140 posts tagged with deathpenalty.
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we just make a little money and we buy a little mercy

"I think there are different kinds of mercy: big Mercy and little mercy. Big Mercy is so big because it is made out of suffering and ultimatums, out of saviors and omnipotence, and out of stories that have only one way of ending, which are brutal and where almost nobody wins... But maybe there's another kind of mercy—mercy so little that it costs almost nothing. So little most of us never notice it." [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 5, 2015 - 13 comments

Richard Glossip is scheduled to be executed in 2 days and 4 hours.

The Marshall Project couldn't find any tools providing detailed information on upcoming executions. So they built one. The Next to Die defaults to showing the next scheduled execution in the United States, but users can also browse by specific state (including Missouri, where execution rates are surging) and, from the intro page, view racial and method-of-execution breakdowns for executions to date.
posted by Shepherd on Sep 14, 2015 - 9 comments

acting as their ghostly embodiments

In 1988, he was convicted of killing his stepsons—based on arson science we now know is bunk. A quarter of a century later, Texas granted him a new trial. While the state has not budged in its use of the death penalty—just last year topping 500 executions since the state brought back capital punishment in 1982—it has reinvented itself as a leader in arson science and investigation. A new fire marshal, Chris Connealy, revamped the state’s training and investigative standards. He also set up a panel comprised of some of the top fire scientists in the country to reconsider old cases that had been improperly handled by the original investigators. Graf’s case was one of the first up for review, and it was determined that the original investigators had made critical mistakes.
posted by bq on Aug 16, 2015 - 44 comments

Struck by Lightning

This morning, The New Yorker's Rachel Aviv exposed the case of Louisiana death row inmate Rodricus Crawford, a possibly innocent 23 year old man prosecuted by notorious Caddo Parish assistant district attorney Dale Cox; at the same time, the Supreme Court refused to halt lethal injections in Oklahoma (or, as some had hoped, nationwide) and recently exonerated and freed former death row inmate Glenn Ford lost his life to lung cancer. [more inside]
posted by sallybrown on Jun 29, 2015 - 62 comments

The Burnout

Missouri keeps killing Jennifer Herndon’s clients. So she invented an alternate life.
posted by anotherpanacea on Jun 8, 2015 - 16 comments

Nebraska makes 19

Nebraska is the 19th U.S. state to repeal the death penalty. [more inside]
posted by duffell on May 27, 2015 - 48 comments

"You don't want a criminal lawyer. You want a *criminal* lawyer."

The New Mexico Law Review just published an issue dedicated entirely to Breaking Bad. It features eight articles that analyze the illegal acts committed on the show, their real-world parallels, and the consequences attached:
Given the array of legal issues raised, our editorial board was excited to take the opportunity to present analysis of Breaking Bad by scholars and legal practitioners. In April 2014 we issued a call for papers requesting abstracts on topics including the application of the Fourth Amendment to drug crimes under the New Mexico and/or U.S. Constitutions; the War on Drugs; ethical duties of lawyers; drug-offense sentencing; drug enforcement in rural, urban, and/or Tribal areas; and substance abuse and the law.
Some of the greatest legal minds in New Mexico (and the country) came together to examine how Walter White would look to a jury, how the war on drugs affects peripheral citizens like Skyler, and whether Heisenberg could have stayed legit by fighting for his stake in Grey Matter in the courts. [via] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 19, 2015 - 25 comments

Jury Sentences Boston Marathon Bomber to Death

The jury deliberating the fate of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev announced Friday that he will be sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 2013 attack. The decision in the penalty phase of his trial came after just over 14 hours of deliberations. He was convicted last month of all 30 federal charges against him, 17 of which carried the possibility of the death penalty. [more inside]
posted by kinetic on May 16, 2015 - 290 comments

Portrait of the Artist

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Has the Most Ferocious Lawyer in America Defending Him. Judy Clarke, the publicity-shy anti-death-penalty attorney, has defended the Unabomber, Susan Smith, and Jared Loughner, and successfully spared them capital punishment.
posted by likeatoaster on Apr 1, 2015 - 232 comments

