Blog of Rights


Cassy Stubbs is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. Cassy joined the project in 2006 and since then has served as lead and associate counsel on behalf of death row inmates and defendants in trials and appeals throughout the South, including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Her clients have included Levon "Bo" Jones, a North Carolina death row inmate who was exonerated in 2008 when the state dismissed all charges against him, and Richard C. Taylor, a severely mentally ill man who was sentenced to death after a sham trial in Tennessee, but who won a new trial on appeal and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.

Cassy has also worked with numerous organizations and ACLU affiliates to file amicus briefs in capital cases in state and federal courts around the country. She has written policy papers, editorials and blog posts on a wide range of capital issues, such as the persistence of racial disparities in capital punishment and the fundamental flaws of purported claims that the death penalty deters future murders.

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New "Fast Track" Death Appeal Rules Still Fall Far Short of Goal of Providing Quality Counsel

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:04pm
One familiar argument in the debate about the death penalty goes something like this: supporters of capital punishment say "defense attorneys just try to delay executions with endless appeals."

When Junk Science is a Life-or-Death Matter

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:52pm

Yesterday, three different groups asked the Supreme Court to step in and restore fairness and reliability to death penalty trials involving so-called "expert" testimony about future dangerousness. For Texas juries, the "future…

North Carolina's Path to Repeal

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project & Jennifer Rudinger, ACLU of North Carolina at 10:40am

North Carolina's death penalty system has finally been exposed as just another failed government program. In light of two recent shocking revelations, the time has come to shut the system down.

First, an independent audit of one unit of the…

Race Contributes to Wrongful Convictions

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:28am

An unusual collection of advocates, exonerated men and a crime victim gathered this week in Raleigh, North Carolina, to highlight the role that race plays in wrongful convictions. The group filed an amicus brief in the case of Melvin White, an…

Can the Racial Justice Act Change the Practice of Picking All-White Juries in North Carolina?

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:03am

Last week, five North Carolina death row inmates filed motions seeking to have their death sentences vacated under North Carolina's new Racial Justice Act (RJA), a law that allows death row inmates to use statistics to show that race played a role…

A Matter of Dollars and Common Sense

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 6:09pm

Late Friday evening, December 12, 2008, twelve jurors in Atlanta announced their decisions in the Brian Nichols case, ensuring a life verdict and ending a case with an estimated $6 million price tag. Make no mistake: had the verdict been death, Mr.…

Richard Taylor's Extraordinary Life Sentence

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:17pm

From the beginning, everything about representing Richard Taylor has been extraordinary. I went to meet Richard for the first time in the spring of 2006 with my supervisor, John Holdridge, the director of the newly launched Capital Punishment Project…

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