Blog of Rights

How Racial Bias Corrupts Juries

How Racial Bias Corrupts Juries

By Barry Scheck, Co-Director, The Innocence Project at 8:56am
This piece originally appeared on Salon.

The Importance of the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel in Capital Cases

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 5:09pm

A person does not need to go any farther than a Law & Order episode to understand the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. We hear the officers on TV tell suspects that if they cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for them. The Framers of the Constitution made the statement more artfully when they wrote that the accused in every criminal prosecution “shall enjoy the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

In Gideon v. Wainright, the Supreme Court explained the importance of this right, stating, “[I]n our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.” The right to counsel protects all of us from being subjected to criminal prosecution in an unfair trial. But nowhere is this right more important than when the accused faces the death penalty.

U.N. Flag

U.S. Human Rights Record Undergoes International Scrutiny

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:25pm

This week, the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review U.S. compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the U.S. in 1992. The review will cast light on a dark underbelly of American…

Florida Prosecutor Goes on Killing Spree

Florida Prosecutor Goes on Killing Spree

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 3:55pm

Angela Corey is certainly making a name for herself. Not only has she worked to send more people to death row than any other state’s attorney in the Sunshine State, but she leads the pack nationally as well.

We’re all used to hearing stories…

The Red River Bridge

30 Years a Prisoner

By Angel Harris, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:08pm

12 Years a Slave was painful to watch, perhaps the only comfort being that you could walk out of the movie theater into 2014, where such cruelty is ostensibly a thing of the past.

Or is it? Along the Red River in Louisiana – where Solomon…

New Execution Methods Can’t Disguise Same Old Death Penalty Problems

New Execution Methods Can’t Disguise Same Old Death Penalty Problems

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 12:26pm

Ohio made history today by becoming the first state to use the two-drug combination of midazolam and hydromorphone in the execution of Dennis McGuire.

An Innocent Man’s Tortured Days on Texas’s Death Row

An Innocent Man’s Tortured Days on Texas’s Death Row

By Anthony Graves, who spent years in solitary confinement on Texas’ death row before being proven innocent in 2010. Yesterday he testified about the experience at a Senate subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement. His website is www.anthonybelieves.com.

On…

In the Battle of Racial Bias vs. Racial Justice in North Carolina, Governor Insists on Bias

In the Battle of Racial Bias vs. Racial Justice in North Carolina, Governor Insists on Bias

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:32pm

For just over three years, it looked like North Carolina was going to pull out in front of states that still have the death penalty...

Wrongful Convictions, Wrongful Bias

Wrongful Convictions, Wrongful Bias

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 9:55am

The most important payment we can make on the debt we owe to wrongfully convicted defendants is to break the link between race and the death penalty.