Blog of Rights

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.
Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:58pm

Alfredo Prieto sits alone 23 hours a day in a locked, seventy-square-feet box. The lights never go out.

According to trial records, Prieto grew up in tough circumstances in war-torn El Salvador, escaped with his family to California. He became…

Justice Under Attack: The North Carolina Legislature Takes Aim at the Racial Justice Act

Justice Under Attack: The North Carolina Legislature Takes Aim at the Racial Justice Act

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 4:01pm

In 2009, North Carolina made history by becoming the first state to pass a law that addressed the systemic problems of racial discrimination in jury selection in capital cases. In the three years since the Racial Justice Act (RJA) was enacted, this…

States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration

States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:48pm

As states begin to realize that they can reduce their prison populations safely, the pace of reform has begun to pick up a bit this year. State legislative sessions are coming to a close, which makes it a good time to review the actions lawmakers…

The Right to Life Denied: Death Penalty Violates the Constitution and International Law

By Avinash Samarth, ACLU National Security Project at 3:51pm

Yesterday, in Warsaw, Poland, Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU Human Rights Program delivered a statement to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) addressing the continued use of capital punishment in the United States.

The…

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.

As part of that discussion it is important to point out that, just like the…

Italy's Complete Abolition of Death Penalty Is Evidence of Growing International Trend

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 3:53pm

Editor's Note: Jurist asked Christopher Hill, State Strategies Coordinator for the ACLU's Capital Punishment Project, to comment on Italy's recent abolition of the death penalty. The following is his response.

Italy's decision on March 3 to…

Texas Shouldn't – BUT JUST DID – Execute a Mexican National

Texas Shouldn't – BUT JUST DID – Execute a Mexican National

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 3:52pm

Yesterday, at 9:32 p.m., the state of Texas executed Edgar Arias Tamayo, a 46-year-old Mexican national. Injecting lethal drugs into Mr. Tamayo's bloodstream was a clear violation of the United States' international obligations, and yet the state of…

Celebrities, the Police, and Surreptitious DNA Collection

Celebrities, the Police, and Surreptitious DNA Collection

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:54am

Actress Mia Farrow made gossip-news headlines this week when, asked by Vanity Fair whether her former husband Frank Sinatra was the father of her son Ronan, rather than Woody Allen as broadly understood, she replied, “possibly.” She said that no…

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…