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U.S. Human Rights Record Undergoes International Scrutiny

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:25pm
This week, the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review U.S. compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the U.S. in 1992. The review will cast light on a dark underbelly of American exceptionalism — our refusal to acknowledge that human rights treaties have effect overseas. Unlike most of the world (the only other exception being Israel), the United States continues to claim that human rights treaties don’t apply to U.S. activities overseas.
In the Battle of Racial Bias vs. Racial Justice in North Carolina, Governor Insists on Bias

In the Battle of Racial Bias vs. Racial Justice in North Carolina, Governor Insists on Bias

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:32pm

For just over three years, it looked like North Carolina was going to pull out in front of states that still have the death penalty...

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.

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…

James Watson, Discoverer of DNA:  Patenting Human Genes Is “Lunacy”

James Watson, Discoverer of DNA: Patenting Human Genes Is “Lunacy”

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 12:11pm

Recently, Dr. James Watson filed an amicus brief opposing gene patents in our lawsuit challenging the patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. Watson, along with Francis Crick, identified DNA’s ability…

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…

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 —…

New Film Highlights the Gross Injustices of the West Memphis Three Case

New Film Highlights the Gross Injustices of the West Memphis Three Case

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:44pm

In June 1993, Damien Echols, 18, Jason Baldwin, 16, and Jessie Misskelley, 17, who would come to be known as the “West Memphis Three,” were wrongfully arrested for the murders of three young boys in the small Arkansas town of West Memphis,…

A Personal Reflection on McCleskey v. Kemp

A Personal Reflection on McCleskey v. Kemp

By Diann Rust-Tierney

April 22 marked the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp, in which the Court ruled that a defendant cannot rely upon statistical evidence of systemic racial bias to prove his death sentence…

Brady Reform: New Legislation Is a Win for Justice

Brady Reform: New Legislation Is a Win for Justice

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:47pm

In the 1963 Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a defendant’s fundamental right to any and all favorable information that might prove he or she was innocent of a crime. From that case came the “Brady…