Blog of Rights

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.

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…

When Junk Science is a Life-or-Death Matter

By Cassandra Stubbs, Director, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:52pm

Yesterday, three different groups asked the Supreme Court to step in and restore fairness and reliability to death penalty trials involving so-called "expert" testimony about future dangerousness. For Texas juries, the "future…

Jerry Guerinot: Most Dangerous Defense Attorney Ever?

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 10:32am

An article in Monday's New York Times underscores an observation we have made before: one of the biggest predictors of who gets sentenced to death has nothing to do with relevant factors such as the heinousness of the crime, the culpability of the…

Death Penalty Unconstitutional, Says Justice Stevens

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 4:21pm

On Wednesday, retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens gave an interview at the annual conference of the 5th Judicial Circuit in Chicago, and explained his changed view on the death penalty.

In 1976, Justice Stevens was among the…

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…

The Shadow Economy of Lethal Injection Drug Deals

The Shadow Economy of Lethal Injection Drug Deals

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 4:46pm

For all we know, the "pharmacy" might be a high school science class.

That's how a federal appeals court judge described Missouri's secretive death penalty system back in the spring.

Shady medical experiments masquerading as legal executions…

Former Death Row Prisoner Speaks Out Against Solitary, Capital Punishment

Former Death Row Prisoner Speaks Out Against Solitary, Capital Punishment

By Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 12:07pm

Montez Spradley spent three-and-a-half years on death row in Alabama for a murder he did not commit...

What the Prison Hunger Strikes Mean for an Architect: There Are Some Buildings that Never Should Have Been Built

What the Prison Hunger Strikes Mean for an Architect: There Are Some Buildings that Never Should Have Been Built

By Raphael Sperry, President, Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility at 2:06pm

From Guantanamo Bay to California's Pelican Bay, thousands of prisoners are on hunger strike...

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 10:43am

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…