"Sheer Political Retribution"

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]
posted by Blue Jello Elf on Mar 22, 2015 - 16 comments

"I was not a very nice person and I had no business trying a death case"

And yet, despite this grave injustice, the state does not accept any responsibility for the damage suffered by one of its citizens. The bureaucratic response appears to be that nobody did anything intentionally wrong, thus the state has no responsibility. This is nonsensical. Explain that position to Mr. Ford and his family. Facts are stubborn things, they do not go away. The Louisiana prosecutor who helped send Glenn Ford to prison for 30 years, for a murder he did not commit, apologizes at length and slams the state for refusing to pay compensation after Ford was finally freed in 2014. [Note: autoplaying video] [more inside]
posted by maudlin on Mar 20, 2015 - 42 comments

"I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for."

The Marshall Project launched Sunday to provide "high-quality journalism about the American criminal justice system" and "amplify the national conversation about criminal justice." Helmed by Bill Keller, their first investigative piece was published in August and their second in October, but today they have several new feature pieces: Obama's Prison Crisis, Waiting for Ferguson, Right and Left Unite on Drug Sentencing. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, The Men Who Should Have Been Free, Eric Holder on His Legacy, His Regrets, and His Feelings About the Death Penalty, and Dying in Attica. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 18, 2014 - 5 comments

Is Texas getting ready to kill an innocent man?

Eleven years before he raped and threatened to kill Lear, Fennell’s own fiancee, 19-year-old Stacy Stites, was found brutally murdered along a country road in Bastrop, Texas. That crime eventually sent a man to death row. His name is Rodney Reed—and he is scheduled to die in January. Lear, like many people who have followed the case in Texas —believe that Reed is innocent. And they believe that the real killer is Jimmy Fennell.

Is Texas about to execute an African-American man for a crime seemingly committed by a white rapist police officer?
The Intercept (previously on MeFi) reports.
posted by anemone of the state on Nov 17, 2014 - 48 comments

How bad lawyering and an unforgiving law cost death row inmates

Death by deadline.
posted by T.D. Strange on Nov 16, 2014 - 9 comments

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

"The Witness"

Michelle Lyons has witnessed 278 executions in Texas, first in her role as a reporter, and then as part of her job in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Texas Monthly has a long, fascinating profile.
posted by Charity Garfein on Aug 26, 2014 - 24 comments

terrible consequences . . . the execution of an innocent man

Fresh doubts over Cameron Todd Willingham's execution (Previously) For more than 20 years, the prosecutor who convicted Cameron Todd Willingham of murdering his three young daughters has insisted that the authorities made no deals to secure the testimony of the jailhouse informer who told jurors that Willingham confessed the crime to him. Since Willingham was executed in 2004, officials have continued to defend the account of the informer, Johnny E. Webb, even as a series of scientific experts have discredited the forensic evidence that Willingham might have deliberately set the house fire in which his toddlers were killed. But now new evidence has revived questions about Willingham’s guilt: In taped interviews, Webb, who has previously both recanted and affirmed his testimony, gives his first detailed account of how he lied on the witness stand in return for efforts by the former prosecutor, John H. Jackson, to reduce Webb’s prison sentence for robbery and to arrange thousands of dollars in support from a wealthy Corsicana rancher. Newly uncovered letters and court files show that Jackson worked diligently to intercede for Webb after his testimony and to coordinate with the rancher, Charles S. Pearce Jr., to keep the mercurial informer in line.
posted by daHIFI on Aug 4, 2014 - 143 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 Patron Saint of Defense Attorneys

Ted Kaczynski. Jared Lee Loughner. Eric Rudolph. Susan Smith. And now, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They all stood (or stand) accused of committing heinous crimes. They all faced (or face) the death penalty. And they all have something- or rather, someone- else in common. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Jul 1, 2014 - 17 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

Forty-three Werner Herzog films that can be streamed

Inside, please find a list of forty-three movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Werner Herzog, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. One or two of the films are in German without subtitles; this is noted in the description. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on May 4, 2014 - 65 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

Stuff White People Like

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 - 145 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

