Blog of Rights

Europe Won't Supply Execution Cocktail to U.S.

By Avinash Samarth, ACLU National Security Project at 4:58pm
The political gulf between American policy and European policy on capital punishment widened further today as the European Commission released its decision to tighten export controls for some key materials used in the execution or cruel treatment of prisoners. The new policy applies expressly to the exportation of such goods by European countries to nations that still engage in capital punishment or torture.

North Carolina Governor Vetoes Repeal of Historic Racial Justice Act

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 4:38pm

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue today courageously vetoed a bill to repeal that state’s Racial Justice Act (RJA), an historic 2009 state law enacted to ensure that death sentences handed down in the state are not the result of racial bias…

The Truth About the Racial Justice Act

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:28pm

On August 10, 2009, the North Carolina Legislature passed a historic piece of civil rights legislation, the North Carolina Racial Justice Act (RJA), which was intended to reform racial discrimination in that state’s death penalty cases. …

ACLU Lens: North Carolina Repeals Historic Legislation Combating Racism in Death Penalty

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 2:45pm

The North Carolina state Senate late Monday voted to repeal an historic 2009 law that would have helped ensure that death sentences handed down in the state were not the result of racial bias.

The Racial Justice Act allows death row prisoners…

Thanksgiving on Oregon's Death Row

Thanksgiving on Oregon's Death Row

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 1:47pm

Join the ACLU in thanking Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for issuing a moratorium on all executions in the state.

Discrimination by the Numbers

Discrimination by the Numbers

By Denny LeBoeuf, Capital Punishment Project at 5:26pm

North Carolina’s district attorneys have seen the promise of that state’s Racial Justice Act (RJA) up close, and they don’t want it to get any closer. This week they sent a letter to state legislators asking them to scuttle the…

Time to Confess Error on the Death Penalty

By Denny LeBoeuf, Capital Punishment Project at 4:16pm

Yesterday at the Supreme Court, a New Orleans prosecutor defended the conviction of a man despite the admitted failure of her office to turn over evidence they were required to provide to his defense team. This fraudulently obtained conviction was…

Texas Court Puts Brakes on Execution to Consider Need for DNA Testing

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:31pm

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the plans of Texas prosecutors to execute Hank Skinner this coming Wednesday, despite that crucial DNA evidence that could exonerate him has never been tested. Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals put…

The Confederate Flag, Never Proud, No Longer Waves at Shreveport Courthouse

By Denny LeBoeuf, Capital Punishment Project at 4:43pm

The confederate flag, deliberately adopted as a symbol of white race domination and control, no longer flies on the steps of the Shreveport, Louisiana courthouse. Last week, Caddo Parish commissioners voted 11-1 to take it down, after litigation…

Junk Fire Science: Too Scary to be Believed

Junk Fire Science: Too Scary to be Believed

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 6:07pm

It's Halloween. So what could be scarier than a state throwing a person in prison for arson when the fire was accidental?

Executing him.

That's the lesson of a report released Friday by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. The…