Blog of Rights

Scott Panetti

Texas Wants to Kill This Mentally Ill Man

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:47am
Wearing a cowboy costume and a purple bandana, Scott Panetti defended himself at his capital trial in Texas without counsel, where he tried to call the Pope, J.F.K, and Jesus Christ to the witness stand. In Tennessee, Richard Taylor represented himself in his capital trial wearing sunglasses to keep out the police voices and sat completely silent through his trial. Guy LeGrande served as his own lawyer at his capital trial in North Carolina, wearing a Superman shirt and telling the jury to kiss his “natural black ass” in closing argument.
An Innocent Man’s Tortured Days on Texas’s Death Row

An Innocent Man’s Tortured Days on Texas’s Death Row

By Anthony Graves, who spent years in solitary confinement on Texas’ death row before being proven innocent in 2010. Yesterday he testified about the experience at a Senate subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement. His website is www.anthonybelieves.com.

On…

Jerry Guerinot: Most Dangerous Defense Attorney Ever?

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 10:32am

An article in Monday's New York Times underscores an observation we have made before: one of the biggest predictors of who gets sentenced to death has nothing to do with relevant factors such as the heinousness of the crime, the culpability of 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…

Oklahoma's Response to Botched Execution: Hide the Next One from the Public

Oklahoma's Response to Botched Execution: Hide the Next One from the Public

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:45am

It's a dark day for Oklahoma. That metaphor is particularly apt this week, as the Sooner State just redoubled its commitment to keeping capital punishment in the shadows by hiding its lethal injection process from public view and oversight.

Five…

The Red River Bridge

30 Years a Prisoner

By Angel Harris, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:08pm

12 Years a Slave was painful to watch, perhaps the only comfort being that you could walk out of the movie theater into 2014, where such cruelty is ostensibly a thing of the past.

Or is it? Along the Red River in Louisiana – where Solomon…

New Execution Methods Can’t Disguise Same Old Death Penalty Problems

New Execution Methods Can’t Disguise Same Old Death Penalty Problems

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 12:26pm

Ohio made history today by becoming the first state to use the two-drug combination of midazolam and hydromorphone in the execution of Dennis McGuire.

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…

Failed Experiments: Stop All Lethal Injections Now

Failed Experiments: Stop All Lethal Injections Now

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:21pm

Assurances about lethal injection rest on the premise that inmates are sedated and unconscious before other excruciating drugs are administered. The horrifying experiences of recent executions make clear these assurances are false. The drugs used in…

The Dred Scott of Our Time

The Dred Scott of Our Time

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:09am

This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision that a defendant cannot rely upon statistical evidence of racial bias to prove his death sentence unconstitutional.