Blog of Rights


Brian Stull is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. He has served as trial and appellate counsel in capital cases in North Carolina and Texas. Before joining the ACLU, Stull worked for five years at the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) in New York City, where he represented indigent criminal defendants convicted of serious felonies on direct appeal and in post-conviction and federal habeas corpus proceedings. Stull holds a B.A. and a M.S.W. from the University of Michigan and graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law.

Death Penalty Maintains Racial Inequality

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:10am
The inauguration of Barack Obama, one day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has prompted a healthy discussion in the nation about racial and socioeconomic inequality.

For Christmas, the Poor Get Death

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:33pm

Especially at this time of year, my mother taught me, we should not forget the poor. We should not forget those who cannot afford a place to sleep or food to eat, much less the holiday trimmings many people take for granted. There are some injustices…

The Importance of the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel in Capital Cases

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:09pm

A person does not need to go any farther than a Law & Order episode to understand the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. We hear the officers on TV tell suspects that if they cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for them. The Framers of the Constitution made the statement more artfully when they wrote that the accused in every criminal prosecution “shall enjoy the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

In Gideon v. Wainright, the Supreme Court explained the importance of this right, stating, “[I]n our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.” The right to counsel protects all of us from being subjected to criminal prosecution in an unfair trial. But nowhere is this right more important than when the accused faces the death penalty.

Death Row Inmates Must Not Be Denied Habeas Corpus

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:49pm

Originally posted on Daily Kos.

The Supreme Court’s decision last week in Boumediene v. Bush reaffirmed the crucial importance of the ancient writ of habeas corpus. Boumediene constitutes a monumental victory for the rule of law, and…

Safe and Free Without the Death Penalty: Lessons from Bo Jones and the Capital Punishment Experiment

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 6:35pm

On May 1, 2008, a man woke up in Raleigh Central Prison, then completing his 16th year in prison for a murder he did not commit, having spent nearly 14 of those years on death row. Yesterday, that same man was driving with his sister from Sanderson,…

Former Execution Volunteer Joins ACLU Lethal Injection Suit

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:13pm
On October 15, 2007, the State of Nevada was set to execute by lethal injection death-row inmate William Castillo, who had abandoned his appeals and volunteered for execution. In late September, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the case Baze v.…
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