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62 posts tagged with capitalpunishment.
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If a process yields discrimination, then we need to examine the process.

Bias in the Box. "This is where Bryan Stevenson’s 'undeveloped understanding' comes into focus. A prosecutor may say with the utmost sincerity that he doesn’t exclude blacks [from a jury] because of their race, but because they or someone in their family has been a victim of discrimination, which leads them to distrust the system. Because of their experiences, they are believed to be less motivated to sentence someone to die and are therefore less desirable on a jury." (slVQR) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Oct 11, 2014 - 7 comments

I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious.

I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious. "Some people expect me to feel satisfied, or even happy. The truth is: I am angry. I am angry that we live in a world where two disabled boys can have their lives stolen from them, where cops can lie and intimidate with impunity, where innocent people can be condemned to die and where injustice is so difficult to bring to light. As I lie awake at night, mulling over the maddening details of this case, I wonder: How many more Henry McCollums are still imprisoned, waiting for help that will never come?" [more inside]
posted by scody on Sep 8, 2014 - 110 comments

"A system that serves no penological purpose... is unconstitutional."

A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose. Executions in California have already been on hold since 2006, due to problems with the procedures associated with lethal injection. If the ruling is upheld, California will join 18 other states (plus D.C.) that have abolished capital punishment. (Read the court's opinion here.)
posted by scody on Jul 16, 2014 - 46 comments

The eyes of Texas are upon you

The Gold Standard in Executions.
For two years now, Texas has used a single drug, the barbiturate pentobarbital, instead of the three-drug regimen used in neighboring Oklahoma. Prison administrators from other states often travel to Texas to learn how it performs lethal injections and to observe executions. Texas officials have provided guidance and, on at least a few occasions, carried out executions for other states.
posted by four panels on May 12, 2014 - 101 comments

State-Sponsored Horror in Oklahoma

At 6:36 p.m. on Tuesday in McAlester, Okla., Clayton Lockett started kicking his leg, then twitching, then writhing and moaning in agony, and everyone watching knew something had gone terribly wrong. Mr. Lockett, a convicted murderer, was strapped to a gurney in the death chamber of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, about to be executed by lethal injection, but the untested combination of a sedative and a paralyzing agent had failed. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on May 1, 2014 - 316 comments

What really happened at the lake that night?

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 - 18 comments

Forgive me for being longwinded, but I was speaking from the heart.

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 - 84 comments

Ohio executes inmate using untried, untested lethal injection method

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 - 292 comments

Larry Flynt, Activist:

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 - 42 comments

Awaken Human Nature and Perceive the Value of Life

For over five years, journalist and TV presenter Ding Yu headed up a  massively popular Chinese TV talk show. Every week, She would sit down with convicted murderers and interview them about their life and crimes, before they were taken out and put to death by either firing squad or lethal injection. The show, "Interviews Before Execution", was taken off the air in March 2012. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jul 24, 2013 - 18 comments

A Tale of Two Carlos

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 - 42 comments

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try again.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try again: black Mississippi man tried six times for the same crime.
posted by Evilspork on May 10, 2012 - 33 comments

"We thought we would empty death row, not triple its population."

"Each of us remains a staunch Republican conservative, but our perspectives on the death penalty have changed.... Each of us, independently, has concluded that the death penalty isn't working for California." The authors of California's Death Penalty Act of 1978, which expanded use of the death penalty in the state, have publicly endorsed the SAFE Initiative to abolish capital punishment in California. (Previously)
posted by scody on Feb 12, 2012 - 26 comments

The drop

Hanging With Frank - a 1997 short film portrait of a Glasgow prison's execution chamber and a man that worked there in the 50's.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 13, 2012 - 3 comments

Edison, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrocution

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 - 54 comments

"I decided that forgiveness was not enough."

"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 - 87 comments

"The thing I regret most that I cannot change -- except by what I do now -- was drafting the death penalty initiative."

"The way I look at it, what I created can and may already have resulted in the [execution] of an innocent person." Donald Heller is partly responsible for turning California's death row into the most populous and expensive in the nation. So why'd the lawyer known as "Mad Dog" change his mind?
posted by scody on Jul 16, 2011 - 24 comments

"Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history": Illinois abolishes the death penalty

IL Gov. Pat Quinn—formerly a strong supporter of capital punishment—today signed into law the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois. This comes eleven years after Gov. George Ryan—also a former supporter of capital punishment—signed a moratorium on the death penalty, commuting the sentences of 167 death row inmates to life (including ten men who had made false confessions under torture directed by police commander Jon Burge [previously here and here]). Between 1977 and 1999, Illinois executed 12 inmates, while freeing 13 innocent men from Death Row. [more inside]
posted by scody on Mar 9, 2011 - 42 comments

Let's Harvest the Organs of Death Row Inmates

Let's Harvest the Organs of Death Row Inmates [more inside]
posted by Daddy-O on Nov 13, 2010 - 100 comments

truth hangs by a hair

A DNA test has proven that a man was executed for murder by the State of Texas on the basis of false forensic evidence. [more inside]
posted by hat on Nov 12, 2010 - 99 comments

Timing is everything?

