Blog of Rights

North Carolina's Historic Racial Justice Act Gutted

North Carolina's Historic Racial Justice Act Gutted

By Sarah Preston, ACLU of North Carolina at 2:42pm
The North Carolina General Assembly voted yesterday to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of SB 416, a bill that essentially guts the Racial Justice Act (RJA), meaning the destructive bill will become law. The RJA was an historic piece of legislation designed to address the disturbing role that race plays in the death penalty by allowing defendants in capital cases to use statistical evidence to show racial bias in the system. SB 416 cripples the ability of the RJA to address systemic racial discrimination by repealing the provision that allowed defendants to file claims showing statewide discrimination in sentencing and jury selection.  
Spared From a Death Sentence Based On Falsehoods

Spared From a Death Sentence Based On Falsehoods

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 5:52pm

An almost-certainly innocent man was spared from death at the hands of the state of Texas yesterday when the highest criminal court in Texas threw out the death sentence of ACLU client Manuel Velez, ruling it was based on the false testimony of a state…

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…

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…

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…

I AM TROY DAVIS

I AM TROY DAVIS

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 10:58am

The state of Georgia has blood on its hands.

Last night, Georgia strapped down an innocent human being and forced lethal poison into his veins until he died. In your name; in my name, unashamed and unhesitating.

This case had most…

Standing in Solidarity with Troy Davis

Standing in Solidarity with Troy Davis

By James Clark, ACLU of Southern California at 7:00pm

Next week, the state of Georgia plans to execute Troy Davis despite lingering doubts about his guilt. Today is a Global Day of Solidarity when people all over the world stand together to proclaim that there is too much doubt to execute Troy Davis.…

New "Fast Track" Death Appeal Rules Still Fall Far Short of Goal of Providing Quality Counsel

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:04pm

One familiar argument in the debate about the death penalty goes something like this: supporters of capital punishment say "defense attorneys just try to delay executions with endless appeals."

Opponents of the death penalty reply:…

Illinois Proves (Again) That Ending the Death Penalty Saves Money

By James Clark, ACLU of Southern California at 11:45am

(Originally posted on Change.org)

Thanks to Illinois, we now have more proof: ending the death penalty saves money — a lot of money — and quickly.

So what is California waiting for?

It’s less than a month…

New Study Shows Death Penalty in Decline Nationwide

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 4:32pm

Earlier this week, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) released its annual year-end report finding a 12 percent decrease in executions in 2010 compared to last year: 46 people were executed this year, compared to 52 in 2009. Most of the…