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Anna
Arceneaux
Reporting from Guantánamo: Leaving the Constitution on the Mainland

Reporting from Guantánamo: Leaving the Constitution on the Mainland

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 4:15pm
This week I am in Guantánamo Bay observing a hearing in the case of Abd al-Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri (pronounced al-NAH-shiri), the first death penalty case to be tried by military commission. Mr. al-Nashiri faces charges for his alleged participation in the attack on the destroyer USS Cole over 11 years ago. Apprehended in 2002, he was held by the CIA for four years in secret before his transfer to military custody. U.S. officials brutally tortured Mr. al-Nashiri: he was waterboarded, and threatened with a power drill and handgun next to his head. Sadly, this week's pretrial hearing in his case continues to erode the commission's purported commitment to fairness, transparency, and justice and instead affirms a commitment to Guantánamo's shameful legacy of injustice.

Death Penalty Decline Continues

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:02pm

As 2011 comes to end, we’re taking a look back at the year in criminal justice. Over the next few days, we’ll run a series of blog posts on the developments, good and bad, that have shaped our justice system – from overincarceration…

Alabama Court Recognizes Miscarriage of Justice for ACLU Client

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:43pm

On September 30, 2011, a unanimous Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a new trial for ACLU client Montez Spradley. Spradley, a young African-American man, has always maintained his innocence in the 2004 murder of a 58-year-old white grandmother…

Racial Inequities Live On in Georgia

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 4:38pm

Twenty years ago this week, Warren McCleskey, an African-American man convicted of killing a white police officer in Atlanta, was executed in the state of Georgia. His case became famous for highlighting the gross racial discrimination in Georgia's…

Louisiana Supreme Court Sees Problems with the Confederate Flag, but Allows it to Wave for Now

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:35pm

In 1951, in response to the burgeoning civil rights movement, Caddo Parish, Louisiana defiantly raised a Confederate flag outside the entrance to its courthouse. It flies there today.

In 2009, long-time Caddo Parish resident Carl Staples,…

Prosecutors Delay Historic Racial Justice Act Hearing

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project & Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:17pm

More than two years after the North Carolina Legislature enacted an historic law barring race discrimination in death penalty cases, Marcus Robinson and his lawyers were in Cumberland County Superior Court earlier this week to argue his claim under…

Victim Forgives, Texas Executes

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:45pm

Last night, Texas executed Mark Stroman for a string of hate crimes against men he thought were Arab-Americans, including two murders, in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Texas went through with the execution despite a powerful plea for clemency…

Why Have a Jury?

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:52pm

In Alabama, as we’ve discussed here before, elected judges have the authority to override the jury’s sentencing decision in death penalty cases – in other words, a judge can sentence a person to die even if a jury of his or her…

Supreme Court Grants Cleve Foster Stay of Execution

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:18pm

Last night, we blogged about Texas's plan to execute Cleve Foster today. This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Foster a last-minute stay of execution. Foster would have been the first person in the state to be executed using a recently announced…

Texas Execution Tomorrow Risks Needless Pain and Suffering

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:57pm

Tomorrow, Texas plans to execute Cleve Foster using a brand new, untested lethal injection protocol. If this protocol doesn’t work properly, Foster could suffer excruciating pain during the execution.

Most death penalty states across…

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