Blog of Rights


Questions of Politics Persist as Work of the Texas Forensic Science Commission is Delayed

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 3:27pm
Last month, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee of the Texas Legislature held a hearing reviewing the newly reconstituted Texas Forensic Science Commission (FSC), a government agency that gathers information and reports on the use of science in criminal investigations. At the end of September, Gov. Rick Perry dismissed three members of the FSC days before they were scheduled to hear testimony by fire expert Dr. Craig Beyler on the accuracy of evidence presented in the Cameron Todd Willingham arson-murder case. Willingham was executed under Gov. Perry's watch in 2004, and reports indicate information calling into question the arson evidence was given to the governor before the execution. Gov. Perry's dismissal of the FSC members has delayed review of this and two other cases, quite possibly until well after the March primary.

ACLU Highlights Flaws in American Capital Punishment

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 4:39pm

In his continuing effort to bring to light human rights issues in the United States before an international stage, Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program, made a statement about the capital punishment system at the Human Dimension…

No Suitable Vein

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 2:56pm

On Monday, Ohio's execution team was unable to find a suitable vein in Romell Broom's arm so it could not inject poison into his body and put an end to his life. The failed attempts took so long that Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland finally gave Broom…

Supreme Court Orders Federal Court to Look at Evidence in Davis Case

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 2:43pm

The Supreme Court of the United States has ordered a federal district court judge (PDF) to "receive testimony and make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could not have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes [Davis's] innocence."…

New Report Examines the Effect of Severe Mental Illness and Capital Punishment on Families

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 11:58am

Double Tragedies: Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty for People with Severe Mental Illness is a report written by a collaboration of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights (MVFHR) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).…

Troy Davis Day of Action Next Tuesday

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 5:55pm

On May 19, 2009, there will be a Global Day of Action for Troy Davis sponsored by Amnesty International.

As you may recall, Davis awaits execution in Georgia for a crime of which he is almost certainly innocent. Davis was convicted and sentenced…

Troy Davis Suffers Another Blow

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 1:18pm

Late last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Troy Davis’s petition for a hearing to prove his innocence. Although seven of the nine non-police witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their trial testimony, that evidence…

The World is Getting Closer to Killing the Death Penalty

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 3:18pm

Amnesty International recently released its annual report about capital punishment in the world, entitled Death Sentences and Executions in 2008 (PDF). While the report contains some reasons for concern, it shows that the world is continuing to…

The Perils of Junk Science

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 11:08am

(Originally posted on

If a scientist were to testify that he saw a person commit a crime because he went to the scene in the Way Back Machine with Peabody and his pet boy Sherman, everyone would know it was untrue. Unfortunately,…

Life After Death Row

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 10:49am

Execution's Doorstep: True Stories of the Innocent and Near Damned is a new book by Leslie Lytle about five men who were released from death row. One of the stories told is that of Michael Graham. Mr. Graham was unlawfully convicted for the 1986…

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