Blog of Rights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 12:40pm
Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system has failed on every count: public safety, fairness and cost-effectiveness. Across the country, the criminal justice reform conversation is heating up. Each week, we feature our some of the most exciting and relevant news in overincarceration discourse that we’ve spotted from the previous week. Check back weekly for our top picks.

U.S. Supreme Court Confirms Ohio Can’t Be Trusted to Carry Out Executions

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 3:41pm

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state of Ohio’s appeal to continue with the execution of Charles Lorraine. The execution was put on indefinite hold by Federal District Court Judge Gregory L. Frost in July. In his ruling, Judge Frost…

If a Lawyer Stole $5 From a Client...

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 5:25pm

"If a lawyer stole $5 from a client, he would probably be prosecuted and might even go to jail — but that prosecutor stole 18 years of my life and what happened to him? Nothing."

This from John Thompson last night in New…

The Face of Exclusion and the Racial Justice Act

By Denny LeBoeuf, Capital Punishment Project at 6:18pm

There’s a simple assumption at the heart of North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act (RJA), which allows death row inmates to present statistical evidence to support the contention that race discrimination played a part in their case and…

VIDEO: African-Americans Excluded From Capital Case Juries

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 1:54pm

Laverne Keys, a longtime North Carolinian who wished to do her civic duty by serving on a jury, believes she was excluded from service because she is black. “It made me feel like I was back in 1960, that racism is still very much alive. It…

Too Crazy to Kill

By Denny LeBoeuf, Capital Punishment Project at 11:58am

Unless Edwin Hart Turner gets clemency from the governor or a last-minute stay, he will be executed on February 8 by the state of Mississippi.

Turner murdered two men in botched hold-ups. His attorneys do not claim that he is innocent of…

Delaware Gov. Commutes Deeply Contested Death Sentence

By Kathleen MacRae, ACLU of Delaware at 1:00pm

Delaware Governor Jack Markell made history today when he announced that he would commute the death sentence of Robert Gattis to life in prison. Two days ago, the Delaware Board of Pardons for the first time in its history recommended that the…

Lady Justice Rolls the Dice: the Death Penalty is "Random Horror"

By Denny LeBoeuf, Capital Punishment Project at 5:19pm

The death penalty is supposed to be for the worst of the worst. The system of capital punishment in the United States has always assumed it was so, from its beginnings. Not all crimes may be punished with death, and not all trials for death-eligible…

Death Penalty Decline Continues

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:02pm

As 2011 comes to end, we’re taking a look back at the year in criminal justice. Over the next few days, we’ll run a series of blog posts on the developments, good and bad, that have shaped our justice system – from overincarceration…

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…