In March of 2011, 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez was taken into an interview room at a Jacksonville, Florida, police station and interrogated by Michelle Soehlig, a ponytailed female officer. Before Soehlig began questioning him, she told the child, “These are your constitutional rights,” and slid over a document listing the Miranda warnings, familiar to anyone who’s seen an episode of Law & Order. [more inside]
Keiko Horikawa is a Japanese freelance journalist whose work, unknown in English translation until now, deals with the value of life and the weight of death. Her two subjects are the death penalty and the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, which has gained new urgency as bomb survivors, the hibakusha, die out after 70 years. Here is a translation of an event promoting her book about the Genbaku Kuyoto, the mound containing the unclaimed remains of approximately 70,000 bomb victims, and her effort to reunite the 815 identified remains with their families.
David Dow is an attorney and law professor in Texas who has represented over 100 death row clients. He has been suspended by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for missing an appeals filing deadline...or did he? [more inside]
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]
The Last Meals Project Every prisoner waiting to be executed is granted a last meal. Prisoners waiting to die choose their last meal for different reasons. Here's a list of exonerated death-row prisoners.
176 Horn Lane, Acton, London, probably isn't an address you think of when it comes to death sentences in Arizona and California. It is the home of a small driving school. And Dream Pharma, a mom and pop pharmaceutical wholesaler. [more inside]
A new study of death penalty deterrence by researchers from Sam Houston State University and Duke University suggests that there is a decline in murders in the month of or after executions. Meanwhile, Kenneth Mosley became the 448th inmate executed in Texas since 1982 on January 7th, 2010. (Last link: previously, previously and previously)
In 1947, Thomas Ley, a virulently sectarian, pro-hanging Australian politician, died in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, where he had been sent after being sentenced to death for murder. It was probably not his first.
The Supreme Court today issued a one line statement refusing to hear Troy Davis' appeal. Troy Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of a police officer in Savannah, GA, and sentenced to death solely on eyewitness testimony. No murder weapon or any physical evidence linked him to the crime. Since the conviction, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted or changed their stories, and one of the two who haven't changed their stories is the other suspect in the case. Things were looking good for Davis when the Supreme Court issued a stay two hours before his execution last month. Justice may really be dead in this country.
"Tim Kaine says Adolf Hitler doesn't qualify for the death penalty." Or so say Republican campaign ads supporting Jerry Kilgore, Virginia's attorney general, in his bid to become that state's new governor. Tim Kaine, the Democratic lieutenant governor, says his moral objections to capital punishment are rooted in his Roman Catholic faith. "Solidly pro-life" Jim Kilgore, endorsed by the Virginia Society for Human Life and National Right to Life political action committees, accuses Kaine of being an "anti-death penalty activist who cannot be trusted to oversee the death penalty in Virginia." This is important to Virginians. Based on the number of executions carried out under the post Furman laws, Virginians are second only to Texans in their fondness for execution. As attorney general, Kilgore tried to expand the kinds of crimes that would be eligible for the death penalty. Tim Kaine reassured voters, "That's why I personally oppose the death penalty. But I take my oath of office seriously, and I'll enforce the death penalty . . . because it's the law."
There are some questions that social scientists should be able to answer. Either executing people cuts the homicide rate or it does not. A fascinating look into statistics and the death penalty.
Four California activists were arrested Tuesday while protesting the case of Kevin Cooper, set to be executed in less than a week. Gov. Schwarzenegger denied a clemency hearing for Cooper (the first time such a hearing was denied since California re-instituted the death penalty in 1978), despite ample evidence shedding doubt not only on the fairness of Cooper's trial, but also his alleged guilt. Kevin Cooper is asking people to protest for his life.