Death Penalty and Race

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, no matter how strong that evidence may be. McCleskey has been roundly condemned as a low point in the quest for equality that begs to be revisited. To mark the occasion, every day this week the ACLU Blog of Rights will feature a new post about McCleskey and its legacy. You can read all the posts here, and visit mccleskeyvkemp.com to learn more.
A Shameful Race-Based System of "Justice"

A Shameful Race-Based System of "Justice"

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:29pm

Studies consistently show that the best predictor of who the State executes is the color of the victim's skin.

On the Agenda: Week of April 16 – 20, 2012

On the Agenda: Week of April 16 – 20, 2012

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 11:29am

Congress is back in session, so we've got a busy week ahead.

Today, the ACLU, along with several other groups, is launching a weeklong campaign called "Stop Cyber Spying Week" to draw attention to the massive civil liberties problems in H.R.…

The Dred Scott of Our Time

The Dred Scott of Our Time

By Cassandra Stubbs, 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.

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…

Historic Racial Justice Act Faces Repeal

By Sarah Preston, ACLU of North Carolina at 12:02pm

This week, rather than acknowledge a growing mountain of evidence of racial bias in death penalty proceedings, especially in the selection of capital juries, the North Carolina House of Representatives chose to essentially gut the Racial Justice Act…

VICTORY! North Carolina Judge Finds Intentional Racial Discrimination in Death Penalty System

VICTORY! North Carolina Judge Finds Intentional Racial Discrimination in Death Penalty System

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:10am

Marcus Robinson will not be executed by the State of North Carolina but will instead spend the rest of his life in prison.

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…

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,…

Day 2 of Velez Hearing: State’s Witness Dismantles State’s Timeline Theory

Day 2 of Velez Hearing: State’s Witness Dismantles State’s Timeline Theory

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:22am

We’re in day 2 of the Manuel Velez innocence hearing in Brownsville, Texas.  As we’ve previously explained, this case posed a dilemma because two adults were in a Brownsville home on Halloween 2005 when 11-month- old Angel Moreno was…

Statistics image