Blog of Rights

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.
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…

Wrongful Convictions, Wrongful Bias

Wrongful Convictions, Wrongful Bias

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 9:55am

The most important payment we can make on the debt we owe to wrongfully convicted defendants is to break the link between race and the death penalty.

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…

DNA Privacy Goes to the Supreme Court

DNA Privacy Goes to the Supreme Court

By Michael Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 5:23pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in Maryland v. King, a case that raises the question of whether the police can take DNA...

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! An Innocent Man's Journey from Death Row to Freedom

Victory! An Innocent Man's Journey from Death Row to Freedom

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:19am

For the last five years, I have been representing an innocent man.

I first met Montez Spradley on Alabama's death row in 2008. From that very first day, he vigorously maintained his innocence of the crime that landed him there: the 2004 murder…

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

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

This week, Northwestern and the University of Michigan law schools released a National Registry of Exonerations, a new database chronicling the ever-growing number of exonerees from our nation’s criminal justice system.   The database…

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…

Good and Bad Lawyers Determine Who Lives and Who Dies

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:46pm

In a separate post yesterday, I addressed how a person on death row's life can be decided on a technicality, an issue to be decided by the Supreme Court in Holland v. Florida. Today's post addresses another issue the Holland case raises —…