Blog of Rights

Anna
Arceneaux
Counting Down to the End of the Death Penalty

Counting Down to the End of the Death Penalty

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:28am
The start of a new year always presents an opportunity to think back on the successes and failures of the past year and to look forward to the future with a sense of hope and optimism. Before the countdown begins to 2014, let’s take a moment to reflect on the progress we’ve made towards abolition of the death penalty in 2013.  We’ve got a lot to celebrate.
Victory! An Innocent Man's Journey from Death Row to Freedom

Victory! An Innocent Man's Journey from Death Row to Freedom

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:19am

For the last five years, I have been representing an innocent man.

I first met Montez Spradley on Alabama's death row in 2008. From that very first day, he vigorously maintained his innocence of the crime that landed him there: the 2004 murder…

VICTORY! One Less Person Faces Execution in Alabama

VICTORY! One Less Person Faces Execution in Alabama

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:13pm

One less person faces possible death at the hands of Alabama’s arbitrary capital punishment system, after the State agreed to stop seeking the death penalty for ACLU client LaSamuel Gamble late last week. Gamble, who has been on death row for…

Judges Still Free to Ignore Juries in Alabama

Judges Still Free to Ignore Juries in Alabama

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:46am

Picture a death row trial in Alabama. The twelve jury members have spent days, maybe even weeks, listening to testimony and evidence about the crime, the defendant, and his life. They are sent back to a room to make the difficult decision whether the…

What Does $10,000 Buy in Alabama? Less-than-Truthful Testimony Used to Sentence Someone to Death

What Does $10,000 Buy in Alabama? Less-than-Truthful Testimony Used to Sentence Someone to Death

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 11:22am

A trial is supposed to be a search for the truth. That can never be more important than in a death...

New Film Highlights the Gross Injustices of the West Memphis Three Case

New Film Highlights the Gross Injustices of the West Memphis Three Case

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:44pm

In June 1993, Damien Echols, 18, Jason Baldwin, 16, and Jessie Misskelley, 17, who would come to be known as the “West Memphis Three,” were wrongfully arrested for the murders of three young boys in the small Arkansas town of West Memphis,…

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,…

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…

Ignoring the Voice of the Jury

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:33am

Last week, Alabama executed John Forrest Parker. Ten of the 12 members of Parker's jury thought he should live, but the trial judge disagreed and overrode the jury's life verdict. Parker's execution was Alabama's second in as many years in which…

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