Blog of Rights

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 — the role of attorney competence in deciding who gets executed in the United States.
VICTORY! One Less Person Faces Execution in Alabama

VICTORY! One Less Person Faces Execution in Alabama

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:13pm

One less person faces possible death at the hands of Alabama’s arbitrary capital punishment system, after the State agreed to stop seeking the death penalty for ACLU client LaSamuel Gamble late last week. Gamble, who has been on death row for…

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…

Sweeping Ruling about Racial Bias in Capital Jury Selection Shows the Need for Sweeping Reforms

Sweeping Ruling about Racial Bias in Capital Jury Selection Shows the Need for Sweeping Reforms

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:47pm

Last week, North Carolina state Judge Gregory Weeks issued a sweeping ruling setting aside the death sentences of three North Carolina prisoners...

Texas Shouldn't – BUT JUST DID – Execute a Mexican National

Texas Shouldn't – BUT JUST DID – Execute a Mexican National

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 3:52pm

Yesterday, at 9:32 p.m., the state of Texas executed Edgar Arias Tamayo, a 46-year-old Mexican national. Injecting lethal drugs into Mr. Tamayo's bloodstream was a clear violation of the United States' international obligations, and yet the state of…

Death Penalty Maintains Racial Inequality

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:10am

The inauguration of Barack Obama, one day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has prompted a healthy discussion in the nation about racial and socioeconomic inequality.

As part of that discussion it is important to point out that, just like the…

Debt Collectors Aren’t Prosecutors and Shouldn’t Pretend to Be

Debt Collectors Aren’t Prosecutors and Shouldn’t Pretend to Be

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 12:02pm

According to a recent New York Times article, prosecutors and debt collectors are working together to threaten bad check writers with jail, even when no crime has been committed.

Here’s how it works.  Someone writes a check to a…

Fighting for "Too Much Justice"

Fighting for "Too Much Justice"

By Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 4:22pm

In the last 40 years, this country's "tough on crime" policymaking has sacrificed the lives and rights of people of color at the altar of politics.

Race Contributes to Wrongful Convictions

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:28am

An unusual collection of advocates, exonerated men and a crime victim gathered this week in Raleigh, North Carolina, to highlight the role that race plays in wrongful convictions. The group filed an amicus brief in the case of Melvin White, an…

It Ain't Where You're From, It's Where You're At

By Christopher Hill, Capital Punishment Project at 12:11pm

One of the greatest rappers of all-time, Rakim said: "it ain't where you're from/it's where you're at." This statement is magnified when discussing capital punishment. Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that…