because he was found to be incompetent, a paranoid schizophrenic. Today, the judge has ordered that he be forced to take his medication
so he can be legally put to death.
posted by Roger Dodger
on Apr 12, 2006 -
Another Fan Of Torture Reveals Himself
Eugene Volokh, a former clerk to Justice O'Connor and a leading voice in conservative legal circles has some interesting opinions on punishment:
[T]hough for many instances I would prefer less painful forms of execution, I am especially pleased that the killing — and, yes, I am happy to call it a killing, a perfectly proper term for a perfectly proper act — was a slow throttling, and was preceded by a flogging. The one thing that troubles me (besides the fact that the murderer could only be killed once) is that the accomplice was sentenced to only 15 years in prison, but perhaps there's a good explanation.
posted by expriest
on Mar 17, 2005 -
the Guillotine Headquarters
Everything you ever wanted to know about this machine. From
its evolution in the mist of history, to 1977, when it was last used in france.
many photos some flash
posted by hortense
on Feb 22, 2005 -
Convicted killer wins stay.
The 9th Circuit Court feels that justice would be better served by being more sure that Cooper is actually guilty of the 4 murders he was sentenced to die for (followed from here
). Considering the amount of controversy over evidence handling in this case, I think that they're right.
posted by Dipsomaniac
on Feb 9, 2004 -
(NYT) The death row trifecta: juvenile, retarded and ... proved innocent by DNA testing
But unlike other trifectas, this one will not necessarily get you off the hook. Never mind that the real perpetrator has been identified (due to his prison yard bragging initially and through a DNA perfect match later). One of the great problems of the American criminal justice system is that once an innocent person is trapped in the system, it's extremely difficult to get him — or her — extricated.
posted by magullo
on Jul 14, 2003 -
Want to see some great theater and learn a bit about our great system of justice and capital punishment? Then The Exonerated
may be the show for you.The other night I went to see The Exonerated, which has been playing Off Broadway since last fall and is also appearing in theaters around the country this year. Composed wholly from court records and interviews by playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, this documentary drama recounts true tales of horror from the American criminal-justice system. The actors sit downstage and read their parts as the stories of six innocent citizens condemned to death row unfold. If this sounds like a worthy endeavor, it is; if it sounds dull or didactic, it isn’t.
posted by nofundy
on Jul 3, 2003 -
"Mr. Banks, a man with no prior criminal record, is most likely innocent of the charge that put him on death row. Fearing a tragic miscarriage of justice, three former federal judges (including William Sessions, a former director of the F.B.I.) have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to block Wednesday's execution."So far, no one seems to be listening." [via atrios]
posted by donkeyschlong
on Mar 11, 2003 -
A report commissioned by outgoing Maryland governor Parris Glendening has found interesting racial disparities in the death penalty
: although it appears the race of the defendant
is irrelevant individually in the application of capital punishment, such is is not the case when one weighs in the race of the victim
of a crime, in which the killing of a white person by a black person nearly doubles the likelihood of the defendant receiving the death penalty, "primarily because they are substantially more likely to be charged by the state's attorney with a capital offense."
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Jan 7, 2003 -
Three Supreme Court Justices publicy oppose executing teenage criminals.
In a rare move, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens made a public statement in a delay request to state their opposition to executing someone who committed murder before the age of 18. With the Court already banning the execution of the mentally retarded this year, is this another sign of a soon-to-be next step in the abolishment of the death penalty? Or does the average American still believe that regardless of what time, when you do the crime you walk the line?
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Aug 30, 2002 -
God's Justice and Ours.
Justice Antonin Scalia writes on capital punishment in First Things
: "In my view, the major impetus behind modern aversion to the death penalty is the equation of private morality with governmental morality. This is a predictable (though I believe erroneous and regrettable) reaction to modern, democratic self–government.
posted by Ty Webb
on Jun 12, 2002 -
Even if it works, using the detah penalty as deterrent is morally flawed
The mere fact that an orthodontist in Cleveland feels more anxious about crime shouldn't make the state more "right" to take a life. And, if you are in favor of the death penalty, the mere fact that the same orthodontist feels comfortable leaving his door unlocked shouldn't mean that a murderer should pay less of a price for killing a child.
posted by magullo
on May 24, 2002 -
"The Texas conveyor belt of death rolls on.
Against international law, three Texas inmates face imminent execution for murders committed when they were children. Since 1998, Texas has killed five child offenders - people who were under 18 at the time of the crimes. If Napoleon Beazley, TJ Jones and Toronto Patterson are put to death on 28 May, 8 August, and 28 August respectively, Texas will have executed as many child offenders in a four-month period as Iran, the next worst perpetrator outside the USA, has carried out in the whole of the past decade."
Yet another area where them loser Axis of Evil® fellas ain't up to the standards of the good ol' U.$. of A.
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on May 20, 2002 -
England vs. USA
Over the death penalty. Initially I felt like saying "butt out" but America tends to get involved in other countries when our citizens are in trouble (like that kid in Singapore way back).
posted by owillis
on Sep 10, 2001 -
Drop in US Executions
-- I wonder if Dubya's distraction last year (the campaign) and his subsequent move to the White House has had anything to do with this. Then again, some of it may be attributable to DNA evidence.
posted by fpatrick
on Sep 6, 2001 -
Death with Commercials
is how the ever apposite Frank Rich
sums up the media-saturated McVeigh execution, the ultimate reality show.
Rich thinks all the hoopla my have served to turn more people away from punishment by death.
posted by caraig
on Jun 23, 2001 -
Policy or Parody?
A group calling itself "Citizens for Capital Punishment" ran an ad in the Terre Haute paper (both the NYT and the WP rejected it) showing a family watching the McVeigh execution on television and cheering. This seems too far over the top to be a real pro-death-penalty piece, but if it's satire, the creators are playing it straight. [via Media News]
posted by harmful
on Jun 19, 2001 -
"..this vengeance, this rage, isn't helping us one bit."
The father of one of the victims of the Oklahoma bombing speaks out about why he's forgiven Tim McVeigh. The article also talks about the social pressure on Oklahomans who are against the death penalty and a Colorado politician who's upset because the killer of his aunt failed to apologize before his execution.
posted by jeannepickering
on May 7, 2001 -
TV to Air Death Chamber Tapes
"The tapes were recorded by prison staff and document the events taking place in the execution chamber as narrated by prison officials witnessing the event. The descriptions follow the procedure from the securing of the prisoner to the electric chair to the pronouncement of the time of death and the removal of the prisoner's body from 23 executions. All the tapes are public record".
posted by matteo
on May 2, 2001 -