Black Is the Day, Black Is the Night

Artist Amy Elkinsbegan corresponding in 2009 with prisoners on death row in California. Of the seven men with whom Elkins made contact in June 2009, she remains in touch with only one, Freddy, who has been held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay since 1995, when he was 16 years of age. Freddy has been incarcerated since he was 13. Parting Words is "a visual archive of the 500+ prisoners to date executed in the state of Texas."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 7, 2014 - 5 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

Lost Words in the Chamber

Lost Words in the Chamber. "This blog will post the last words of criminals executed in the United States, starting with Texas, the state with the highest annual number of executions." Via NYT.
posted by milquetoast on Jul 1, 2013 - 15 comments

Prop 34

Among the ballot initiatives up for consideration on Tuesday is California's Proposition 34, which would eliminate the death penalty in favor of life imprisonment without parole. If successful, this measure would make California the 18th state to abolish capital punishment, following Connecticut's April 2012 abolition. It would also apply retroactively to the 727 people currently on death row in the state, the most of any state in the country by nearly 100%. While support has been increasing for Prop 34, as many as 17% of California voters remain undecided. [more inside]
posted by likeatoaster on Nov 4, 2012 - 135 comments

The happiest man on death row

Joe Arridy didn't ask for a last meal. It's doubtful that he even understood the concept.
An article (one page print version) in Denver Westword News by Alan Prendergast recounts the life of Joe Arridy (1915 - 1939), his conviction and execution and Robert Perske's later investigation of the case. Perske has documented many cases of innocent people with mental disabilities being coerced into confessions, and he considers the case of Joe Arridy the most telling. [more inside]
posted by tykky on Sep 25, 2012 - 19 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

"The stories of these cases are very painful."

This is an animated documentary about Mohammad Mostafaei who is an Iranian lawyer in exile in Norway. Mostafaei specialized in advocating for defendants who faced the death penalty and the animation focuses on one of these cases, that of Behnoud Shojaee. The animation features Paul Bettany reading Mostafaei's words, is a part of Amnesty International's campaign against the death penalty.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 28, 2012 - 3 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

Interpol supports death penalty for tweets

Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari was arrested in Kuala Lumpur and deported to Saudi Arabia for at the behest of Interpol. Mr. Kashgari faces the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for a series of tweets insulting the prophet Muhammad, including 'I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you I will not pray for you.' (BBC, Al Jazeera) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Feb 12, 2012 - 59 comments

"a killing spree of staggering proportions"

Amnesty International believes that Iran has executed at least 600 people in 2011 in what it calls "a killing spree of staggering proportions". [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 22, 2012 - 67 comments

Those without the capital get the punishment

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 - 31 comments

The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark

The EFF's Year End Review   The ACLU's This Year in Civil Liberties   Amnesty International's Anual Report (video) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 25, 2011 - 11 comments

Now what am I going to do with all these signs

After almost 30 years of appeals and legal maneuvering, Philadelphia prosecutors have abandoned attempts to impose the death penalty on Mumia Abu-Jamal for killing police office Daniel Faulkner in December 1981. Background, previously.
posted by anigbrowl on Dec 7, 2011 - 56 comments

"...compromised and inequitable..."

Governor John Kitzhaber halts all executions in Oregon [more inside]
posted by OverlappingElvis on Nov 22, 2011 - 49 comments

Troy Davis execution imminent

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 - 432 comments

They hanged him down by the river.

Seventy-five years ago today, Rainey Bethea was the last person to be publicly executed in the U.S. [more inside]
posted by longsleeves on Aug 11, 2011 - 44 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

Lonely Last Suppers

The last meals of executed prisoners - photographs of the final choices of death row inmates.
posted by mdn on Jan 20, 2011 - 75 comments

A strange social fact that stands in need of explanation

The death penalty in America is “a strange social fact that stands in need of explanation.” John Paul Stevens served as Associate Supreme Court Justice from 1975 to 2010 and became a beacon for progressive and liberals. Here he writes on the death penalty, reviewing David Garland’s new book Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition.
posted by JL Sadstone on Dec 15, 2010 - 55 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

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