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 -
Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty
"According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 55% of U.S. adults say they favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. A significant minority (37%) oppose the practice.
While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, public opinion in favor of capital punishment has seen a modest decline..."
Jamelle Bouie at Slate notes
that , "Nearly twice as many whites as blacks favor the death penalty. There is a simple, and disturbing, reason why" and blames racism. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest
on Mar 31, 2014 -
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 -
All this brings me to an Indian I want you to know better than his jury did—Douglas Ray Stankewitz, the longest tenured inmate on California’s death row. Like most Indians who find themselves in a group of non-Indians, he is currently known as Chief, but unlike many Indians, he is proud of the nickname.
The government wants to kill Chief because Theresa Greybeal was shot dead in the course of a robbery by a group of people high on heroin, and there is no question that Chief was one of them. There is a serious question about who pulled the trigger, and juries are reluctant to kill individuals who did not pull the trigger. But as far as his jury knew, Douglas Stankewitz pulled the trigger. And he might have, but we will never know, based on his trial.
posted by latkes
on Jan 15, 2012 -
In 1991, Troy Davis
was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted
all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array
of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today
, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles
denied clemency; barring action
from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed
by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94
on Sep 20, 2011 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
Killer to be executed
even though victim's mother requested a commuted sentence to life imprisonment. Shouldn't family members of the victim have some sort of say in whether a convicted killer should be executed or not? Especially when they are against
the execution of the perpetrator?
Just an add-on toThe Texas Conveyor Belt of Death
thread from yesterday.
posted by da5id
on May 21, 2002 -
Life, not Death
for Ms. Yates. And, Texas doesn't have a no-parole sentence, so she'll be eligible for release. Where does she go from there?
posted by dwivian
on Mar 15, 2002 -