Blog of Rights

After 9 Years, Manuel Velez, an Innocent Man, is Free at Last

After 9 Years, Manuel Velez, an Innocent Man, is Free at Last

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 10:36am
At 12:32 p.m. ET, Manuel Velez, my client and an innocent man, stepped out of prison and into the Huntsville, Texas air a free man.
Missouri Lies About Lethal Injection, Still Puts a Man to Death

Missouri Lies About Lethal Injection, Still Puts a Man to Death

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:14pm

We know almost nothing about how Earl Ringo Jr. was executed in the early hours of the morning by the State of Missouri. Missouri deliberately hid crucial facts about its lethal injection drugs and their administration, blocking the public from understanding…

An Innocent Man Is Dying of Cancer on Texas's Death Row

An Innocent Man Is Dying of Cancer on Texas's Death Row

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 2:53pm

Max Soffar has a long history of self-medicating. When he was four, his parents found him passed out next to their car, gas cap in hand. Since birth, Max's brain has been damaged. That damage has been made worse by years of physical and mental abuse…

Replacing the Noose With a Needle: The Legacy of Lynching in the United States

Replacing the Noose With a Needle: The Legacy of Lynching in the United States

By Angel Harris, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:28pm

Ida B. Wells said it best, "Our country's national crime is lynching."

Last week, we were reminded of this when the Equal Justice Initiative released its report, "Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror." A gruesome history…

The Shadow Economy of Lethal Injection Drug Deals

The Shadow Economy of Lethal Injection Drug Deals

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 4:46pm

For all we know, the "pharmacy" might be a high school science class.

That's how a federal appeals court judge described Missouri's secretive death penalty system back in the spring.

Shady medical experiments masquerading as legal executions…

Supreme Court: An IQ Point or Two Shouldn’t Determine Who Lives and Who Dies

Supreme Court: An IQ Point or Two Shouldn’t Determine Who Lives and Who Dies

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:25pm

IQ tests are intrinsically imprecise. On one, Freddie Lee Hall scored 71. On other tests, he's gotten various scores between 60 and 75.

The problem for Mr. Hall is that until today, scoring over 70 on even one IQ test gave Florida the green…

Oklahoma Plays Torture Roulette With Lethal Injection

Oklahoma Plays Torture Roulette With Lethal Injection

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project & Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:32pm

The logical response to Clayton Lockett's bloody, pain-filled, unconstitutional execution in Oklahoma eight months ago would be to prevent such torture from happening again. But Oklahoma has another idea for its first execution since Lockett's. Instead…

Serial and What It Says About America's Criminal Justice System

Serial and What It Says About America's Criminal Justice System

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:57pm

Serial, the pop culture podcast phenomenon, isn't just a well-produced and addictive listening experience (though it is both of those things). By questioning the validity of some criminal justice procedures and educating its listeners to ask questions,…

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…

Let an Innocent Man Spend His Last Days at Home

Let an Innocent Man Spend His Last Days at Home

By Barry Scheck, Co-Director, The Innocence Project at 11:39am

This piece originally appeared at the Texas Tribune.

Max Soffar, an innocent man on death row in Texas, has just a few months to live.

He's dying of liver cancer, and his last wish is to hold his wife, Anita, in his arms.

His…