Blog of Rights

International Human Rights Body Seeking Answers on U.S. Civil and Political Rights Record

International Human Rights Body Seeking Answers on U.S. Civil and Political Rights Record

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 4:16pm
An international human rights body is set to question the United States on its obligations under a key human rights treaty. The U.N. Human Rights Committee, an independent body of experts tasked with monitoring compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), this week released its list of issues, which will serve as the basis for its upcoming review of U.S. compliance with the treaty. The U.S. ratified the ICCPR in 1992 and is obligated to submit to periodic reviews of its treaty implementation efforts.
Justice Under Attack: The North Carolina Legislature Takes Aim at the Racial Justice Act

Justice Under Attack: The North Carolina Legislature Takes Aim at the Racial Justice Act

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 4:01pm

In 2009, North Carolina made history by becoming the first state to pass a law that addressed the systemic problems of racial discrimination in jury selection in capital cases. In the three years since the Racial Justice Act (RJA) was enacted, this…

Court Rejects Attempts to Devalue Life of the Accused in South Texas Capital Case

Court Rejects Attempts to Devalue Life of the Accused in South Texas Capital Case

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:58am

"A life in Cameron County [Texas] is worth just the same as a life in other parts of the United States."

This pointed sentence came in Judge Elia Corenjo Lopez's 63-page order this week, in which she recommended that former death-row prisoner…

March Madness Takes on New Meaning When a Person's Skin Color is Cause For His Execution

March Madness Takes on New Meaning When a Person's Skin Color is Cause For His Execution

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 10:44am

Welcome to March Madness at the ACLU! We know you usually turn to other sources for this kind of coverage, but we've got something important to add. As you're filling out winning brackets, imagine this scenario: the tournament selection committee decides…

ACLU, in Geneva, Advocates Against Death Penalty, Solitary Confinement

ACLU, in Geneva, Advocates Against Death Penalty, Solitary Confinement

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 10:32am

One year ago, the ACLU's Amy Fettig stood before the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the use of solitary confinement in the United States. In a written statement also submitted to the Council last year, the ACLU expressed serious concern…

DNA Privacy Goes to the Supreme Court

DNA Privacy Goes to the Supreme Court

By Michael Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 5:23pm

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in Maryland v. King, a case that raises the question of whether the police can take DNA...

How Do I Explain to my Six Year-Old Son What Kind of a Society Plans to Execute an Intellectually Disabled Man? [UPDATED]

How Do I Explain to my Six Year-Old Son What Kind of a Society Plans to Execute an Intellectually Disabled Man? [UPDATED]

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:09pm

Breaking Update, 2:30pm, February 14th: State doctors reversed an earlier finding and officially declared today that Warren Hill has mild mental retardation, placing Mr. Hill in the category of citizens protected from capital punishment by the 2002…

Lives Lost in 2012: Who Did We Kill?

Lives Lost in 2012: Who Did We Kill?

By Denny LeBoeuf, Capital Punishment Project at 2:14pm

At the end of the year many news sources review a year’s worth of obituaries, usually the passing of the famous. Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride. Whitney Houston, Dave Brubeck. Joe Paterno, a reminder that people’s lives are complicated,…

Executing Human Dignity: US Death Penalty System to Undergo International Scrutiny

Executing Human Dignity: US Death Penalty System to Undergo International Scrutiny

By Katie Haas, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:16am

The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) recently released its 2012 Year End Report, which contained some important news: the number of death sentences in the U.S. remained very close to its 2011 historic low. The 78 death sentences handed down…

Velez Hearing Wraps Up With Summations, Offers Lessons on Role of Counsel

Velez Hearing Wraps Up With Summations, Offers Lessons on Role of Counsel

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:02pm

Yesterday was the final day of the hearing in Brownsville, Texas, for ACLU client and former death-row prisoner Manuel Velez.  Judge Elia Cornejo Lopez heard summations, requested the parties to prepare proposed findings for her consideration,…