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 - 29 comments

"Today is a victory for every poor person": Jon Burge found guilty

It took a few decades, but today a federal jury has found former Chicago police commander Jon Burge guilty on all counts of perjury and obstruction of justice in covering up his knowledge of and participation in the systematic torture of suspects in the 1980s. (Previously.) [more inside]
posted by scody on Jun 28, 2010 - 26 comments

Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew.

Fun fact: Cannibals didn't necessarily boil people alive, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't been used as a form of execution. [Via AskMe.]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Mar 15, 2010 - 52 comments

21st century executions.

10 executions that defined the 2000s. Ten executions that most palpably captured the decade’s Zeitgeist. Some clips may be NSFW.
posted by stinkycheese on Jan 23, 2010 - 30 comments

All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you.

This past Tuesday, China executed Briton Akmal Shaikh for heroin smuggling, the first foreigner to be executed in China since Italian Antonio Riva was put to death in 1951. Shaikh's family, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and U.N. officials all had asked for clemency based on the fact the 53-year old, father-of-three Shaikh was a mentally ill person who believed he was a pop star on a mission for world peace and had been duped into being an unwitting drug mule. Nonetheless, regardless of international outcry, Shaikh was put to death. The outcry continues. A music video has been created for Shaikh's music single, Come Little Rabbit.
posted by humannaire on Dec 31, 2009 - 65 comments

Before Abu Ghraib, there was Area 2.

For nearly 20 years, Chicago has known about police torture of suspects. Torture at the city's notorious Area 2, under Commander Jon Burge, resulted in numerous false confessions in the 1980s, including the men who became known as the Death Row 10. The Death Row 10 case was among the reasons former Gov. George Ryan's called a moratorium on capital punishment in Illinois in 2000 and pardoned four in 2003. Burge, fired in 1993, retired to Florida on his police pension, where he seemed to escape any measure of justice. Until today. [more inside]
posted by scody on Oct 21, 2008 - 45 comments

Executed Today

Executed Today 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 - 19 comments

Texas, an American Leader

Texas definitely a leader among the states, now leading in exonerations in wrongful conviction cases and also a leader in executions. One hopes there isn't too much overlap.
posted by Bovine Love on Jan 3, 2008 - 114 comments

Iranian man stoned to death for adultery after serving 11-year prison sentence

Iranian man stoned to death for adultery after serving 11-year prison sentence. Unsuccessful, unofficial investigation here. Amnesty International pleads for life of his partner.
posted by shivohum on Jul 20, 2007 - 44 comments

Dark days for the death penalty

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 - 91 comments

Medication makes you feel better on death row

Steven Staley 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 - 68 comments

Singapore sling

At dawn on Friday Singapore time, young Australian Nguyen Tuong Van will be hanged by the State executioner, Darshan Singh. His sentencing has raised an extensive debate in Australia on the death penalty, on our regional relationships and the compassion of our fearless Rodent. Like virtually all advanced nations, Australia has generally held a principled stance against the death penalty, though filtered by realpolitik. Yet again, New Zealand is a bit more principled than us, of course. We would of course never protest to the US about its extensive use of the ultimate State sanction.
posted by wilful on Nov 29, 2005 - 100 comments

Man on death row wants to donate liver to dying sister

Man on death row wants to donate liver to dying sister. I think this opens up many questions and mucks up the waters if you are both pro life(viva Terri), and also support the death penalty. (first fpp)
posted by MrMulan on May 16, 2005 - 115 comments

Cruel and unusual?

The Lancet publishes a research letter that finds inadequate anaesthesia is used in executions by lethal injection
posted by magullo on Apr 15, 2005 - 40 comments

Another Fan Of Torture Reveals Himself

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 - 84 comments

the Guillotine Headquarters

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 some 3d
posted by hortense on Feb 22, 2005 - 6 comments

Jesus wasn't alone

Crucifixion in Antiquity. The Persians may have led the way, while 6,000 Spartacus followers lined the Appian Way. It was cruel, but common.
posted by F Mackenzie on Feb 26, 2004 - 24 comments

[Followup] Cooper granted stay of execution.

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 - 9 comments

You have the right to die

(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 - 29 comments

The Exonerated

The Exonerated
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 - 2 comments

the plot sickens

"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 - 15 comments

Affirmative Action applied to the Death Penalty?

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 - 33 comments

Three Supreme Court Justices publicy oppose executing teenage criminals.

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 - 49 comments

A U.S. District Court judge rules that the federal death penalty is unconstitutional.

A U.S. District Court judge rules that the federal death penalty is unconstitutional. In related news, the Washington Post reports that everyone's favorite cabinet member, Mr. Ashcroft, has been pushing for the death penalty in federal cases and "frequently overruling his own prosecutors in the process". Here we go...
posted by gimonca on Jul 1, 2002 - 68 comments

God's Justice and Ours.

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 - 28 comments

Even if it works, using the detah penalty as deterrent is morally flawed

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 - 45 comments

"The Texas conveyor belt of death rolls on.

"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."

Ha! 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 - 124 comments

England vs. USA

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 - 7 comments

Drop in US Executions

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 - 18 comments

Court rules U.S. broke rights laws

Court rules U.S. broke rights laws The world court has ruled the U.S. ignored the international legal rights of two German-born brothers who were executed for murder. More excecution controversy.
posted by adnan on Jun 29, 2001 - 22 comments

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