Blog of Rights

$4 Billion Since 1978 — Time to Cut California's Death Penalty

By James Clark, ACLU of Southern California at 5:39pm
The Los Angeles Times reports new data in a study to be released next week on California’s death penalty has revealed that the price tag for death is even higher than we thought: $4 billion since 1978. Put another way, we spend $184 million more per year for death penalty inmates than we do on those sentenced to life without the chance of parole. All told, California is on track to spend $1 billion on the death penalty over the next five years.

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…

What Does $10,000 Buy in Alabama? Less-than-Truthful Testimony Used to Sentence Someone to Death

What Does $10,000 Buy in Alabama? Less-than-Truthful Testimony Used to Sentence Someone to Death

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project & Sarah Solon, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 11:22am

A trial is supposed to be a search for the truth. That can never be more important than in a death...

Could Manuel Velez be the 13th Prisoner Exonerated from Texas’s Death Row?

Could Manuel Velez be the 13th Prisoner Exonerated from Texas’s Death Row?

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:31pm

Imagine you are caring for a toddler and suddenly he stops breathing.  You quickly get him medical aid, but it’s too late: the child dies at the hospital where medical personnel were unable to revive him.  That would be a horrific nightmare…

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,…

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…

New Proof of an Old Fear: Execution of the Innocent

New Proof of an Old Fear: Execution of the Innocent

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 4:58pm

The State of Texas, long the nation's leader in executions, has now earned the dubious title of the state most likely to execute the innocent. In 2004, Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham, despite compelling evidence that he was actually innocent…

25 Years After McCleskey, Looking Forward to Legislative Fixes of Supreme Court Error

25 Years After McCleskey, Looking Forward to Legislative Fixes of Supreme Court Error

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 9:54am

April 22 marks 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 unconstitutional,…